Brand Loyalty: Business is Personal

Loyalty is a beautiful thing.  In business, when we connect with our customers and go the extra mile we’re poised to create a customer for life.  This week we’re taking a closer look at the little things we can do as small business owners to set ourselves up for success in growing a strong, happy customer base, and ultimately, our bottom line.  At ProLedge, we get excited when we see our clients’ businesses grow.

To help ensure customers will remember your company fondly, we’ve outlined six steps to build brand loyalty.

1. Be a good storyteller – You have the opportunity to creatively communicate the personality, values and experience of your brand.  Your brand is not the list of products or services you provide.  Your brand story should be what sets you apart from your competitors.  Your brand is the people who work for you, who are shaking hands and solving problems with a smile.  Your brand is the philanthropic strides you make in your community.  You know what your brand is… now get out there and tell your story.

2. Make an emotional connection – If you’re a good storyteller you’ve already wooed customers into giving you a shot.  Every touch point, both online and in person from that initial engagement is critical.  Social interaction, customer service, sales and problem solving should be handled with care and authenticity.  Treat your customers the way you want to be treated.

3. Listen and anticipate – Never start selling to your customers until you’ve heard in their own words what their wants and needs are.  Sometimes customers think they want something they don’t necessarily need.  Anticipate their end goal and look for ways to incentivize them to continue doing business with you (i.e. loyalty programs, bulk discounts, long-term contract incentives).

4. Make good on your promises – Every step of the way customers should be happy with their experience.  The easiest way to make that happen? Under promise and over deliver.  If you say you’re going to do something, you do it.  Period.  If that’s impossible, then know their hot buttons and offer a solution, never a problem.

5. Be consistent – Consistency offers security to your customers.  Consistently delivering the same level of service and commitment to your clients re-affirms their trust in your brand and helps to clearly draw a distinction between you and your competitors.

6. Make it personal – The digital age and the explosion of social channels has made marketing conversational.  You’re able to connect with customers in a myriad of ways, so take advantage.  You can profile, segment and analyze your customer base and their past buying patterns and create relevant messaging and engage in two-way interactions with individual customers – don’t treat them like a bunch of statistics.  Take the time and focus on building customer relationships.

To establish brand loyalty you must live by your company’s core principles and go above and beyond customer expectations.  Determine your company’s inside advantage, or point of difference.  Find something uncommon about your products, services or offerings, and find a way to become well-known to your core customer base by offering a differentiation.

Your existing customers are the most valuable to your business; create an emotional connection and reward them for their loyalty.

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