3 Ways To Make Your Customer The Star
I have said it before and I will say it again, THE most valuable form of marketing without a doubt is Word of Mouth. People in the world saying great things about what you are doing or selling is what every business needs to thrive.
We all want to feel the love. We want to be appreciated for what we do, listened to, and valued for our contribution to society. Your customers are no different. They want to feel like their purchases are appreciated. They want to feel special. They want to share in the success of a business that they support with their dollars. This is why making your customer the star is essential to building a community around your brand thus driving that sweet sweet Word of Mouth.
Here are a three ways to Make Your Customer The Star:
- Social Media Reposts
Sharing your customer’s pictures on your business’ Instagram account is a fantastic way to Make Your Customer The Star. They promote you, you promote them back, and everyone wins! Here are a few tips to do this the right way.
- Tag and credit them for the photo. If you are sharing a photo on Instagram, make sure you do two things, 1) Give credit in the comments by thanking them for the photo and including their Instagram handle (account name). 2) Tag them in the photo. If you are sharing a photo on Facebook or Twitter you should also be giving credit and tagging when possible.
- Don’t be creepy. Do not repost a photo from your client unless it has to do with your business. Reposting a random picture does not make them feel like a star, it makes them feel like you are a stalker.
- Find customers photos easily by encouraging the use of your hashtag. When creating a custom hashtag, keep it simple, and make sure that it doesn’t already exist promoting another brand. If you can incorporate your business name in the tag somehow, do that. Post the hashtag in your physical location if you have one, use it yourself when posting, and include it in your email marketing or other communications.
- Create a contest to encourage use of the hashtag. Giving something away will definitely make a customer feel like a star because everyone wants to be a winner.
- Ask Questions
By asking customers for their opinions, you are giving them an opportunity to engage and showing that you value their input. Both of these things make them the star. Just remember, when you ask for an answer, you also need to respond to suggestions. Here are a few ways to get your customer talking.
- Ask a multiple-choice question supported by an image on social media. Photo grids are great for this. Simply plug in 4 photos and ask customers to pick a favorite. These can be photos of your product, or something less specific to your business, but still aligned with your brand. For example: since my business is called Lemon Umbrella, I might put a grid of 4 lemon cocktails and ask people to pick their favorite recipe. I don’t sell cocktails for a living, but I like things lemon and who doesn’t love cocktails?
- Motivate responses by adding in a contest. One of the most successful Facebook contests I ever hosted for a business was the “tag a friend to win” style post. I was giving away just 3 free classes for my indoor cycling business. I asked our current social media following to tell me who they would most like to have riding next to them in class, by tagging their bestie in the comments. I received hundreds of entries and page likes jumped organically (unpaid). This content had very little cost to me as a business owner, but the clients were thrilled to have an opportunity to spread the love via contest.
- Ask for referrals to share on social media or your website. Asking for referrals from former or existing clients is a great way to promote your business. Sharing those referrals is also a great way to make your customer the star. I often share posts from my clients on social media, I include examples from some of my favorite clients in tutorials that I share, and I do my part to help promote everyone who makes the choice to work with me by sharing their success with my following.
- Take Action on the feedback. If you are going to ask open ended questions of your customers whether via social media, email, or in person, make sure you have a plan to act on their feedback. You do not have to take action on every suggestion, but if you put a survey out there asking people to pick their favorite flavor and then take that flavor off the menu, you are doing it wrong.
- Loyalty Programs
Huge and complicated loyalty programs are not required. Key fobs are great for grocery stores and chain businesses that can really load in rewards to motivate customers to use them. Unfortunately for most small businesses they are more work than rewards. But that honestly doesn’t matter. There are still plenty of low fi ways to encourage loyalty.
- A punch card – the old timey punch card still works in some industries. I know I carry my green juice card wherever I go. If it works, use it.
- Milestone “Clubs” – I know for fitness businesses, the 100 mark is a great time to recognize the loyalty of your clients. Creating a ritual around this milestone will make your clients super excited when it is their turn to join the club.
- Challenges – Challenges are a great way to drive client loyalty. Things like a 30 days of Yoga Challenge, or some type of activity that encourages customers to come back multiple times in a set time period. You may not have a lot of people participate the first time you host a challenge, but if the parameters are set right, a good challenge grows once the late adopters have a chance to see what they are in for.
- Random thank yous – If you are a business that thrives on one-on-one interaction, you should not need fancy tracking to know who has been a loyal supporter of your brand. A random a handwritten note or thoughtful email, goes a long long way to driving client loyalty. Don’t wait until holiday time to thank your people. Tell them now why they are meaningful to you.
Even if you don’t have a red carpet that you can roll out every time someone drops a dollar in your business, you can find ways to make your customer the star and create client loyalty. Even if you do not have a business that thrives on repeat purchases, client loyalty is about more than that. Client loyalty is about creating advocates for your brand.