Companies are often on the hunt for more “likes” for their Facebook pages, hoping to get more brand advocates and social media fans. However only 42% of US Facebook users think marketers should interpret a “like” in that way.
This data comes from a June 2011 study from ExactTarget, “Subscribers, Fans and Followers: The Meaning of Like,” which found that 25% of US Facebook users disagree that marketers should interpret “like” to mean they are a fan or advocate of the company.
Facebook users themselves have some preconceived notions about what to expect when they “like” a company on the site, and among those who do not become brand fans, many are negative. More than half of users expect to be bombarded with messages or ads (54%), while 45% do not want to give companies access to profile information and 31% do not want to push content from a company into friends’ newsfeeds. These possibilities have prevented users from making brand connections on the social networking giant.
On the flip side, many US Facebook users also have certain expectations of perks they should get after following a company’s Facebook page.
The ExactTarget study found that 58% of US Facebook users expect to gain access to exclusive content, events or sales after “liking” a company, while 58% also expect to receive discounts or promotions. Additionally 47% expect to see updates about the company, person or organization they “liked” in their newsfeed, which bodes well for brands as they work to have their content always show up for their followers.
Additionally, younger consumers, ExactTarget found, have fewer expectations and generally “like” brands as a form of expression, not to get certain perks. Meanwhile, older consumers want something of value for “liking” a brand. By listening to what their target fanbase wants out of the Facebook relationship, marketers can get more interaction on their page and encourage more people to “like” rather than avoid brands on Facebook.
When you have evangelists for your product or service, you have the best possible kind of customer. Your evangelists are passionate, loyal, and thrilled to recommend you. They are communicators — when it matters. They are your public defenders when times are difficult. Evangelists are also forgiving. They assume your mistakes are honest. They believe you have their best interests at heart. Best of all, evangelists are hyper-repeat customers.
If you agree with the above then you’ll probably agree with the following. No matter what business you are in – large or small, product or service, public or private – you should be doing everything humanly possible to develop these kinds of customers.
With a critical mass of evangelists, you can succeed in unimaginable ways. Companies like Apple andAmazon are proof of this. Netflix also enjoys evangelists (Remember how evangelists are forgiving? If they weren’t, Netflix would be out of business). So, if you want to develop the kind of evangelists that stick by your side through thick and thin, here are three critical steps.
First, you must develop deep insights about your buyers. This is the single most important activity you can undertake to create powerful marketing. Start by conducting qualitative interviews with your customers, prospective customers, and even your competitions’ customers. You want to know what they think, what they want, and how they use your product or service.
This activity is so critical because your most effective messaging comes from your market. If you do this right, your will gather language that you know resonates strongly with your customers because it comes from your customers.
Sure, Steve Jobs famously said it’s not the customers’ job to know what they want. He could say that because he had an unparalleled instinct about what customers want. Everybody else — us included — needs to be talking to customers, asking them strategic questions to uncover the most effective messaging.
Amazon enjoys uncommon access to customers’ feedback via its consumer reviews. And Netflix certainly has received its share of customer feedback over the last year. To the company’s credit, it has actually listened when it abandoned its terrible idea of spinning off Qwikster. However, the company could have avoided every one of its mistakes over the past year by simply talking to its customers. That Netflix was surprised by the consumer outcry that followed its actions is nothing short of negligence. There is no excuse for not knowing exactly how customers will react to something you are about to do. To find out, all you have to do is ask.
Emotional Marketing Language
Once you have customer insights, you use them to develop simple, emotional, lifestyle-oriented marketing language. No matter what you do, you are in the life-improvement business. If your work is in the business-to-business space, your language must focus on how you improve the condition of your clients. Not technical specifications. Not features. Just simple, salient statements.
For example, you do not make Airplay wireless speakers, rather, you bring beautiful music into people’s homes and hearts without wires.
You are not a social media marketer. You make your clients’ dreams come true by dramatically increasing their sales.
