Engaging a customer is great. Turning them into a loyal customer? Even better.
But what happens when you strive for more than customer loyalty?
Once upon a time, repeat customers were the pinnacle of customer allegiance. Fast forward to 2021, and the ultimate indication of loyalty (and further success for your business) lies in turning customers into ‘brand advocates’.
For fashion brands navigating their way through the rocky climate of the COVID-19 era, holding on to customers is becoming more complex.
As people experience hardship, they want to know the brands they love have their back. Companies need to be transparent, coherent, clear and trustworthy – and live up to the expectations of their customers during these trying times. And boy are those expectations high.
Ultimately, using this time to form deeper connections can have positive effects on your ROI post-pandemic and beyond. By taking the time to understand what your consumers want and need now, building a brand advocacy squad could come sooner than you think. Here’s how.
PUT THE COOKIES DOWN
While reaching for the cookie jar might seem like a quick way to acquire that much-needed personal data, it’s time for brands to move on from cookies and start using zero-party data instead.
Sure, cookies allow you to make observations and build your own picture of a customer… but what if you could get a REAL understanding of who your customer really is?
*Zero-party data has entered the chat* – where data is proactively shared or self-reported by consumers, directly with brands.
This will enable you to build a true ‘360-degree’ view of your customer, putting you on a path of discovery when it comes to truly understanding them.
Creating an opportunity to build and improve relationships with your consumers, allows you to gather more genuine information about your customer base.
By connecting directly with consumers to gather data, insights and the permission that is needed to create personalized marketing across every stage of the customer lifecycle, you can carve out opportunities to build and improve relationships with your customers.
Tips for gathering data? Don’t overthink this. The more casual, the more likely a customer is to open up. Just think of it as a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of situation.
Utilize polls, quizzes, competitions, social stories and offer potential prizes and discounts – but again, creativity is key here.
This gives your customers real benefits without it seeming like a cheesy ploy to extract as much information as possible.
CONSUMERS WANT TO FEEL SPECIAL… SO MAKE THEM FEEL SPECIAL!
Personalization is key to become an icon in the digital world.
Customers are becoming savvier, which means to succeed online, providing those magic moments is more important now than ever before. If brands are lacking personalized content, a dynamic website or mobile optimization – 9 times out of 10, consumers aren’t interested.
As it becomes harder and harder to stand out amongst the competition, the pressure to step up your game is on.
Research shows personalized content leads to higher conversion rates.
Customers are more likely to add items to their cart if they view personalized pages. Even if they don’t follow through with an immediate purchase, retargeting campaigns including personalized emails or push notifications can be used to convert a sale.
Creating a personalized shopping experience can also stretch the all-important ROI.
That being said, personalization isn’t always enough. Building a shell-shocking, documented strategy utilizing the capabilities of AI can help achieve a more cohesive online experience. This strategy can be multi-touch, including custom push notifications, product recommendations, or email reminders.
MAKE IT… EMOTIONAL.
No, we’re not asking you to make your clients cry (especially since we’re all going through a rollercoaster ride of emotions right now!), but marketers need to build an emotional connection with their customers, period.
Providing a memorable customer experience is no longer optional – consumers expect this. Making a lasting impression isn’t going to happen by sending a generic 10% discount to their inbox. It’s 2021, wake up and get innovative!
Consumers want to feel a real, deep connection with your brand. Advocacy comes from trust. It comes from being able to confide in a brand. It comes from a brand standing up for what’s right.
If you don’t hit the nail on the head with this, then kiss their business goodbye because they’ll be gone before you even have a chance to change their mind.
But how do you make the misunderstood feel understood?
Consumers want to know the brands they associate with truly align with their wants, needs and values. It’s a little like dating, just without the uncomfortable chit-chat. It takes more than 5 seconds to instil this in consumers, but it takes less than 5 seconds to turn them off.
That’s why understanding your customers is crucial to slowly building a trusting and lasting relationship with them. Do your research and due diligence. Understanding your target audience takes time, but when you finally instil brand confidence in your consumers – you’ll know, believe me.
THE ROAD TO ADVOCACY. YOUR FAVORITE AND FINAL DESTINATION.
Ahhh you’ve made it to the promised land – brand advocacy.
There’s no looking back – however, your job isn’t finished. As marketers, there’s no rest for the wicked, which means even when you’ve achieved the ultimate relationship with consumers, you must provide ways for them to share their loyalty with the leery.
Make it easy for your customers to boast about their incredible experiences with your brand. From social media to word-of-mouth, providing your brand advocates with a platform to support your brand is crucial to monetizing your efforts.
Just think of them as your very own tribe of influencers – without the attitude, contracts and freebies.