Brand Evangelists or fans help businesses stay open!
Simply starting or owning a business does not ensure success. Your success is very dependent upon what your past, current and potential customers think about you. Customers are the heart and the soul of business; without your customers, you don’t have a business. Your job as a business owner is to create a business that is overflowing with loyal and devoted customers. When your business has a dedicated following, it makes being a business owner on of the best feeling in the world. There is nothing like building a community of like-minded individuals.
So, what can you do to build a following and grow a business that customers love enough to evangelize about your products and/or services? Here are a few ideas to make your customers love your small business.
- Make sure that you have a clear Unique Selling Point/Position (USP). Do not fool yourself into believing that you are the only business that is doing what you are doing, selling what you are selling, making what you are making or providing your specific service. By simply Googling a few key phrases that relate to your business, you are likely to find that there are quite a few businesses that offer similar products or services. These businesses are your competitors. The key to convincing potential customers that you are the business that can meet their needs is having a well understood Unique Selling Point/Position. Your USP is like a foundational brick in which other elements like marketing, product/services, and prices are built upon.
- The process of developing a good USP starts with identifying what you do best and the benefit of that strength.
- Next, consider how your strengths can meet the needs of your customers. For instance, if you have a particular strength, product or service that is similar to your competitor then it is not unique. Furthermore, if you offer something that no one wants then your offering is not needed. Your offering does not have to be weird, crazy or elaborate. It can be simple and even obvious…the key is that your offer is different from your competitors.
- If you are having trouble identifying your USP, one great way to come up with some ideas by becoming your competitors’ customers. After you have sampled the products/services of your competitors, analyze what is good about their products/services/customer service. Now examine the results by comparing your company to that of your competitors and remember to remain unbiased. Identify how you can promote your business by offering something that your competitor does not currently provide. Stand out from your competitors by making their flaws or missed opportunities as a part of your Unique Selling Point/Position.
- Create customer evangelist. An USP is a great way to get customers to check you out, but creating customer evangelist is an essential part of your company’s sustainability plan. Whether your business is online, offline or a combination of the two creating excited customer evangelists that tell others about your business is very important to your success. Creating good word of mouth often results in a steady following of your customers and clients which will make your marketing a much easier and more effective. You may even get to the point that a good portion of your business comes primarily from word of mouth recommendations.
- ALWAYS over deliver. A little more goes a long way. One of the best ways to build stellar word-of-mouth is to over deliver. Whether you provide goods or a service, make sure you do more than everyone else in the field is doing. It is this small amount of extra effort that will help your business stand out from the competition and help you build a positive reputation and following – a win/win situation for all involved.
Give away freebies because everyone enjoys a good freebie. When you provide your customers with regular value that costs them nothing, not even their email address, they really start to feel appreciated. They also start to truly appreciate you too. Freebies can come in the form of promotional offers like a BOGO (buy one get one). On your website, you can also share free downloads and information. It’s more than offering free content but also offer free downloads too. Help your customer by providing extra value such as reports, videos, checklists, comparison charts, workbooks, and lists for free. I promise you, your customers will love you and will run tell the world about your business!
- Provide superior customer service. Customer service is king, so you should always provide your customers with a consistently exceptional customer service experience. Create customer service management systems that support a great experience and that you can follow similar procedures. Whether you personally provide the service or leave that task to your employees, it is important to pay a lot of attention to this area. Remember, most customers, even when very upset at a situation, will come around if they are treated politely and fairly.
Always try to diffuse any potential situation by letting the customer know you understand their concerns and will work with them to resolve it. Each time you interact with a customer – whether it is on a social networking site, via telephone or email or face to face – make sure they know how much you appreciate them.
- Provide great customer service by utilizing your website and email. It is essential that awesome customer service begins right from the start, that includes your virtual storefront. Potential and current customers should experience the same friendly, polite, and welcoming communication that they would feel when they are face-to-face with you. Email autoresponders can ensure each that customer emails are acknowledged in a timely manner. Also, you should include an FAQ page can help ensure customers can easily find answers to their questions. And a friendly, polite, and welcoming communication can reinforce your customer service vision.
- Do not be afraid to ask for feedback. In order to improve your business, you need to not be afraid to speak up and ask for feedback on your service and/or products. Your business can only grow from receiving feedback – whether good or bad. It is the feedback from customers that will help you to fix negative situations and build upon the positive ones. You can use this feedback to improve and expand your business. Also, it will let your customers know that you appreciate them taking the time to provide it.
- Ask for recommendations. Many of your customers, even the happy ones, may not be thinking of passing your information on to friends or family. If you create an opportunity to express their appreciation and/or loyalty to your business, most of your customers would be happy to do so. Whenever people share your business with others let them know that you appreciate being recommended to others and make it easy for them to do so. Provide them with business cards, brochures, and flyers, emails, social media posts, etc. so that they can easily share your business with others. Lastly, when possible you should give people an incentive for passing on your details. It could be a future discount for every friend they recommend or a bonus product. It’s always nice to give back and it’s a great way to secure a loyal customer.
The rules for creating evangelists for your company requires you to make sure everything that you do is done to the best of your ability. Always put forth quality information, products, and services because of quality matters. It not only helps you earn customer love; it also helps build credibility and authority in your industry. People will be more than happy to share the good news about you and your business. As a result, you will receive referrals and recommendations. It’s definitely one of the best ways to build a business.
Remember, treat your customers like you want to be treated and you will be well on your way to building a loyal and loving customer list. They will buy from you more often, they will refer you to others and they are the best people to work with. Loving customers make being a business owner worthwhile.