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5 Ways to Make your Customers Care, Share and Buy

Once upon a time .....

This line either brings your shoulders down from your ears as you prepare for the story, or makes your hackles rise, as you mentally urge the teller to skip to the end.  Either way, you want to know what comes next.

Storytelling is as old as mankind itself and yet a seemingly dying art, in our rush to adopt all things digital.

Smart marketers know that customers who are emotionally connected to brands, provide valuable feedback to the business, tell their friends and spend more money, than those who are not.  It therefore makes sense, to craft your marketing outreach, so that you take customers on a journey - building knowledge of your brand, not through facts, but through inspirational, educational or entertaining stories.

Done well, your brand marketing can take an audience from apathy to empathy.  Don't believe me? Watch this clever Chrysler video, aired during the Super Bowl (for maximum audience and impact).




Let's look at how this works, so that you can apply these elements to your own brand building content.

1. Context - orientate your customer


The opening 30 seconds set the scene, so that even those who've never visited Detroit can have their assumptions about the place confirmed. There's a full 20 seconds of reinforcing the stereotype before a fleeting glimpse of a cars rear view mirror, (the first hint of what this commercial is really about). What could you do to build trust, before you start selling your product?

The rugged, care worn voiceover man, reinforces the imagery and immediately asks for engagement “What does this city know about luxury?”  You're already waiting to hear more, even though you're not sure what this ad is about yet.  Anticipation is increasing.  Remember that marketing will have most impact when your customers are waiting to receive it.

2. Show and tell


By 40 seconds we've seen the product (Chrysler badge on the front of the car), but it's fleeting, almost subliminal, and surrounded by pictures which evoke the spirit of hard work and determination.  Could these be Chrysler's brand values?  Showcasing what your brand stands for, in pictures rather than words, has never been easier.

There's an American flag to make sure everyone feels included, the soundtrack builds with a baseline guitar.  Detroit, (the hero), is shown to be strong and full of resolve, having survived the recent economic blows (the villain).  The audience is drawn in, relating to the cities hardships from their own experiences. Voiceover man reinforces this “That's who we are. That's our story ....”  Be Authentic.  Reinforcing your customers problems, thoughts and assumptions, is a great way to draw them in and lets you pitch your product as the solution they need.

3. Make sure you've got a hero - ideally the underdog


A minute in and we're told “when it comes to luxury, it's as much about where it's from as who it's for”, challenging all the bad news stories about Detroit and helping you to root for the underdog. You want to know more. Your interest is peaked and you're enjoying the journey with the driver of the car, beginning to see yourself as that character, bringing your own knowledge to this crafted vision. How could you help your customer to imagine themselves using your product?

The imagery is of determination, ordinary people, challenging themselves.  The voiceover acknowledges that while all the attention is given to the best know American cities, it's our hero that represents the vast majority of the population and we should share that pride. Chrysler the brand is firmly pitched as the hero's assistant - Robin to Batman.  Be customer rather than company centric so your marketing supports what your customers value in their terms.

4. Include the element of surprise


One minute 20 seconds in and we recognize the driver - home grown talent, Eminem, reminding the viewer of Detroits glory days as Motown. The soundtrack builds to a climax, not just of instruments, but of human voices, via a choir, reinforcing the personal nature of this product.  We now know this is a car ad, but that's almost forgotten because we're so entrenched in what will happen next.  What could you do to make your product part of a bigger picture or wider community?

5. Give them a happy ending


Final 30 seconds - cue Fox theatre, far removed from the industrial landscape we've all come to associate with this Michigan state. Eminem turns to camera and addresses us, telling us that it's about the city and not the product.

In our minds Chrysler now stands for guts, courage and resolve and we want to be associated with that.  By now, American hearts are swelled with pride at their resilience as a nation and customers are already giving consideration to Chrysler as their next purchase.

In 2 minutes, Chrysler have told us a story which leaves us feeling like they're the good guys. They've given their brand human traits and we feel warm to them because they connect with how we see the world. Do your customers share an emotional connection with your brand?



As with every youtube video, the comments section is the most telling. This stream is overwhelmingly positive, showing just how well the story has been told.  One viewer summarised this ad in just one sentence - makes me wish I was from Detroit.

What's the story behind your brand?  How will you tell it?  It doesn't take a high budget video to communicate, but you will need to use your imagination.




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Happy customers or Loyal fans - which does your business have?

Happy customers versus loyal fans.


Happy customers are often on the top ten list of business goals, but what does that really mean?

A customer is happy if their last experience with your brand was a good one.  It's a moment in time thing - I got great customer service or I loved the painless online check out.

Happy, says you met their immediate needs and hopefully left them feeling good about their decision to choose you over the alternatives. With luck, there's a good chance that this customer will come back for more.

What if three months later, that same customer revisits your store or website and the staff have changed or the interface has been updated. Now they might not be able to find what they need. There's no number to call, the customer service is non existent. Are they still happy?

Loyal fans are more than happy customers 

They are completely bought into your brand. They're so convinced of your product that even when you don't deliver to their expectations, they will still continue to favour you, (for a while) because they want to believe in the promises your brand makes.

