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WARNING: Unpopular opinion about the importance of brand loyalty.
No matter how great your product or service is, without a loyal client base, your business will never be successful.
Don’t believe me?
I’ll prove it to you.
And I’ll show you the one thing you can start working on today to ensure you are successful.
But before I get to that, let me tell you a story.
It’s a story about Apple.
Apple, the world’s most valuable company, invests heavily in customer loyalty.
Think about it. Apple is famous for their mega stores which create a positive and welcoming environment, with their commitment to customer service a priority.
As a result, Apple has become a household name. Literally.
This is backed by a new survey conducted by CNBC that found 64% of Americans own an Apple product of some kind.
That’s an enormous market with which to promote new and existing products.
But don’t think for a moment that Apple’s domination as a company comes down to having a better product than their rivals.
In fact you can get phones for cheaper, and phones that will last longer. But still, people give their hard earned cash to Apple. Why? Because they are loyal to a brand they trust, and who takes care of their needs.
This is reflected in the latest data from the Brand Loyalty Report by CIRP (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners) which showed Apple’s brand loyalty has exceeded 90%.
With Samsung at 70%, LG at 45% and Motorola at 32% the gap in brand loyalty is clear.
And it’s this loyalty, not any product they provide, that makes Apple so successful.
To start building towards the same level of customer devotion as Apple you’ll need to answer the following questions.
The answer is simple.
Most businesses think reliability is the most important metric.
Of course you need to be available when your customers need you. Your website must be fast and mobile friendly. You have to be there and provide the same superior level of service time and time again. To be reliable, a business needs to be consistently good in quality and performance.
But that’s not the most important thing.
Being reliable is not going to be enough to make your business successful.
Former chairman of the board at J.P. Morgan and Co, Douglas A Warner III, summarised this best in saying…
“In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.”
The key to staying ahead of your competition, to staying desired, and to staying successful.
#1 – Loyal customers spend more than disengaged consumers
#2 – Repeat, high-paying customers help reduce marketing costs
#3 – Customer acquisition and retention becomes more affordable
#4 – Positive buzz, online and offline, improves your brand image
#5 – Customers provide honest and quality feedback to help shape your business objectives
Many new and established business owners resist the idea of identifying their niche because they ‘want to be able to sell to everyone’.
The truth is, you cannot sell to everyone.
Identifying your niche target market enables your business to direct its resources to those customers with high potential for sales growth, interest in the product, and loyalty to the brand.
This approach is the most affordable, efficient and effective way to identify and acquire potential loyal customers.
According to Marketing Metrics – The probability of selling something to a prospect is only about 5-20%, while the probability of selling something to an existing customer is 60-70%.
Furthermore, data shows that a business with 40% repeat customers can generate nearly 50% more revenue than similar businesses with only 10% repeat customers.
Identifying your tribe and converting them into loyal customers has never been as important as it is right now.
Don’t fall behind the times.
More than 90% of companies currently have some form of customer engagement or loyalty program.
What are you doing to find your niche market and become your customer’s next favourite brand?
Maintaining a positive relationship with your customers is essential if you want to retain them.
Customer expectations are increasingly demanding and competition is fierce.
Loyalty is a brand differentiator that could make or break your business.
As a business owner, turning profit is not your sole purpose.
Your success will be based on your customers and how they see you.
Remember, they’re the reason you’re in business.
Listen to your customers and identify what they need from you.
Satisfy their needs and ensure you provide contextualised feedback as this is where you will build trust and loyalty.
Storytelling can inspire trust between your business and customers.
It gives a compelling reason for consumers to buy from you.
The end goal is to connect.
Science has confirmed this theory too, in fact we’re hardwired for stories.
Think of Harley Davidson.
Harley Davidson presents an image of freedom and adventure when riding its motorcycles.
Their “Find Your Freedom” campaign is a great example of how to implement storytelling into business practices.
In short, Harley Davidson selected a number of individuals to participate in their ‘Find Your Freedom’ campaign, taught them how to ride a Harley and sent them on a riding adventure to chronicle everything on various social media platforms.
Through stories you can show that your company and customers are real people with real stories to tell.
Cultivate an active community by communicating your values, purpose, beliefs and mission.
Have you told any brand stories yet?
Doing a job well does not establish loyalty.
Instead it establishes reliability.
Reliability will not ensure sustainability for your business.
Reliability needs to work alongside customer loyalty.
This will ensure business growth and longevity.
All of this can be distilled down to one simple quality.
If your company lives and breathes this one quality, you’ll have a loyal audience who will follow you everywhere you go.
And that one thing is…your business needs to truly care about your customers.
Remember, as Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says, ‘If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.’
Customer loyalty is the most valuable asset of any business, so don’t take yours for granted.