Great! So they found you. They clicked on your search result, came to your site, actually converted into a paying customer and now you’ve got a good chance at creating some loyalty right?
Not so fast.
I was amazed by a new study profiled in the Globe and Mail Friday about the declining loyalty amongst 25-49 year olds. It found that only 3% of Gen Xers and Gen Yers say they’re so loyal to a brand that they’d never buy another. Another 49% said they liked certain brands but most of the time they’re open to trying any brand.
So, in this Facebook era, like doesn’t necessarily mean love.
Why is loyalty declining?
The first wave of Internet Marketing exploded consumer choice. Now, the Second Wave – the socially-enabled one – is revolutionizing how people make more informed buying decisions.
Consider that traffic on review sites grew by 158% last year. And that, according to studies by Bridge Ratings and the University of Massachusetts, when it comes to trusted source of information ‘Strangers with Experience’ shot up over the last decade vs. significant declines for traditional media during the same period. People are trusting traditional sources less and each other more. And traditional loyalty programs aren’t the entire answer as Colloquy has found that less than half of card-based programs showed any activity at all last year.
So there’s the bad news. The good news is that marketers are equipped with a whole new set of customer loyalty tools. Here’s…
1. Make Sure You’re Asking Them to Follow You and Share. Everybody by now has pretty well added those Facebook and Twitter logos to their sites (you have haven’t you?) but have you given them a good reason to follow you and are you using offline media to capture them in this new net? Social Media darling Naked Pizza didn’t build their following by tweets alone. They used menus, pizza boxes and other old school tools.
2. Get That eMail by Dangling Something of Value. Offer them invites to special events or white papers or a new tool to get that address. Then don’t abuse it but word hard on providing real content value. And, if you’re a small business, once you’ve got the email use Friend Finder tools to connect with them on social networks. As horse dentist and successful Facebook marketer Geoff Tucker says
3. Let Them Get To Know You. In this socially-enabled business era, we know – and want to know - the personal underdog stories of the Mark Zuckerbergs and Sergei Brylins and more local businesspeople like Geoff. Let them get to know your people, your causes, your passions so they put faces and stories to names.
4. Find Out Who The 3% Are. Monitor mentions of you online and survey your customers. Find out which of your customers are most likely to recommend you. And then ask them – politely and with reward – to do that on the major review sites for your category or on your own site. That’ll work.
5. Reward Them Non-Monetarily Find something they value highly and that doesn’t give cost you a ton. Better yet if it’s something remarkable – ie something they remark on – like an exclusive hotline to senior staff, the florist who calls to remind you on Valentine’s Day and birthdays (thanks btw!) or surprises like Free Car Wash day.
6. Involve Them Perhaps the biggest lasting impact of the Internet Marketing revolution will be the ability to bring your customers into your development process whether it’s the design of your marketing or beta-testing. What we help create, we become loyal to.
Hope this helps. If you’re interested in more facts on this, just contact me.
Bob Nunn is an award winning internet marketing consultant based in Toronto passionate about getting brands tuned up for the online age and his Grade 7 best friend /wife. He is the founder of BrandMechanics.ca and regular speaker and guest blogger. Give him a call for more marketing tips on getting found and getting fans and Brand Mechanics 11-point internet marketing inspection that lets you know what’s working. And what isn’t.