In the Digital Age, new marketing strategies are rapidly adopted while old tactics are going obsolete overnight.
Deploying tactics can generate enormous short-term profits, but in order to transition from a money-making enterprise to a sustainable brand, it’s important to prioritize long-term relationships.
Oftentimes, brand loyalty is created when a person makes multiple purchases, then recommends the business to their friends because of the high value they’ve received.
However, purchasing isn’t always a prerequisite for brand loyalty.
In a study by Wunderman on consumer behavior, 79% of American respondents stated that brands have to demonstrate they understand and care about them before they’d be willing to make a purchase.
For instance, I’m a huge fan of Neil Patel’s marketing content. I’ve linked to his articles in countless posts and recommended him to numerous friends.
I’ve never paid Neil any money, but I’m definitely loyal to him because he produces such exemplary work. Because I know his blog posts will help the people I care about, I always link to him, and his personal brand grows as a consequence (without any money being exchanged).
In order to create brand advocates out of people who are not yet your customers, you must strive to deliver as much value as possible. Here are my tips for achieving this.
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If a friend wanted some information about implementing social proof on their website, I’d probably link them to a Neil Patel article. However, life isn’t only about business.
I often enjoy drinking wine, but it’s not something I’ve become more knowledgeable about until recently.
Cracka Wines is one of my favorite wine retailers, not only because of their good customer service and expansive range of products – but also because of their educational content.
The site features a wine library packed full of valuable information. You can read about grape varieties, gain insights from top wine reviewers and best of all, learn about the world’s wine regions.
As a fan of novel and unusual wines, I would have never purchased a bottle from the unheralded wine-producing country, Austria, if it wasn’t for the educational content by Cracka Wines (I was pleasantly surprised by the bottle, by the way).
The reason content like this works is because it educates first and promotes second. In other words, the content delivers value rather than seeking to extract value from people.
By producing free resources that truly help people, some readers will convert to paying customers while others may appreciate the content and refer their friends. In either case, you’re establishing brand loyalty.
Unfortunately, many marketers behave as if they’re only interested in a relationship with someone once they become paying customers. This is incredibly short-sighted, as it turns people away before you can get to know them.
I like to use social media to demonstrate authority and engage in discussions in my niche. This kind of behavior allows people to come to positive conclusions about me without having to sell to them.
Remember, 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are more likely to recommend it to their friends.
Ultimately, good social media conduct builds trust – which is severely lacking in the internet marketing niche.
Tech entrepreneur, Alex Becker, does an excellent job of this with his YouTube channel. Because he delivers high quality, actionable internet marketing advice and never sells to his audience – people trust him and keep coming back to view his content.
It doesn’t hurt that his videos are full of personality and very funny (so long as you’re okay with excessive profanity and tough love). When you can deliver expert practical tips and combine humor, that’s a winning combination.
In my opinion, email marketing is still one of the most powerful tools for engaging and warming up prospects.
For eCommerce businesses, it’s typical for people to arrive on your mailing list once they’ve become paying customers.
However, for B2B businesses (particularly if you’re selling high ticket items), giving away content upgrades and lead magnets in exchange for email addresses is the best way to get people onto your list.
According to research by Content Marketing Institute, 83% of B2B marketers use email newsletters for content marketing purposes.
My 3-step strategy for email marketing is pretty simple:
- Help people as much as humanly possible.
- Convey your personality authentically.
- Once prospects are warm, promote products and services which will change their lives for the better.
Delivering value should be the main focus of your email campaigns if you’re aiming to build a brand with longevity.
Think of educational content as the meal, and sales emails as the sauce for your campaigns (don’t confuse the sauce for the meal).
I sign up to a lot of email funnels to take inspiration from other marketers. There is a stark contrast between the ones who solely self-promote and those that clearly care about their readers.
Check out this excerpt from an email from Melyssa Griffin about her transition away from an unfulfilling job to a life of freedom as an entrepreneur and blogger:
Most people get involved in internet marketing because they’re sick of their job and want more autonomy in their lives (myself included). This authentic story about Melyssa’s agonizing job makes her more endearing, and it also propels people to take action and purchase her course.
Especially in a niche like internet marketing where not everyone is as reputable as they claim to be, stories like this show that Melyssa is not the type of person who will rip you off for some easy money and sell you a course that won’t actually help you.
Empathizing with the pain points of your customers is a great way to build loyalty.
As Robert Cialdini, author of best-selling book, Influence, states:
“It’s not just about talking about what your client stands to gain … It’s often more important to explain what stands to be lost if they fail to move in the direction you recommend.”
Numerous studies have shown that moving away from pain is a stronger motivational force than moving towards pleasure.
Although pain point marketing can be used to prey on people’s insecurities and sell them things they don’t need, it can also be used to compel people to purchase products that will change their lives for the better.
If you’re going to use this tactic, make sure you’re 100% certain that your products deliver on your promises. If you offer people a solution to a problem that keeps them up at night and you fail to deliver, this will destroy your brand integrity.
When you think about incentives, discount codes to encourage repeat purchases normally spring to mind. However, incentivization can be used on prospects as well as existing customers.
One of the best ways to incentivize loyalty from day one is to incorporate a double-sided referral program into your onboarding process (this means that both the referrer and the friend receive benefits).
When you consider that 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations over all other forms of advertising, it’s wise to encourage referrals as much as possible.
Dropbox provides the most compelling example of a brand that generated extreme loyalty using referral marketing.
As new users are on-boarded, they are encouraged to refer friends to the service. However, instead of overtly promoting a referral program, Dropbox presented this to the user as a way to get more account space.
In other words, Dropbox appealed to the self-interests of the individual rather than promoting their own service. This is a winning formula, since Dropbox acquired 4 million users in 15 months.
As a word of caution, Dropbox was only able to generate extreme growth using referral marketing because its service is incredibly useful. If users were encouraged to refer their friends and Dropbox delivered a poor service, the negative publicity would have spread like wildfire.
While all these tactics are useful for creating brand loyalty, they only work when your primary aim is to deliver value before you receive anything in return. In my experience, ironically, this is exactly the mindset which leads to great profits.
When you truly care about your readers, prospects, and customers – they can feel it.
Seasonal greetings and personalized birthday messages may seem negligible, but trust me, they make a long-term impression on people.
The more you’re able to serve people, the more you’ll be rewarded. That’s how brand loyalty is created.
Can you think of any other brand loyalty tips? Please let me know in the comments below.
Guest Author: Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands, including Salesforce, Coca-Cola, Target and others, to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, his blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.