Top Tips: The holy grail

Everyone in business wants to get closer to their customers – to understand what makes them buy, what they love about your product and what they value. The holy grail is to turn those fleeting customers into long-term, loyal ambassadors for your brand.

1 Connection is not one-night stand
Every relationship demands more than simple digital impulse. When you reach out and establish contact you raise customer expectations that you ‘want relationship’. You can’t just cruise into view, then disappear – you have to keep connecting with them over time to get real value. So think about longer-range planning – what do you want that relationship to look like in year’s time? How can you build depth to make it last the distance?

2 Think laterally
Have you got the most powerful connectors covered? Think beyond the obvious. It might be that someone who is key influencer can reach your customers in way normal media can’t. Recognise that key influencers, through word of mouth, can prove huge advocates for your business, helping tell your story. Is there someone out there that your target group identifies with?

3 Think multi-channel connectivity
Today’s consumer doesn’t operate in one medium alone, so create opportunities to connect across all channels. Map out how your customer, typically, spends their day. Check out their communication touch points, then you’ll have good base from which to work out how mobile, office, home, web and social media can consistently reach them in the best way at the most relevant time.

4 Be topical
You’re more likely to get listened to if the conversation is fresh and in tune with popular discussion/current events. Look at blogs, feedback, general news and social media commentary to identify topics of interest and think hard about how you can relevantly link your message to those.

5 Don’t over complicate
Think really hard about what you’ve got to say and then simplify, simplify, simplify. Don’t clutter the conversation with two or three different offerings or pieces of information – it’s like trying to have several different conversations with the same person; you can lose the connection altogether and the main message gets lost in all the noise.

6 See beyond the words
So much digital communication is just about the message – how something looks visually is way down the list (as far as the company is concerned). Yet research tells us that people respond far more to the look of something than to what’s actually being said. Invest in good creative ideas to carry your message.

7 One person’s trash is another’s treasure
Not all customers value things equally so don’t treat them all the same. It’s all about creating one-to-one conversations. Create different segments of those who are like-minded. Make sure your offer then fits exactly to that segment. Technology now enables individualised conversations – use it wisely.

8 Size isn’t everything
There are no bragging rights just because you’ve got the biggest database. Simply because people are on your list doesn’t make them good customers. You need to understand who’s of real value. Not just the immediate high value prospects of today, but tomorrow’s emerging prospects who are already connected to your brand. Prioritise where you spend your money by understanding who you’re talking to and why. M

Sonya Crosby is general manager of discovery at Affinity ID.

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