If you’re solely relying on mass targeted demographics & sales funnels, you’ll lose out…
A few months ago I had one of the best experiences i’ve ever had as a customer in recent memory. The funny thing is — It all rested on a single detail — a hand-written letter.
The letter was written by a member of the team at John’s Crazy Socks — a company that offers a selection of quirkily-designed socks (Read more about how a 22-year old with Down Syndrome created a multimillion-dollar sock business).
It came with 2 pairs of socks I ordered and a bag of Skittles.
Although it was such a simple gesture, those extra items made receiving the package in the mail almost like getting a present on my birthday. I could tell that this is a business that loves its customers.
This experience made me realize how much we’re losing that thoughtful element in marketing; in favor of segmenting customers into massive sales funnels that we can target broadly as part of our ideal demographic.
But this is a mistake.
Did you know that about 85% of consumers expect personalization to be a part of their customer experience? (2019, Trends in Personalization Report).
It’s important to note that the sort of personalization we’re talking about here is more along the lines of addressing customers by name in brand communications, showing them ads and giving them discounts on relevant products and services, etc etc.
But personalization should be more than just remembering customer details or tailoring results to their search history.
Authentic engagement is the personal touch that personalized marketing is missing.
5 simple ways you that can leverage both engagement and personalization to increase customer loyalty in your brand include:
1. Returning The Favor — Engage With Your Fans On Their Accounts
More and more celebrities are interacting with their fans on social media.
While it’s a great way to show them in the act of ‘being themselves’, it’s also a very smart play in building relationships with their audience.
Your brand can take a similar approach.
Every month you might make it a goal to interact with a set number of fans on their own content on social media.
While it’s nice to ad lib different versions of “Thank you” when someone has commented on your brand’s account, leaving a well thought out response on you customer’s feed translates into an authentic sense of gratitude at the investment of their personal time and financial dollars inyour brand.
2. Utilize Video or Voice Messages
Gary Vaynerchuk and Sunny Lenarduzzi are just a few top social media-preneurs who are known for using video and voice recordings to communicate with their audience.
As Sunny L. occasionally does, leaving voice recordings for new followers — Not only thanking them for following by name, but also commenting on something pertaining to their interests (as discovered from their profile), helps to let them know you are genuinely interested in them beyond getting their engagement.
It humanizes your brand.
A few more brand-specific ways to use Voice via direct message on IG & FB:
Updating a customer with the status of their order (Obviously, it doesn’t have to be all of your customers. You can randomly pick a few.)
Letting them know of any quirks in shipping; perhaps due to inclement weather or problems with carriers, etc.
Commenting when you see them use or mention your products in an image.
You could also use the same method of checking out their profile and starting a conversation about something they like here as well; which is a tried and true method of going from brand-customer to human-human interaction.
As you grow from a small business to an enterprise, your ability to do this for every customer will decrease.
However, if you set a certain target every month, say to make it your goal to leave voice recordings for anywhere from 20–50 random accounts every month, you increase the probability of growing your brand loyalty over time.
3. Send A Gift Randomly To Your Customers
9 Companies That Nailed The Whole ‘Surprise and Delight’ Thing (via Inc. Magazine) highlights a few brands that turned gift-giving into an opportunity for new engagement.
After researching keywords related to moms not getting enough sleep, college students up all night studying for midterms, and people just generally not having the energy they need, for example, San Diego-based cold pressed juice company Suja Juice reached out to “almost 400 people and successfully dropped or shipped nearly 6,000 bottles of product.”
If gifting non-customers seems too risky, even if they’re relevant to your niche, focus on sending gifts to customers who already purchase from you. This will increase the likelihood of getting a return in the form of user-generated content.
You can also optimize this is by studying your customers’ profiles, discovering what they love and then sending them something related to that.
For example, whether or not you’re an apparel company, if you see a customer who is obsessed with red hats, you could send one along with their next purchase.
4. Help A Customer Going Through Tough Times
While we can’t take care of everyone’s woes as humans or brands, brands that are emotionally driven to help their customers, much like how many brands are purpose-driven to stand on certain issues — especially these days, are more likely to win over fans.
It could be as small as a gift card or as a large as paying for a surgery.
Part of humanizing your brand is sticking around through the think and thin, whenever you can; not just when your customers’ wallets are full.
Most positive customer experiences seem to be a blur in the long-term.
We purchase so many things and receive them without hassle, that they all fall around the same average when it comes to describing a good customer experience; even for the highest-rated brands.
But brands that went above and beyond expectations will always stand out.
These days we need to look backwards towards traditional marketing to truly provide a unique experience that will make a lasting impression.
Too many things look and feel automated now.
There’s nothing better than getting a hand-written letter in the mail or even a message online from a brand who knows your name, your favorite color or the last artist you played. From a real human being.
What’s more, it’s not even that hard if you’re serious about building long-lasting sustainable consumer relationships. You simply make it a part of your overarching marketing goals.
What are some of the best experiences you’ve ever had as a customer?