Loyal customers are drawn to authentic brands.
Loyal customers aren’t the customers who use your services more than once or twice. They are the customers who really ‘get’ your brand, and understand your business. The ones who will continue to use your services through thick and thin, and will encourage others to do the same. Loyal customers are a marketing opportunity in themselves, and one you should prioritise.
In our previous article, ‘The Key to Long Term Success: Your Reason Why’, we discussed Simon Sinek’s ‘Golden Circle’ theory. In this article, we’re going to delve deeper into how you can encourage customer loyalty through understanding and communicating your business values.
How do you find loyal customers?
In order to find loyal customers, you have to find the customers who are looking for more than just a cheap quote. Those types of customers will never slip into your ‘loyal’ customer pool. Granted, they’ll use your services for now, but as soon as they find someone that does what you do cheaper, they’ll be out the door.
Instead, you need to focus your attention on customers who have the same values as your company. But before you can start to look for these customers, you need to have a clear understanding of your business values.
Referred to by Sinek as your Why, your values are the underpinning beliefs that inspired you to establish your company in the first place, and keep your business running today.
Most entrepreneurs will have started a business based on one specific idea. Was it to disrupt the status quo? Give customers greater control? Ease communication? Whatever your reason was for beginning your business, this belief should be the shining light that guides every aspect of your business, and needs to be firmly embedded in your marketing.
It’s important to realise that ‘making money’ isn’t a valid reason to begin a business. Every viable business has to aim to make money, but profit is a result rather than a cause.
As humans, we often instinctively decide if we like a person or a business, and usually, this is based on whether or not their beliefs and values match our own. If your business promotes values that appeal to your target audience, you’re on the right path to finding your loyal customer base.
Genuine values are crucial.
If you can clearly communicate your values to customers, those who share your values will be drawn to your business – for all the right reasons. We are attracted to people and businesses who share our values, because a common bond inspires trust. And it’s trust that forms the basis of all relationships: between friends, colleagues, and businesses.
In order to truly gain the trust of your customers, the values you share must be authentic. It’s no good trying to layer beliefs on top of your services – it simply won’t work. Instead, you have to work backwards. Understand your values, and understand how you can share your values through the services you offer.
How do I communicate my values to my customers?
Once you’ve reconnected with your big idea, you need to ensure that your values are focused on how your business can help your customers. After all, customers want to understand how you can make their lives easier.
You need to place customers at the centre of your business, and focus on how your business values will alleviate their problems or ‘pain points’. In offering your customers a solution, you’ll also be creating a natural niche market for your business: those who have the problem you can solve.
Instead of showcasing your services, you need to showcase the difference your services will make to your customers. Will it save them time? Help make communication smoother so they don’t have to spend hours on the phone? By changing the focus of your marketing from your products to your customers, you’ll see a marked difference in how consumers interact with your business.
For example, imagine that you sell a CRM system that’s entirely focused on user experience. The CRM is the service you offer, and exceptional user experience is what makes your CRM different to others in the market. Your reason for creating the CRM might be to save your customers time by creating a system that can be used instinctively. In this example, the values of your business could be ‘to save small businesses time on administration, and free up more time for them to spend on growing their business’.
By marketing your system as a solution to a common business problem, rather than just a CRM that’s easy to use, you’re immediately allowing your customers to see how your services will benefit their business.
Authenticity will help build your business internally, as well as encourage loyalty from customers.
In the same way customers are drawn to buy from companies they can relate to, employees are drawn to work for employers who care about the same causes. Rather than having a workforce who are only interested in their payslip at the end of the month, establishing an authentic set of values that are reflected in your job adverts, internal culture, and job roles, will encourage applications from people who want to help you with your mission – and believe in your cause.
Articulating your genuine business values is a process that has the potential to impact all areas of your business, and ultimately, bring everything in line. When customers believe in the same values as your brand, and are looked after by employees who also believe in the same values, you’ll create a business community where everyone has something in common.