The current marketplace is oversaturated with products similar to yours. So unless what you have is a groundbreaking product, it is very difficult to stand out from a crowded marketplace. So how do you distinguish yourself, and how do you make your product stand out from the rest of the competition?
First, you need to establish a loyal following. If you are a startup looking to establish your presence in your chosen niche, you need to identify who your target market is even before you launch your product. Once the connection has been made, and the lead or prospect has been turned into a paying customer, now comes the challenge: turning that one-time customer into a customer for life. In order to survive its growing pains, a small business must develop a loyal customer base. This is why it is important to develop brand loyalty among your existing customers.
What is Brand Loyalty?
Brand loyalty can be summed up in three words: retaining existing customers. It is when a customer makes a repeat purchase of your product. It is all about turning a casual customer into a hardcore fan. It is about building an enduring brand that will survive trends, and will thrive over the passing of time. Once you have brand loyalty, you may no longer have to convince customers to buy into your product; although you do need to remind them from time to time that they are making the right choice of sticking by you.
Factors That Affect Brand Loyalty
In order to become successful not only in attracting clients, but also in retaining them, you have to take into consideration the following factors:
- Establish trust. In order to become trustworthy, you need to be personal when it comes to customer service. Your customer will know right away if a response to a complaint comes from a generic template, so be sincere in your communication.
- Make a commitment. You must be willing to spend an inordinate amount of time working on creating brand loyalty.
- Create value. Before buying into a product, a customer will ask himself, “What’s in it for me?” Answer this question, and you’re on your way there. It should be clear to your target audience how your product will benefit them.
- Ensure satisfaction. At the end of the day, what’s important is that the end user has had an overall great experience with your product. Satisfied customers will come back for more.
Why Brand Loyalty is Important
Establishing brand loyalty is important because these kinds of customers will not just buy your product; they also become your brand’s passionate advocates. You get new business based on word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals from them. The best thing about this? These loyal customers come across as credible, unbiased, and authoritative because they are-you haven’t paid them a single cent.
Also, whatever state the economy is in, these customers will be in it for the long haul. So if you are looking for long-term sustainable customer relationships, you need to learn how to create brand loyalty.
How to Build Brand Loyalty
Establishing brand loyalty is something that doesn’t happen overnight. It is quite the opposite, in fact. It may take you weeks, months, and even years of strategizing and implementing various marketing campaigns before you strike gold. But once you get there, it will all be worth it. Here are a couple of things you need to do in order to get a head start on building brand loyalty:
Establish your brand
Establish who you are, and what it is that you want to do. Creating a brand identity means conducting a SWOT analysis, creating mission and vision statements, and formulating a unique selling proposition. Apple, for example, is successful in creating brand loyalty, resulting in hordes of hardcore fans going crazy at every new iPhone release.
Build your brand internally
You don’t have to start with the customer anymore. Start from within. Tell your story to the team. Educate them about your mission and vision statements so they’ll know what you are trying to establish in the marketplace. Motivate your employees to love your brand.
Develop consistent brand messages and experiences
Be consistent with the delivery of your message, especially if you are using multiple platforms to engage with your target market. Utilize sensory marketing and make sure that your brand appeals to all the senses. Small details such as a visually appealing storefront display, or a free cheese-and-wine tasting during a product launch, will do great wonders for your brand. Starbucks has this strategy down pat by making sure that every store location appeals to the senses—you can see it from the aesthetics, to the sounds, to the smiling barista who makes your coffee.
Customers should believe in your brand and identify with it. Your brand’s message should be able to evoke an emotional connection. Humanize your brand. Make it more relatable. A little bit of humor and wit goes a long way.
Perception of your brand should match the reality
Your marketing efforts shouldn’t exaggerate, or over promise, on what you can actually deliver. Know how your brand is being perceived by the public, and manage these perceptions by making sure you deliver on your promises.
Deliver on your brand promise and experience
Your brand message should be aligned with your customer’s actual experience with your product. If your brand successfully builds loyalty with customers, you can eventually create the epitome of a loyal customer; a brand evangelist
What is Evangelism Marketing?
Brand evangelism is a word-of-mouth marketing where customers voluntarily recommend your product to others, and will practically do the marketing on your behalf. People are less skeptical of a marketing evangelist as opposed to other hard-core selling techniques, simply because that person is not affiliated nor associated with a brand. As a result, there’s a higher chance of converting a potential lead into a definite sale when you use brand evangelism.
How to Create Brand Evangelists
Product evangelism creates a high ROI for your business, and it will be a shame if you don’t use it to improve your profitability. Here are some of the things you will need to do in order to make brand evangelists out of your regular customers:
Provide outstanding customer service
Take customer feedback to heart and use it to improve your product. If a previously disappointed customer is happy with the service you provided, he or she will be eager to spread the word around on how you managed a complaint.
Compare your brands against others
Brand evangelists become passionate only if they believe that you are the best among the competition. Use the strengths that you came up during your SWOT analysis as a way to set you apart from the rest of the competition.
Interact on social media
Engage with your customers on various social media platforms, not only to sell your product, but also to increase your reach and provide customer service. Share user-generated content—not only is this cost-effective, but it also makes your target audience feel appreciated.
Make your content easy to share
Content marketing is another tool you should use. Whatever form of content you use—be it a blog post, an infographic, an explainer video, a white paper, or an ebook—make it accessible to your target audience. And don’t forget to make it easy for them to share it to others, too, by customizing social media buttons on your site.
Turn your employees into brand evangelists
Sell your brand from the inside. Turn your employees into believers, and make them feel empowered. After all, these very employees are the first line of contact for your customers. As brand evangelists, they will incorporate your mission and vision as their own. Employees are a great resource for word of mouth marketing too.
You need to have a customer evangelist who believes strongly in your product and will go to great lengths to convince others to buy it. Brand evangelism is a sustainable way for you to build brand and customer loyalty.