The holy grail of marketing and retail is creating enough customer loyalty so that they will keep up on your news and new products instead of actively pursuing them. Notice the “holy grail” allegory, because if Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade and Monty Python’s and The Holy Grail have taught us anything, it’s that finding that goblet is harder that a frozen rock. I didn’t say that all my allegories were effective. These are a few ways to grasp the holy grail of customer engagement.
1. The VIP
If you are unfamiliar with often used acronyms, VIP stands for Very Important Person and treating your loyal customers in a preferential way that will help them stay engaged with the newest deals and offerings of your company. It can be as simple as offering loyal members exclusive content (like the Xbox Live’s Tiers which offers loyal subscribers free games and exclusive content) or even have a rewards system with points or purchase trackings that result in free merchandise. In Xbox’s case, a whole ecosystem has developed around the monthly free games they give to their highest end subscribers with twitter accounts, Facebook pages and blogs dedicated to which games are being given per month.
2. Social Media
The most immediate way to engage with customers is through social media and the added benefit is that customers will actually help you, if you can make it worth their while (while rubbing thumb and index finger together). You can solicit the help of your customers by offering discounts or free swag (stuff, in young-people talk) for shares or mentions on major social media outlets.
3. Hey You!
Another great way to engage customers is by asking them to review your products like Amazon and Ebay or even contribute to the content like Thinkgeek.com does with its customer action shots which are photos customers send to the company showing them using the product they bought. New Belgium Brewery took it one step further by asking customers to create fun and innovative images for their new Fat Tire beer on Reddit and the results were pretty amusing.
4. Create Emotion
Often selling a product is much less about the physical object but the idea behind the object. This can encompass an ideology like TOMS which gives a pair of shoes to a person of a developing country for every pair of shoes that are bought in a developed country. The way the shoes are designed make them instantly recognizable which in turn shows that the person wearing them is a humanitarian and globally aware individual. Certain brands have even had the luxury of being associated with certain subcultures such as Doc Martin’s with Punk Music, Lacoste with extremely clean white people, Harley Davidson with extremely dirty white people and Whole Foods with insufferably stuck up people that like clean living and anything kombucha, kale or chia (yes, the one and the same as the chia used for chia pets).
Do you know of any other ways to engage customers? Let us know in the comments section below (and yes by asking you to do so I realize that I’m engaging you- funny how that works, huh).