Content builds long-term relationships
Let’s talk loyalty. By that, I don’t mean loyalty to your friend or partner. I mean brand loyalty, the loyalty your customer has towards your organisation. Retention marketing often takes a backseat to acquisition efforts but we all know the value of a long-term customer far exceeds the value of a new one.
When we think about loyalty in a business sense, it’s often that we think of customer loyalty cards. We know, from looking at the big brands, that by having loyalty / discount cards and members’ clubs for our customers we can generate repeat custom. However, today’s customer is super savvy; how many of us carry around multiple cards in hope of getting the most discounts? I know I do! I own a loyalty card for Superdrug and another for Boots – in fact I frequently compare the two retailers on prices of products to ensure I’m getting the best price for my purchase. So, despite all my ‘loyalty’ cards, I am in fact (like most shoppers) loyal to no one.
This is why it’s time to have a rethink, to develop a new version of loyalty. Let’s look at the big brands for some inspiration. Take the National Trust for example; membership for the National Trust has doubled from 2 million to over 4 million. This is down to a marketing refocus; the trust now focuses on producing relevant content. Starting with arranging and segmenting their audiences, they now deliver target relevant content to the right people, therefore building a long-term relationship with their customers that is based on shared interests and experiences, rather than simple transactions and discounts.
Good content is the way to go. Through magazines, online video and social interactions you can build genuine relationships with your audience, which stands the test of time. Using customer data you can really segment your audience to make sure your marketing is relevant. Creating customer interactions is key. RSPB creates a regular magazine, receive 1,000 emails each issue! How do they do it? Well, their content sparks ideas! By tapping into the passions and interests of their audience, it has, in turn, become interested in their publication, which in turn drives engagement.
A loyal customer will find some value from your brand, so delivering useful appropriate content that can be similarly helpful to the audience is the way to go. Today’s customers are bombarded with loud, meaningless and persistent marketing communications all the time. It’s not a very effective way of cutting through the noise and can very easily be identified as being ‘disingenuous’ and can lead to frustration. That’s not the kind of emotion you want to evoke. Fostering customer loyalty is all about eliciting the right kind of emotional response from your customers. A strong emotional connection with a brand is a stronger driver of loyalty than factors like ‘ease’ and ‘effectiveness.’ This is really where print comes into its own; a printed magazine, in particular, combines so many of those useful elements into an experience that is far more tangible and a whole lot more meaningful. Every industry is unique, and the most effective route for your organisation will depend on a variety of factors, including your target audience, time of year and the nature of your service. If you’d like help in determining what would work best for your business, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.