Contributed by Steffen Schebesta, CEO of Sendinblue and a member of EO Toronto.
With Valentine’s Day upon us, now is the perfect time to make consumers fall in love with your brand. Sounds easy, right? Actually it’s much more complicated than sending your customers a birthday card in the mail.
According to a recent study, 31 percent of participants love between three and five brands, while 18 percent love between one and two. So, as a small business, how do you become one of the top brands consumers fall in love with?
When I think back to brands I’ve fallen in love with, they typically have a few things in common: trust, personalization and convenience.
- Trust is paramount to making a consumer fall in love with your business. If a consumer can’t count on your small business to deliver excellent customer service, the trust is lost.
- Personalization, I would argue, is the most important piece of the puzzle. Consumers want to feel like a brand knows and understands them and their needs.
- Convenience is also a major deciding factor for consumers if they choose to follow and even perhaps fall in love with a brand. As a small business owner, ask yourself the following questions: “What am I doing to make my customers’ lives easier?” “Am I putting this message at the center of my communications with customers?” “Why or why not?”
Below are action steps that you can take to build a lasting and loving relationship with your customers this year.
Trust is key in any relationship, especially when it comes to relationships between brands and consumers.
Hand-in-hand with trust is transparency. To build a long and fruitful relationship with consumers, be transparent in every part of your business. With customer expectations, be proactive when addressing customer complaints, questions and even negative feedback. This will give you time to resolve hindrances without compromising the customer journey.
Storytelling is a sure-fire way to get into the hearts and minds of consumers. Instead of using buzzwords to describe your products or services, dig deeper and tell a larger story. For example, if you’re selling specialty teas, don’t focus on the price or general health benefits. Instead, focus on how incredible the tea will make your customers feel on Saturday afternoon.
To tell the right story, you must first know your audience or your target market. Start by understanding what channels (i.e., social media, email) your audience spends the most time on and adjust your communications to fit their habits and needs. For instance, if you’re targeting a younger demographic, social media and SMS might be the proper channels for your small business. Remember, consumers will get turned off if you’re not reaching them on the right channels. To avoid any pitfalls, be strategic and carefully consider how and when you engage with your audience online.
Another part of personalization is engaging with consumers in a meaningful way. Drop the buzzwords and connect with your audience 1:1. One way to accomplish this is to send a simple thank you or personal note to establish a connection, which will have a lasting and positive impact on your brand.
Deliver a Convenient Experience
As a small business, it’s critical to make your customers’ lives more convenient. So, how do you accomplish that? Start with understanding how your product or service helps customers alleviate specific challenges. From there, use that messaging to inform how you communicate with customers online. Case in point, a local restaurant may highlight how specific takeout options make it easier for working parents to relax and unwind after a long day filled with meetings.
Convenience also means making it easier for your customers to engage with you. As a small business owner, is your website easy to navigate? Is it mobile-friendly? Can customers engage with a chatbot to answer questions at any time of the day? If you answered yes to these questions, you’re on the right track.
As a small business owner, remember that Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time of the year you can make consumers fall in love with your business. Use every day as an opportunity to get closer with your customers and establish an unbreakable bond.