In the business world, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that it’s much less costly to retain a customer than acquire a new one. We know that — but how exactly are you supposed to keep them paying customers?
Today, it’s not enough to close a sale. That’s why many companies are starting to retire the traditional sales funnel and replace it with the flywheel model, where customers are the center of attention instead of an outcome.
This V-Day, spread some love to your customer base using our five tips and tricks of the flywheel marketing trade that’ll prevent customers from leaving and instead keep them coming back for more.
Getting Started: Think About a Brand You Love and Why
If you think about it, it’s kind of odd for a person to “love” a non-physical entity — but the reality is we all do it! Think about the nation’s most popular brands and competitors: Target and Walmart, Chick-Fil-A and McDonald’s, Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi. Do you prefer one over the other — and why?
One reason might be you like their product more, you like their company’s reputation, or their customer service — or that they simply make you feel good. Whatever it may be, it all boils down to one thing: how they market.
1. Be Kind and Say ‘Thank You’
It’s so simple, it’s stupid, right? Well, you’d be surprised just how far kindness can take you in life and your brand. Maya Angelou puts it perfectly:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
There is a competitive advantage to treating people right. Just look at Chick-Fil-A. “My pleasure” is synonymous with the company’s superior customer service — and it’s a killer marketing tactic. You can also think of a time when you were treated poorly. You probably never went back to that business.
How this relates to your brand: Identify your brand touchpoints where customers directly interact with your brand. How are you making them feel? Do you lack human-to-human interaction? If you are, then it might be time to create your own version of “my pleasure” that impresses customers and gets them coming back for more.
2. Reward Customers for Their Loyalty
There’s a reason why leading brands like Starbucks and Amazon have a rewards program: they engage and retain customers. Not only do loyalty programs incentivize doing business with a company (think free two-day delivery for Prime members), they also carry an air of exclusivity. You want to be the one scanning your app at the Starbucks drive-thru.
3. People Love Free Stuff*
Let’s explain our disclaimer (*). A fine line exists between giving people “stuff” and giving people things they’ll actually find useful. Stuff will probably be thrown in the trash, whereas if you offer something useful (i.e. a free sample of the product they’re considering), then they’re one step closer to buying your product or doing business with you again.
Things like koozies, flash drives, and all of that brand “merch” are all great, but the investment is a little wasteful if you don’t think about what will actually delight your customer vs. simply providing a touchpoint for them to remember your company by.
4. Consumers Love Transparency
Business has changed, and customers are demanding greater transparency about business practices. People will even go as far as refusing to do business with brands whose values aren’t aligned with theirs, such as positions on climate change or sustainability.
While we aren’t saying you should take a stance on climate change (unless that’s your jam), we are saying that consumers want to buy from brands they trust to do the right thing. And a big part of trust is disclosing relevant business practices and showcasing your commitment to certain values that your customers find important.
Patagonia is a brand that’s killing the transparency game. Their customer base not only cares about where their clothes come from and how ethically they are made, but they also are concerned with the environmental impact their jacket or sweater has. Patagonia has pages of information on their practices and how they are actively making business and the planet a better place.
5. Make It as Easy as Possible to Do Business with You
Few things are more frustrating than having decided you want to buy something and then not being able to get it. This applies to online transactions, but it also covers more recent challenges, such as have multiple options for getting serviced, whether that’s curbside delivery, a virtual doctor’s visit or dealing with limited capacity at a restaurant.
Summed up in a few words: have excellent customer support. You want customers to act on their own accord, but you also need to be there in case things go wrong and they need help. This also relates to the “feeling” aspect of brand love.
Be a help — not a hindrance.
Don’t Forget We’re All Just Humans
Sometimes, it can be difficult to remember that a number on a spreadsheet is an actual human being. Humans want to be loved, and how you treat customers and show them love directly correlates to your balance sheets.
Sure, you are a business at the end of the day — but we’re all in the business of humans. So, this Valentine’s Day, take a moment to think about how your business can become more human. We could all use a little more kindness these days — and your customers just might thank you for it. ❤️