Have you ever wondered how small burger joints or mom-and-pop stores still exist in a market run by fast food franchises and grocery store chains? While they may not bring in tens of thousands of people every month, what they do have is a loyal customer base that gladly chooses their business over all others. What’s more, the people who leave these small businesses with a smile on their face tend to spread the word to others.
Building reliable brand advocates has been a practice of businesses small and large for decades. In fact, this strategic tool is often used by businesses that don’t even know they’re doing it! By simply treating your customers with respect and dignity, your company will make an impression that will result in continued business.
You’ve likely heard the maxim that if you send one customer out the door happy, they will tell two other people, who will tell two other people, and so on. This is the benefit of word of mouth advertising. If a client feels valued, they’ll go into the world with only good things to say about your brand. On the same token, if they feel cheated or belittled, they’ll tell the world about that as well.
But how can you utilize this word of mouth aspect to build brand advocates with your business? It all depends on how you reach out to customers. In fact, it could be just about anything that turns a regular customer into an unofficial spokesperson for your brand.
Should we give away free things? Use a celebrity to endorse our product? Is it good enough to just treat people well? All of these are prime examples on how to create a buzz within your consumer base. Where one solution might fit a certain scenario, the best tactic could be entirely different for another.
Think of brands like Pepsi or Nike. How do they retain such a prominent status in their respective industries? Oftentimes, they use celebrity spokespeople to endorse their brands. What about fast food chains like McDonalds? They have frequent specials and deals for their customers to take advantage of.
If you think these tactics are reserved for corporate giants, think again! You can easily use the same strategies for your organization on a smaller scale. Try punch cards or drawings for free items or services to reward repeat customers. Look around your community—are there local celebrities or well-known faces who might publically support your brand? You might even throw your customers a party; celebrating a business “anniversary” or event is a great way to remind customers that you’re still around and encourage sales through specials and door prizes.
Above all, each time you treat a customer with fairness and respect, the smile they walk out the door with will likely promote your business to others!
Building reliable brand advocates has been a practice of businesses small and large for decades.