What Can You Do for Your Customers?

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So you want something from your customers? You want them to advocate for your company, to refer their friends to your products, to share your content online, and review your business on Yelp.

“Why should I?” is the question you should imagine them asking you.

If you want them to do something for you, you need to do something for them.

“But I already gave them my amazing product,” you say.

They paid you for that. They did what you asked. Transaction complete. If you want them to do something to help you, you need to do more than simply deliver what they expected. You need to go beyond their expectations.

Here’s how…

1) Proactively reach out to assist

Most companies work so hard to sell their products and then completely forget about the purchaser immediately after. We think that if they need our help, they’ll ask. But the truth is that most people won’t. They will suffer in silence because they don’t have the time, don’t know who to contact, or they will decide it’s easier just to switch to your competitor than deal with it.

You can exceed their expectations by reaching out to ask about their experience. Ask if they need help with anything. Ask how they have enjoyed your product or service. Did it solve their problems? Address their needs? If not, what can you do to make things better?

2) Give them a free upgrade

Let’s say you have just come out with a new model or have improved the service that you offer. Do you reward your customers by automatically giving them the latest and greatest version?

Perhaps this runs against your business model. Perhaps you rely on customer upgrades as a revenue source.

But offering a free upgrade is a surefire way to exceed their expectations and turn customers into advocates for your business. That might be even more valuable than them purchasing the upgrade.

3) Enroll them into a loyalty program

If you don’t already have a customer loyalty program, consider the opportunity to deliver added value to your customers. You might offer discounts on other products, exclusive offerings, news and information related to their interests, and more.

Getting invited to join a loyalty program provides incentive to continue to engage with your brand in a positive way.

4) Connect them with likeminded people

Many successful brands have built a community aspect into their customer experience. Think Apple, Harley Davidson, and Canon. These companies offer experiences that bring their fans together in the real world.

Customer communities become natural places for new ideas and innovation. By giving your customers access to one another, you help them solve their problems and generate critical feedback for the business.

5) Say thank you

It may sound corny to business-minded folks, but simple acts of gratitude will go a long way with your customers. Think about the brands that you interact with. How many take the time to thank you for your business, really thank you?

Saying thank you is a way to deliver a human touch to a monetary transaction, laying the groundwork to a relationship beyond that one purchase.

Market To Mondays – Part 9

Welcome to the latest edition of our new weekly blog series, Market To Mondays. Each week, we will introduce you to a new group of people you should market to. We’ll tell you who they are, why you should market to them, and how you might get started.

Last week’s group was Unconverted Leads.

Today’s Group = Loyal Customers

Loyal customers, by definition, are those customers that will only buy from you. By all accounts they are happy with the products or services you provide, your price and customer service. And they feel that they don’t need to try your competitors or shop around. They know if they need what you offer, they will come to you.

And for most marketers, it stops there. They are loyal customers. Check them off the list. No need to market to them any further.

Well I’m here to tell you that most marketers are dead wrong! This audience is a perfect one for more marketing. It just takes a little vision and planning to turn your loyal customers into brand advocates.

A loyal customer is great. But a customer that speaks out about how great your company is can lead to even more loyal customers. They can, in a sense, become a free marketing channel for you, by sharing your company’s story via word of mouth.

But how?

Customer loyalty is a challenge, and has become more rare over the last decade or so. With increased competition in most industries, new ways for customers to research and learn about products and companies in the marketplace, and new technologies that lower prices and increase access, customers are more likely to shop around for the best value.

So if you’ve got loyal customers, that’s great. But they may not be loyal very long. So developing a marketing plan for your existing customers is important.

It starts with a loyalty program. Get your customers to become members. Membership in your loyalty program might include exclusive offers and discounts, access to products or services others don’t get, points toward future purchases, an online community, etc.

When it pays to be loyal, more people will be loyal.

An online community, social network, or even a simple email list can all help you stay present in your customers’ lives. The more they interact with your brand, the better chance you have of turning them into advocates. Give them a reason to talk about you, and then give them a simple way to talk about you.

Developing a referral program encourages and incentivizes them to spread your message through word of mouth. Some of the fastest growing companies in the world get most of their growth by simple word of mouth and referral marketing.

Encourage positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Facebook. Capitalize on people’s desire to save money, and give them a sense of belonging to something.

When your brand is more than just a company they buy from, when it takes on added importance in their daily habits, you will have a lifetime customer who helps market your products and services.

What group should we cover next? Now accepting submissions for audiences that we will cover in an upcoming “Market To Mondays” post. Submit your ideas via our contact page or in the comments section below.

Free Marketing Ideas Part 15 – Create a Loyalty Plan

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Welcome to the latest edition of my new weekly blog series, “Free Marketing Ideas”. Each week I will identify and explain a simple marketing idea that you can employ at low or no cost. Last week’s topic was Blogger Outreach.

This Week’s Topic = Create a Loyalty Plan

Is it more cost effective to sell to a new customer or an existing one? The answer is always sell to an existing one.

Why? Because they already know who you are, and are hopefully satisfied with their experience.

So one of the most effective free marketing ideas that you can institute is a loyalty plan designed to get your customers to come back and purchase from you time and time again.

How does it work? That’s up to you. The goal should be incentivizing customer loyalty. So, in the future, when a customer has a need that you can meet, they come to you instead of the competition.

There are a number of different ways to accomplish that goal. You can offer discounts to your customer base that you don’t offer to the general public. You can create a membership program that rewards people based on how much they spend with you, such as points redeemable as cash back or that they can put towards other experiences. You can create a customer newsletter that lets your most loyal customers get more insight into new products and plans for your company. You can create a VIP service center only available for “preferred members”.

Anything you can do that makes it easy for people to purchase from you, including upping the ante on product quality and customer service, puts you at an advantage. Because the hard part is already done, they are your customers. Your job is simply to keep them as customers. And it’s easier to do that then replace them with new customers.

Share your thoughts on this idea, and other free marketing ideas in the comments section below and keep the conversation going!