Most teams and businesses find revenue building to be the ultimate uphill climb. They almost always struggle as a pack on the hill, side-by-side, trying to power forward against what seems to be a Tour de France-like incline and headwind.
While the uphill climb to generate leads and acquire new customers certainly makes the list of priorities, there may be another path to the top of the hill….possibly, a path with a lot less resistance.
The customers you already have.
Yes, you’ve almost certainly heard it before, but give me an opportunity to make this alternate path even more compelling for you and your team.
If done correctly, developing strategies to better serve your current customer not only builds attachment to your brand, but, it also builds a magnet for your brand. I love the imagery of a customer as a magnet for you and your brand – to go beyond loyalty to advocacy. As you transform your customer with your product or service, you magnetize them to attract more of your ideal audience to your brand or movement.
Here are 5 different strategies to ponder:
Grow and Serve Employees First
There is a two-fold employee development strategy that will enhance your ability to keep and magnetize customers. First, you must know your target customers deeply enough to learn what kind of employee talent you need in key roles to provide a consistent level of service you desire. Second, you need to serve your employees first. If you do not treat your employee family as if they are your customer, they will never know how to treat their customer. They key word is ‘how’.
Customers transformed by your service or product are actively seeking to be magnetized, meaning they want multiple reasons to advocate for you. One of those reasons is not that your employees provide service, but rather the manner in which your employees actually served them.
Do you have a development plan for each employee in your business that will challenge them to grow professionally and personally? Are your leaders held accountable for developing more leaders, and/ or providing the right coaching approach to grow your employees? If you’re successful in growing your employees, they will be successful in growing your customers.
Customers who have been magnetized to your quest feel as if your services and products were made just for them. Employees being invested-in and developed will be driven to create value for your customers. As your organization builds value, you build customers who become loyal and eventually, magnetized. So, how do you build value?
This topic reverts back to an earlier comment about how well you really know your customer. It’s vital that you acquire a microscopic-lens understanding of your customers’ expressed and unexpressed needs relative to your products or services. This kind of exercise will help you prioritize how you enhance and develop your portfolio to cater to your target audience. The steady stream of newness in your business keeps customers coming back to be transformed again, not to mention being another special difference in you that they share in droves.
An upcoming article will address both internal and externally-driven innovation, as well as how to find whitespace opportunity for your business. Stay tuned.
Earn It with Experience
This one is fairly straight forward. In an age where the likes of Starbucks, Zappos, Amazon, and the Apple Store continue to amaze and impress with exceptional customer experiences, the bar rises on the rest of us. You need to earn your customers’ loyalty and advocacy by delivering a memorable experience. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to better understand the journey to purchase for your particular customer.
Where do they start? Where do they get stuck? What requirements must be met before they commit or purchase? If you’ve never mapped your customers’ journey to purchase, now is the time. Innovation in experience should be one of your top 5 growth initiatives. According to American Express, 75% of Americans are very likely to speak positively about a company after a good customer service experience in contrast with 59% who are very likely to speak negatively about a company after poor service.
Provide Insight, Inspiration, and Advice
If content marketing is not on your agenda for 2015, it needs to be. Whether you serve businesses or consumers, building a digital relationship with your end customer is a powerful driver of loyalty and advocacy. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 60% of business-to-business marketing companies plan to increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months.
So what kind of content should you begin to produce? It depends on your brand promise. How do you seek to transform customers through your products or services? If you’re in the business of home furnishings, you’re helping to enhance your customers’ homes and subsequently, their lives. You could provide on-going inspiration or advice on important home decor trends, techniques and products. As you become a valued and trusted expert in your specific domain, you foster attachment to your own brand and business.
Think in terms of how you might build an extended, always-on, connectedness with your customers so that you become an indispensable resource – whether it be through your physical location (s) or your digital location. A presence across multiple medias makes it easier to access and ultimately, share your brand.
Move Them to Advocate for You
Moving customers from loyalty to advocacy is perhaps the holy grail of any business, but happens to be one of the largest gaps that exists in organizations of all sizes. While marketing and sales departments are focused on creating repeat purchasers, very few have really mastered moving customers to a stage where they actively share your brand with others just like them. Obviously, one popular way to do this is through social media vehicles where its easy to incent your customers to share your brand with their friends.
A big consideration in your advocacy strategy should include community building, whether through your website, events, advisory initiatives, or other platforms to bring like-minded and like-hearted customers together.
It’s through a community strategy that customers can hone, refine and share their stories both electronically and in-person. A perfect example of this is the EggFest program that The Big Green Egg grill developed to bring fanatics for it’s cooking experience together in local markets. Consumers get to learn more about cooking with their Green Egg from both the brand and other users, not to mention being infused with the brand story (reason why they purchased in the first place) so they can return home to share.
It’s called being magnetized.
Growth-centered organizations build people, customers and value.
Getting one or several of these strategies on your radar now and in the future could ultimately be the path for your business to build an endless flow of new customers.
Customers waiting to be transformed….
….into magnets for your brand.
If any of the above strategies happen to resonate with you and you would like to discuss how you can bring them to life in your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us here. If you’re interested in a no-cost, no-obligation strategy audit call, jump into our quick questionnaire and we would be more than happy to set a time to talk.
If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our free strategy thoughtbook, with over 30 pages of insight and advice on how to take your business to the next level.