Building relationships takes time but growing and maintaining them long term takes perseverance, energy and purpose.
Jack Trout, Ad Exec and Author of Big Brands, Big Trouble says, “Marketing battles take place in the mind of a consumer or prospect. That’s where you win or lose.”
We live in seriously disposable times. People outgrow their use for things and each other, so quickly. I always pay close attention when people talk about following certain people and companies for a long time. That’s really hard to do today.
How can we build long term loyalty and win favor in the minds of the consumer?
7 Ways to Build Long Term Customer Loyalty
Be Authentic and Real
Be who you are, walk your walk and do what you tell others to do. People are way more savvy today and pick up on wrong or suspect intentions and motives quickly. Sure we all have something to sell, but let people know you have their back and “get” their pain. Can people relate to you? Are you being consistent and authentic?
Deliver Fresh, Fab and Fun
It’s all about the experience we create and have with people and companies we interact with. Make sure you are refreshing your sites, visuals, marketing materials and presentation. We all love things that are new, but putting a different spin on something we already do can stimulate people too. Make things easy to follow, entertaining and culturally relevant.
Directly Acknowledge Others
Nobody achieves success without the support of others. Be vocal, step up and directly acknowledge people who step up and support you. Use your social influence and media streams to shout out, re-post and let others know that you appreciate them. A simple “thank you” that is not automated can go a long way. All of the main social media’s now offer posting enhancements to add personalizing emotions.
Rewards, Incentives and Exclusivity
Develop ways to give extra value to people who show you loyalty. Make them feel exclusive and special by creating a separate database for them. Use it to extend exclusive offers, content or incentives. Show them an “inner circle” status. Look at all the premium loyalty programs that exist today and follow a model that’s best for you.
Connect and Introduce People
Always be finding reasons to connect people for the right reasons and most apparent synergy, when you meet people at conferences, events and online. I know when I meet people, who in my sphere I should be introducing them to and I try to act on it quickly, while the interaction is fresh.
Feature, Reference and Mention
Know your colleagues, audience, customers and followers. Use them as examples in the things you write about, present on, post about and things you value. Blogging and social media are great ways to do this. Use your comment section to discover and choose some great follower feedback. Be selective, qualify and check people’s body of work out before featuring them.
Collaborate and Partner
In today’s business landscape, adding value to what you offer or deliver can be easily accomplished by partnering with other companies, products and services that are complementary to yours. Look at all the multi-branding and cross-branding that you see in travel, consumer products, education, sports and entertainment. We can now go to one store or shopping area and get groceries, eyeglasses, flowers, auto supplies, yogurt and stamps. Find ways to collaborate and partner but be very careful to “vet” people and know who you are entering into partnerships with.
Loyalty and longevity are the highest compliments a business can be given by their public. They are earned by valuing a deep appreciation for others and maintained by showing that appreciation consistently.
What are some of the ways you are fostering loyalty?
Loyalty Photo via Shutterstock
Deborah Shane is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, Top Small Business Podcast, Top 50 SMB Influencers on Twitter 2015 (Dunn and Bradstreet), career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly and her book, “Career Transition: Make the Shift” is available through all major book sellers.