Sunday, 24 June 2018

Information and commentary for the small business banking industry

What do a bank and a pet food store have in common?

What they have in common are people who’ve gone from customers to fans. It’s no big secret – word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to promote your brand and sell your product or service. The best way to do this is to turn your customers into fans, so that they start spreading the word.

A fan is a free spokesperson

There’s a pet food store in my local shopping center that I’m absolutely mad for. It’s an independent store, not part of a national chain. I drop in there all the time, even if I’m not shopping for anything in particular. I usually end up buying something anyway. I’ve raved about it to pet-owning friends so that they now go out of their way to shop there, and they’ve continued to spread the word.

They don’t advertise heavily; I’ve done it for them. So have my friends. They’ve turned us from customers into fans, and a fan is a free spokesperson for your brand.

If a bank has customers they’ve delighted – whether it’s approving that home loan or that their business advisors have given great advice – then case studies are fantastic way to highlight that success. If a customer’s become a fan, give them a way to make noise about it.

Turn your customers into fans

Creating cheerleaders out of customers involves some pretty basic psychology; it’s just knowing how people think and behave naturally. If your customers have the same passion for your business that you do, then they’ll not only sell for you, but they’ll have an incredibly powerful way of communicating that enthusiasm to others.

While it’s important to focus on brand awareness, you can use content marketing to strengthen customer loyalty and turn them into fans. Here are some basic tips to get them making your case for you:

  • Learn from the best – think about a brand that you’re a big fan of. What is it they’re doing that keeps you engaged with them? The YouTube Brand Channel Leaderboard rates GoPro as one of the highest-performing brands. They’ve achieved this by providing a space for customers to experience great videos as well as highlighting their products at the same time.
  • Promote what you do best – what is it about your brand that customers love? If you’re not sure, ask them. What gets them most excited? Focus on what you’re doing that’s got them raving about you.
  • Think of ways to encourage them – a bank that has happy customers can turn them into fans in any number of small ways. Free workshops, token giveaways (such as a month with no fees) or an invitation to an industry event are all examples of how you can encourage the transition from customer to fan.
  • Help fans to share their experience – make it easier for your fans to tell others about you by tapping into the wealth of social media platforms available. If you provide your customer die-hards with ways to spread the word, they’ll rush to take advantage of it.
  • Continuous engagement – create a relationship with your fans so that they literally wear your brand on their sleeve. If you can give them the kind of experience that reaches them on a personal level, you’ll have some amazing ambassadors for your brand.

The power of fan content

Turning customers into fans can also mean turning them into content contributors. In return for exclusive access to your product or service – and other loyalty bonuses – fans can take their engagement with you a step further by sharing their brand ambassador “status” with their friends, family and colleagues on social media channels.

Getting your fans to endorse you on this level is invaluable, especially since people rely on recommendations from friends more than they do on advertising. And it means that you’re always generating content from your most powerful and influential customers – your fans. It’s one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences and create new customers.

By Kirsty Quested – TSBC staff writer

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