How To Turn Your Customers Into Advocates – Part 1

It is no secret… it costs more to win a customer than it does to retain one. You may spend considerable capital to advertise your product or service to fill your pipeline with interested prospects, with only a certain percentage actually closing. After all that investment, effort and manpower to get the sale, doesn’t it make sense to do what you can to keep them spending with you?

There are many avenues of creating customer retention; loyalty programs, coupons, customer referral rewards, auto drafts, subscriptions, to name a few very effective ways. However, you may want to consider adding another tool for your arsenal: Communities.

Providing customers a place to gather, whether online or in person, will create a bond around a common interest. This is the best way to turn Loyal Customers into Advocates. According to Dictionary.com, to advocate is “to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly.”

Wouldn’t it be great if an undecided prospect read, or was personally given, a recommendation by one of your customers? In Fred Reichheld’s “The Ultimate Question,”  he breaks down customers in to three categories; Continue reading

Tips on Marketing to Millennials

 

With graduations happening all over the country, another group of millennials are entering the workforce – which is already the largest portion of today’s working class. With over 80 million millennials (born between 1982 and 2004), they make up nearly a quarter of the population and spend over $200 billion every year.

If you haven’t already started, this is a group you want to target.

When searching online, you will find multiple surveys and articles written about this group. Elite Daily surveyed 1,300 millennials, looking at their buying habits and brand loyalty. Deloitte surveyed nearly 8,000 millennials to provide their outlook on society and their attitude toward their work.

What to take away?

Millennials are an incredibly important audience and there are several key factors to consider for your next targeted campaign.

Segment vs Demographic

As most marketers know, the key to successful ROI is segmenting your audience and not treating your entire target audience exactly the same. The same can be said for millennials. This is less a demographic you can sum up easily and more a diverse collection of individuals that range from young professionals to move-back-homes, and from partying singles to single parents. It is important to understand your specific audience before launching any marketing campaign.

That said, the following are common traits found in this generation you may want to consider when developing your strategy.

Multiple Channels. Gone are the days of “offline versus online” strategies. With the mobile revolution, millennials have grown up with the idea they are always connected wherever they are. Many use multiple devices simultaneously to stay connected, with 87% of millennials using two to three devices at least once every day. If you want to get their attention, you need to move quickly and use multiple channels to reach them. Constant communication will be key.

Hard Sell vs Content Marketing. When asked if a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more, only 1% of millennials surveyed said yes. Advertising is seen as promotional (and dated) and millennials would rather review content when considering purchases. Blogs and articles make a big impact in buying decisions.

While Content is Important, Authenticity More So. Content marketing is very important with this generation, however 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news. If they do not trust the source, they will not even bother reading the content they produce. In fact, they often would trust peers over companies. Influencer marketing holds a lot of weight.

More Social than Informational. While Baby Boomers and Gen Xers may have preferred traditional news sources, millennials prefer to get their information through social media channels. While fewer than 3% of millennials rely on TV news, magazines and books to make a purchase, an impressive one-third rely mostly on blogs before they buy.

They Want to be Engaged. A whopping 62% of millennials say they are more likely to become a loyal customer if a brand engages with them on their preferred social networks. It is not enough to just be on the social network – millennials expect companies to engage with them.

Yes, Millennials Are Loyal. There is a common misconception that millennials don’t have brand loyalty and are easily swayed, suggesting they are wishy-washy. This may be because they are more likely to be loyal to ideals rather than a company logo and, if a company appears to lose those ideals, will move on. The fact is, they can be very brand loyal – 60% of millennials surveyed said they are often or always loyal to brands they currently purchase. It just may be harder to maintain that loyalty.

With millennials currently ranging between 13 – 35 years in age, your marketing campaigns are going to be keenly targeted on this group for decades to come. Like any marketing strategy, the key will be to communicate to your target audience with the content they want, in the style they understand, in the places they prefer. For millennials, remembering engaging, authentic content on multiple social channels will be instrumental in helping your brand get noticed and build brand loyalty.

Rick Verbanas has brought his passion for marketing to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and not-for-profits. He strives to stay current in the latest marketing best practices, and provides a weekly roundup for your news and enjoyment. To subscribe to future blogs, please enter your email address on the left hand side of the page.

Mother’s Day Marketing Tips

This Sunday is Mother’s Day (Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!). “Celebrating Mom” has become big business for many small businesses. While there are many stores and services hoping to bring in shoppers (and I’ll share some of my ideas below), there are some sharp guerrilla marketers looking to “ride the wave” and cash in on all the sentiment.

Build Traffic
You may wonder how you, who may not offer products or services normally associated with Mother’s Day gifts, can benefit from the holiday. The real question is, could your website benefit from more exposure, more traffic? If the answer is “Yes,” start considering ways to chat, blog or share about Mother’s Day.

Perhaps the easiest thing to do is post a question on your site, or in your e-newsletter – wherever you track customer responses. Buzz Accelerator suggests 50 Mother’s Day Status Updates for Your Business.They offer some phrases and questions you can post on your Facebook business page (which may also work well with your home website, twitter, LinkedIn Q&A, etc.) such as:

  • Like this if you grew up to be just like your mother.
  • Moms: Yay or Nay on breakfast in bed?
  • What makes your mom better than all the others? Tag her in a comment so she’ll see what you say.

The point is, you want to engage your readers. Give them something to respond to, or vote on, or “like,” or forward, etc.

Another way to drive traffic is to offer Mother’s Day content. Some companies encourage their employees to post heart-warming stories about their own mothers in an effort to give their company a more approachable face. You can blog about famous mothers (the more popular, the better) or, present real-life moms who make sacrifices every day for their children. The NY Daily News provides a look at the ten worst TV moms.

Whatever you do, make it about the mothers and not you. Unless you are a company that offers products or services their moms would like, readers will not take kindly to companies looking to make a profit by exploiting an institution revered as highly as motherhood.

Marketing Ideas
For those who do offer a product or service, here are some ideas to consider in addition to the above:

Continue reading