A timely comparison, the March Hare of Alice in Wonderland fame is described as “silly, ill-mannered, and loud;” all of the characteristics you want to avoid in your marketing. While the March Hare demands attention, gimmicks don’t give you the return on investment you can get with a less obtrusive, more logical approach. Here are the three basic steps that will earn the loyalty of your existing customers, and turn them into advocates for your products and services.
Know your customers
Big brand businesses spent a lot of money building detailed profiles of their existing and ideal customers. For the rest of us though, investing a bit of time is really all that’s needed. Think of every customer as a new friend. If you were just introduced to them at a social event, what would you ask them? Take every in-person encounter with your customers to find out something more about them, as well as why they like your products or services. Social media platforms like Facebook give you an opportunity to ask more people more questions, take polls, or show photos of products you’re thinking about carrying to get feedback.
Focus on Content
Content Marketing” remains the #1 best strategy for retaining customers and attracting new ones; and it’s the main reason you need that customer insight. Content marketing is about relationships; it’s about aligning your brand with the values and interests of your customers rather than relying on a traditional sales pitch. Again, think of your customers as a friend. What information are they interested in? Let’s say you sell pet food. One thing you know is that your customers are pet people. So the type of content that fits with the “Content Marketing” strategy are things like news items about keeping pets in condos; writing an article about new research in pet nutrition; or sharing an announcement about a new pet clinic in your market area. The basic premise is to provide information that is of interest and value to your customers. They already know that you sell pet food, but so do a lot of other companies. Now you have to show them that you care, that you and they are like-minded, that your brand is the friend that is knowledgeable, concerned, and thoughtful. That’s what builds loyalty.
Find channels to reach them
Your website is still going to be at the core of your marketing tactics, but it’s really not enough anymore to let it sit there alone in the digital world. It’s kind of like having a house party and not inviting anyone. So going back to step 1, where do your “new friends” hang out? What’s the best way to reach them? Facebook? Twitter? And don’t forget that hang outs change over time, so keeping in touch is important. One of the truly beautiful things about Internet marketing is that it’s usually pretty ease to track which tactics are working and which ones aren’t, so if you don’t know where to start, a trial and error approach can be quite efficient.
Happy Easter and Happy Hunting! (for customers as well as eggs!)