The Connection Between Loyalty and ROI
Marketing is no longer focused on garnering individual sales – it’s about loyalty. We are in the business of building client retention and lifelong loyalty to your products and your brand. We have your bottom line in mind – not just in the immediate future, but in the long run. We want to see that line on an unending upward slope.
Public Relations is the practice of building relationships with your consumers. It’s about shaping what the public thinks of your company and your services in a positive way. It’s about creating an association between your brand and that feeling that it improves consumers’ lives.
Consumer relationships are two-way; if you demonstrate that you are there for your audience in their time of need, they will be there for you.
How Do I Build Relationships With My ‘Target’?
No matter what kind of relationship you need to build, or what messaging conduit you use to build it, the foundation is the same.
Step 1: The Hook
Every new relationship starts with a hook – maybe you catch their eye on the subway, or perhaps they liked your online profile. How do you present yourself, as a business, to catch the eyes of the right people?
As consumers, we are faced with a vast amount of content and information every day and we have to make choices about how to spend our valuable time and attention. We’ve all heard it: People today have such short attention spans! Videos have to be 15 seconds or shorter; articles must be skimmable; images have to tell the whole story in the first millisecond. In fact, it’s tested: the average attention span has dropped to 8 seconds.
The key is to focus less on the length of the video, and more on the quality. That 8-second attention span doesn’t actually limit what we watch to 8 seconds or less; it just means mobile users make quicker decisions about how to spend their time. The modern consumer will watch or read as long as the content provides value: “Is this worth my time?”
Now is not the time to skimp on creativity. You need something with a story, something genuine, something funny or emotional to draw in your future fans and clients. You need to create a memorable experience with your content, so your target starts to recognize your brand on the street and get inclined to learn more.
Step 2: The Hub
Once they’re hooked, where do they go to learn more? Online – and they go there immediately.
Two-thirds of American adults own a smartphone, and use it on-the-go for everything from banking to transportation to regular communication to searching and applying for jobs. And 20% are now smartphone-dependent: mobile is their only way to access the internet.
What do they find when they search for your company or product online? Will they know immediately that they are in the right place? Are the name and logo familiar? Is the quality of your online hub consistent with the hype of the initial hook, or will your seekers be let down?
Is your website the online spokesperson, the brand storyteller? Then it must be friendly: mobile-friendly, user-friendly, with a “friendly” design. It should be
- simple to navigate,
- written in plain English,
- with an obvious call-to-action and plenty of opportunities to interact further with your brand.
If they want more, can they find you on social media to see if their friends know you, and to learn what they think of your company? Will they see Yelp or Google+ reviews? And will they be impressed by the way you maintain relationships with your current clients?
Step 3: The ‘Hey Again’
In a new human relationship, follow-up is key. Do you call back – soon enough that it’s clear you’re interested, but not so soon that it feels desperate? The right time to call, and the right thing to say, is different for every situation.
The same goes for building loyalty among your target audience. This might seem tough, since you’re not able to personally gauge each interaction; but you can get closer by understanding your market, their habits, favorite ways to communicate, and the intricate ways they will interact with your product and company.
For example, if you know your target audience tends to ignore or delete promotional emails, think twice about sending an email blast welcoming them to the group (or make it look nothing like your typical promotional email).
Your follow-up must make it clear what they get out of being in a relationship with you – and what is expected of them in this relationship. Consumers do not trust easily, and will hold back if they feel someone is taking advantage of them or trying to dupe them.
Step 4: The Long Haul
Eventually, you and your consumers become integral parts of each other’s lives. Your product goes with them everywhere they go; they share your funniest video with friends over and over again. They ‘like’ all your social media pages and comment or share your posts now and then.
Your goal is to be ever-present. You want to be where they are – so they see your company in all their favorite places and know that you share their values and interests. So they know they’ve made the right choice.
The power of a loyalty campaign is in how well it integrates different marketing channels to make that feeling all-encompassing. A Facebook page or website on its own does not secure lifelong client loyalty. Even if it’s a superbly managed page, the best you can hope for is Facebook loyalty, or a dedicated repeat website visitor.
That’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. You need your audience to see you as an inextricable part of their lives, online and off. They should recognize your logo anywhere, on a screen or a poster or a business card, and smile because they know it signifies quality. To them, it feels like seeing a photo of an old friend.
That is what PR and marketing are all about: making it clear to your consumers that you are accessible. That you are there for them and will always be there for them. That you are dedicated to making their lives better. It might seem touchy-feely, but it’s really just good business.