This post was written by Leanne Bellar, who works to keep Extole’s relationships with their customers exciting and enduring.
First comes love, then comes marriage… but how do you get from one to the other?
It’s hard to find anyone who would disagree that the dating phase is all about fun. You’re learning new things about your new date: she loves rainbow sprinkles on her ice cream, he loves taking road trips down the coast, and she has to read the newspaper on Sunday mornings. You’re constantly making plans to hang out with your new fling and are probably counting down the hours or days until you get to see her again. If all goes well, you find yourself dating the same person for a few years and eventually are ready to take your relationship to the next level.
Brands face this same relationship challenge. How can a one-time customer become a lifetime customer? When the last mile has been run, what brings the marathoner back to the Nike store for another pair?
As experts in social marketing, Extole has helped hundreds of clients extend relationships with their customers beyond a simple transaction by creating a social roadmap for customer engagement. This includes (but is not limited to) targeted timing and content around how our clients connect with their customers.
For instance, recently Extole developed a Refer-a-Friend program for leading e-commerce site PetCareRx: as their customers reach the purchase confirmation page, they are prompted to share a special deal at PetCareRx with their friends. Their positive shopping experience, special reward for sharing, and most importantly, a desire to share a special deal with their closest friends, all conspire to make the referral a compelling way for the customer to “give back.”
Significantly, sharing a brand never need be a one-time event. Extole also provides a communication and special promotions schedule to maintain customer interest and engagement, including sharing contests, sweepstakes, and special holiday deals that keep customers interested and very much involved with our brands.
Our social roadmap also activates customers across a variety of social channels such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. According to research from market intelligence firm Morpace, a positive referral from a Facebook friend makes consumers 68% more likely to buy a specific product or visit a certain retailer.
All of this mirrors the courtship phase, when a partner strives to create an exciting dating environment to deepen the relationship. Brands who build interactive programs and applications that span their assets (whether they are owned, in social networks or even paid ads) are the ones best poised to strengthen and lengthen their customer relationships.
We’ve watched brands fail by just going for the quick fix, just like I’ve seen couples fail when they don’t invest the time and energy to go deeper. In loyalty – both brand and romantic – a well-thought out and considered approach yields a lifetime of value.