Wham, Bam, Thank You Fan Is Not A Good Strategy

A date with a view

You wouldn’t sleep with someone, and then never call them again… Would you?

Well, there’s a pretty good chance that your company is doing just that. And it’s spending a LOT of money seducing those dates in the first place.

This is not about Social Media. It’s not about Inbound or Content Marketing. Those are great ways to show your company’s character, it’s value systems, and why it’s worthy of anyone’s interest or investment. All great stuff to get that romance started, so to speak.

But all too often, once the customer buys your product or service the relationship abruptly ends. You got what you wanted, and not unlike some polyester-shirt Lothario trolling late-night desperation lounges, after someone “seals the deal” they are just returned to the masses without so much as a kiss on the cheek.

What I’m referring to is the conversations, the support, and the benefits that are exclusively for your customers. If you want a marketing strategy with a higher ROI – to the tune of 6 to 7 times higher – you need to start a loyalty marketing initiative. According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of your future sales will come from 20% of your existing customers. Eighty percent. Seems a good idea to keep them extremely satisfied.

‘It’s about 50% easier’, according to research in the book Marketing Metrics, ‘to sell to existing customers than it is to sell to brand new prospects.’
Even easier when the customer loves you from all the attention they’ve received.

Loyalty marketing, also known as relationship marketing, is not just for point-collecting programs or frequent flier airline mileage. It’s for every size business, and every type – from online to brick-and-mortar, digital to physical goods. It’s where you get to say to your customer, “Hey, we think you’re great because you had many choices – and you chose to do business with us. We’re going to make sure you always feel you made the right choice!”

The big question is, what does this relationship consist of? If it’s not some kind of point system, or rewards program – what is it? In this age of social media, content and inbound marketing, it’s pretty close to what you are already doing – just a little more focused and targeted.

Try to think of a customer as a member of your exclusive club. What’s waiting for them on the other side of that door? Is it special, white glove treatment, or are they just shuttled back out onto the street with all of the passersby?

You need to differentiate what your customer knows, and has experienced, that separates them from everyone else. That answer is usually found in the benefit or service your product provides. Once you understand what the conversation should be about, the next step is to deliver it in a way that maintains the exclusivity. This might be a private forum, Facebook group or even better, a live-connected e-product. Email is still nice once in a while, but it requires a delicate touch, nowadays.

I recently advised a local gym to consider a relationship marketing e-product. I had just joined (after many, many years away from the gym scene) and was personally rather intimidated by the equipment and changes to fitness training. I didn’t even know how to start the treadmills or cycles. I was also interested in firming up, losing weight, but not adding more muscle necessarily. I just wanted to be a leaner, meaner version of what I already had going on.

I introduced myself to the owner of the gym, and we had a conversation about marketing. They were doing all the usual stuff – struggling with a Facebook page, trying to add videos that dropped off the radar after a day and were viewed by about 20 people total.

My suggestion to him was creating a digital member’s guide; free to every paying member of the club. Inside there would be short video tutorials on how to adjust and operate each piece of equipment – and what specific muscles each piece targeted. Like an orientation and user’s guide combined.

Plus, the owner was a nutritional fitness counselor, so why not have some basic dietary advice for those who want to lose weight, and those who want to bulk up? Also, since I am paying my membership every month whether I show up or not, how about a section of videos that offer a hotel room workout for road warriors that are away from home for stretches at a time?

Not only would this provide outstanding value for the members, but it would provide a vehicle for exclusive offers not available to the general public – discounts on nutritional supplements, free towel rental vouchers, even special deals and coupons for local businesses catering to the same demographic (in this case, there was a skate/surf shop, an athletic shoe store and two upscale bicycle shops within walking distance from the gym).

Everyday I read about the energy, effort and expense everyone is putting into their content marketing strategies, but rarely do I hear about anyone surrendering a nickel on their existing clientele.

Getting new leads for your business is important, to be sure, but it is also extremely expensive. Consider that in many cases, such as physical products and e-products on platforms such as Kindle or iBooksretail sales don’t even generate a lead at all. No email, no name, no address… nothing.

One way to solve that lead generation problem is relationship marketing. Try offering an exclusive, high value digital program to help them get the most out of your product, and when they claim it you will no longer have anonymous customers. You’ll have relationships.

And that’s what it’s all about. Relationships. Just like the ones you are trying to create with strangers on your social media channels.

Because although your fans and followers may dance all night, drink your cocktails and run up your bar tab, your customers are the ones cooking you breakfast in the morning. Tweet that!

Photo Credit: TheeErin via Compfight cc