Are your clients faithful to your brand? Or are you just another option in the saturated sea of product and service providers in your industry?
One of the biggest (and arguably hardest) inbound marketing goals to achieve for your brand is the tiny area at the very bottom of your inbound marketing funnel right after conversions -- brand loyalty. Achieving brand loyalty is, one can say, the "nirvana" of inbound marketing. This is when you know your clients are not merely delighted with your products or services, but they also believe in the mission, vision, and culture of your brand. And as we all know, loyal clients are the best testament to the success of our brands.
Brand loyalty does not only herald return clients to your business, but also reinforces the most powerful form of advertising known to men -- "word of mouth". Every client who swears by your products and services will be inclined (and even eager) to share their experiences with your brand. In the digital age, one genuine testimonial can be a powerful thing.
Encouraging brand loyalty does not take overnight. You have to win your clients over and nurture the relationship to earn their trust and their loyalty. Starting with a good product or service is only half the battle. Here's how to come full circle:
1. Position Your Brand as a Thought Leader
Some companies follow, and some companies lead. You want to be in the latter category. Take the time to really focus on becoming a voice of value among the rabble. Cultivate an aura of innovation for your brand. Encourage your team to share their expertise, and position your leaders as pioneers in your industry to grow a following, while boosting morale and growth within your company.
Dig deep for solutions to the challenges of your target audience and be proactive in providing them with valuable advice through various channels by sharing your expertise. There are plenty of noise and nonsense online; offering value is the currency for standing out.
2. Let Clients Come to You
Don't turn off your clients by using aggressive old-school marketing schemes or spamming their inboxes with unwanted, unwarranted content. Pushiness will only make your prospects ignore you in the long run. Build your digital assets so that clients can find you when they need you, and nurture them down the inbound marketing funnel. Give them reasons to go back to your site and seek out your expertise.
3. Make Your Brand as Human as Possible
The desire for belonging and genuine interaction is human nature. Be proactive in engaging with your audience. There is nothing wrong with putting a face to your brand, a voice, a personality, and other qualities to make it "human" and relatable to your target audience. Tell a story and cultivate a tribe around your brand. Don't be afraid to open conversations with your clients (even the no-so-happy ones). Address their needs timely and consistently and when you make a mistake, recover by offering a sincere apology.
4. Listen To Your Clients
Monitor the buzz about your brand and what your target audience are saying or feeling about the industry. Keep yourself in the know so you can genuinely understand their needs, passions, concerns and emotions. Using platforms like HubSpot's social inbox, or Sprout Social can help you monitor conversations and trends around your social media platform and will enable you to chime in. social media to find out what they think, and perform regular web searches of your company’s name and relevant keywords. Clients will often share why they love your service, what particularly tickles them, and occasionally what they think you could do better.
You should also frequent industry-related forums and groups to be on top of news and goings-on in your industry. Monitoring your competitors can also be beneficial and will keep you on your toes. You can do this by searching relevant hashtags using real-time tracking services like Keyhole.
5. Choose Quality Over Quantity
Clients look for quality over massive output. The internet is already full of noise, so stay away from producing content just to "clutter" an already cluttered space. This goes for every aspect of your brand outreach, including
Blog content: Always keep value at the forefront of your mind, rather than blindly sticking to a schedule or publishing content simply for the sake of linking back to your products or services. If you prove helpful to your clients, they will seek you out when the need you. Consistency is great, but never sacrifice value.
Email marketing: The quality of your emails weighs directly on your open rates, or how many people actually view them as opposed to trashing them. If you provide meaningful, expected, and wanted correspondences, your email campaigns will be much more effective. If you abuse email marketing by spamming your audience and/or not giving or respecting their option to opt out, you risk losing prospects for good.
Traditional advertisements: Less is more. If you can find a way to reach your audience that's funny, relatable or otherwise entertaining, you can rely less on sheer output. People ignore spam anyway, no matter how high in volume it comes. When it comes to traditional ads, they should always be a part of a bigger strategy. For instance, putting an ad on a billboard with a QR code is... Well, it obviously lacks strategy (seriously).
Social media sharing: Instead of just becoming another useless, annoying presence on someone’s wall, endeavor to earn your place in a feed. Draw them in with relevant information that improves their lives. Pique your audience's interests. Be relevant and engaging. And if someone leaves a very public negative feedback on your social channels, take the high route and do not lose your sh...
6. Maintain Your Value
The best way to think of brand loyalty is as the number of transactions you can expect from a single client over a lifetime. This will only happen, however, if you keep your standards as high as they were when the client initially made the purchase. Ideally, they will climb even higher over the lifetime of the relationship. Keep all those potential transactions in mind as you resist the urge to cut your quality along with your prices in an attempt to keep up with the Joneses.
7. Pursue PR Opportunities
Clients want to know you’re actively taking part in the community and industry conversation. This loops back around to No. 1, which explained that clients and prospects must see you as a leader in the industry. Note that you cannot do this, however, if folks don’t know what you’re doing, so use a PR leg either inside or outside your organization to get the word out. Share your events, your publications, when your leaders are on panels or give talks, and more. Don't be shy about your achievements, either. Share the word of your successes and let your audience take part in your wins.
Building a powerful brand that induces loyalty requires first and foremost a good service or product, reinforced by leadership, engagement, value, and honesty. When it comes down to it, brand loyalty is: an enduring relationship between you and your clients.