You are not in the cloud business. You protect the precious, priceless memories of people’s lives.
This may sound like basic marketing 101, but take a look around. Is any technology company besides Apple and Amazon talking like this? Even public relations agencies and social media outlets, which are in the business of helping clients connect with customers in effective ways, tend to tout their process and technique.
Here’s the bottom line: most customers don’t care about the steps you take to improve their life. All they want know is how you’ll improve it. So, tell them!
Finally, you must communicate this effective messaging on the proper platforms. Here is a list of good ones and forgotten ones:
- 1. A long list of your customers. Names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses.
- 2. A long list of your competitions’ customers. If you have good lists you can communicate directly with that market.
- 3. Powerful relationships with earned media resources: bloggers, writers, editors, producers, etc.
- 4. Social media.
- 5. Your product package. It’s generally an overlooked opportunity to communicate to potential customers how you can improve their lives.
- 6. Your product manual is generally useless. Product manuals should be filled with success stories: how various features and uses of your product or service has improved the lives of real people.
There are many more, but the above list is a good place to start. Once you develop evangelists, you must work hard to simply maintain them. In fact, you must continue to innovate your products and your marketing just to maintain your position of success. Need proof? Research in Motion used to have evangelists. So did Best Buy.
If you stop aggressively doing the things that made you successful, the world will pass you by in three seconds. It’s not difficult to create evangelists — you simply have to do the work that most businesses do not do: gather qualitative insights from your market; use simple, emotional language; and communicate it from the right platforms. Do that, and your competition will be an easy crowd to stand out among.
A happy customer is a loyal customer. You probably already know that, but did you know that 89% of consumers who had a negative experience with a company switched to a competitor? What that means is you can’t afford to make any mistakes when you’re dealing with customers online.
Look at this section from a new Monetate infographic:
These numbers show that the online customer experience is supremely important when it comes to shopper loyalty and word of mouth. Customers are now looking for the same kind of service they expect from an offline store and I believe that’s a new thing.
During the dawn of the online shopping era, we didn’t expect top notch service. Online was a novelty. It allowed us to shop at 3 am while wearing our pajamas and for that we gave up the niceties like personalized service and a selection of quality merchandise. Think about it. Remember when an online store was nothing more than a grid with a tiny picture, a short description and a buy button? You know, back when Amazon was just a bookstore and the orders were getting filled by a couple of people working in Jeff Bezos’ garage.
At that time, our expectations were low but not anymore. Now, customers expect timely answers to questions, competitive pricing, fast shipping, and all the information they need to make a decision in one place. That’s the minimum. If you want to impress a customer, you have to go beyond that. You need to make the shopping process more personal.
How do you do that? Start by making sure everything works as it should. Then look at loyalty bonuses for repeat shoppers or for customer referrals. Find ways to personalize email messages. Talk to your customers and listen to what they have to say. Could be that your sales would climb 10% if you carried red widgets instead of green widgets and all you had to do was ask.
Customers shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything, except a little exercise, when they choose to shop online instead of offline. Don’t make the decision hard for them. Make the online experience so simple and enjoyable that they don’t even think about getting in the car. Online isn’t the red-headed stepchild anymore. Online should be leading the way.
Content marketing is on the rise and relevant and timely content needs to be an integral part of your marketing strategy. 90% of marketers are already doing this but not all have realised the extent of content marketing or how to harness it to its full potential. Though 60% of B2B marketers plan to spend more on content marketing, only 26% of those surveyed are actually doing it. With the rise of startups catering to the easy creation of content, this may create a shift in how marketers approach this area.
In 2011, Google’s Panda update attempted to separate the good content from the bad so those creating high quality content are beginning to see improved site rankings. Another reason content will play a greater role in marketing. This infographic by BlueGlass goes into more detail. It’s interesting to see the variety of tactics and what rates highly for B2B marketers. Traditional marketing is further down the list than expected whereas eBooks are on the rise.
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