Humans, like dogs, have an inbuilt need to be loyal.  Maybe you always go to the same garage to have your car serviced, (even though it's not the cheapest) or you wear a particular label (despite it being dry clean only), but in these heady days of limitless choice, our loyalties are regularly tested.

Business goals aimed at making customers consistently happy, through repeatable great experiences lead to loyal fans.











In a world where perception is 99% reality, keeping the promises your brand makes, will take you beyond happy customers and boost returns for years to come.

Think longterm.

Respect is earned.
Honesty is appreciated.
Trust is gained.
Loyalty is returned.



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3 Simple Ways to Build Your Brand


Miscommunication, communication, couple thinking different things




Our world is very noisy. Thousands of pieces of marketing content are hurled at us every day and yet our ability to consume these communications remains unchanged.  What has changed is the attention we're willing to give any one thing, so much so, that it's even got it's own term - continuous partial attention.

Our brains are finely tuned to respond to messages which touch our hearts, teach us something new and, or present content in an unforgettable way.  In other words, nobody is interested in information anymore - entertain us, educate us and leave a lasting impression by all means, but don't expect a response if all you serve are the facts.

So how could your business take advantage of this human condition? Think like a publisher.


1. Make an emotional connection



Who is most likely to buy your product or service?. How are you going to convince them to choose your brand over the alternatives available? Answer -  make them feel something. Since hearts often rule heads, those brands which challenge us to become emotionally involved, often pique our interest and therefore get the sale. They don't call it retail therapy for nothing.
e.g. Hyundai message from space commercial 






2. Add the novelty factor



Using the very prim lady in the advert below, to talk about the delicate subject of poo, is both unexpected and funny. It's often the novelty of a companies approach which grabs our attention in the first instance. We like the new and the surprising, but be sure to tailor this to the audience you're trying to attract. Humour is a delicate balancing act.
e.g.  Poo pourri





3.  Be memorable



Making your brand a household name, is every marketers dream and yet much of the content on offer is full of well worn stereotypes and pat phrases (see this is a generic brand video).  We see the same things so often that they become invisible to us, losing their magic.

The mad men of yesteryear made products memorable by adding jingles and bold images.  Some things never change - Apple think different commercial or Nike Just do it 





Think of what you've liked, shared and talked about today and remember that your marketing has to resonate with real people in disguise as consumers, audiences and personas.

In the words of Viggo Mortensen “There's no excuse to be bored.  Sad, yes.  Angry, yes. Depressed, yes.  Crazy, yes.  But there's no excuse for boredom, ever”.

Go, create.



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33 ways to get likes and engage visitors on your company Facebook page (works across other platforms too)



So, you've got a company Facebook page. Tick. Now what can you do to get Likes and engage people outside of your immediate friends and family ...

Well, it's all about engagement.

Each post must be relevant to your product or industry and to the audience you're trying to reach. Inform, advise, entertain, but don't be bland.  Make them care and do it fast.

The following tried and tested suggestions should get your creative juices flowing and if you really want to see those numbers climbing, make sure you add an attention grabbing photograph or video.
  1. Post updates at least once a day.  The most successful company pages post up to ten times each day using a mix of images, inspiring posts, questions and links to other resources.  Don't be afraid to show some personality. People buy from people.
  2. Give sneak peaks of future plans and ask for further suggestions 
  3. Make personal recommendations and ask for your readers favourite/most loved/best X 
  4. Ask visitors to ‘like’ a picture and/or submit their own 
  5. Set a weekly trivia question related to your product or industry (remember to post the answer)
  6. Run polls to solicit opinion and start discussions
  7. Celebrate milestones and rally your audience to reach them e.g. help us get 200 likes by June
  8. Use images to tell a story/highlight a situation, inviting feedback 
  9. Have a weekly discussion topic 
  10. Answer an FAQ each day 
  11. Be seasonal and timely. Comment on relevant stories in the news, festivals etc. 
  12. Share posts from others and third party content 
  13. Ask multiple choice questions or those where a yes/no answer will suffice 
  14. Educate your users in how to share and endorse your page e.g. Hit the like button and comment yes if you agree or click like if you enjoyed this video 
  15. Expand each conversation by responding to responses 
  16. Post top tips and challenges e.g. try this and tell us what happens
  17. Provide lists e.g. top 10 (insert something to inspire/educate/entertain your audience)
  18. Ask your audience to provide one word descriptions for something
  19. Align your company page with similar complimentary organisations by liking their pages and tagging them in your status updates 
  20. Run competitions.  There doesn't have to be a prize.  Sometimes a mention on the company page is enough reward and it's likely to be shared as the winner tells their friends
  21. Use your other social media accounts to highlight your Facebook page and directly ask people to like it.  This works best if you encourage them to do it within a time limit, but make sure there's a good enough reason to pump up the urgency
  22. Post photos and invite visitors to guess where/what/who they are
  23. Visualise data by turning it into charts or an infographic so it becomes information worth sharing
  24. Highlight stories of day to day happenings to help visitors feel they know you/your employees
  25. Excite and surprise fans whenever possible to keep them talking about and sharing your brand
  26. Share expertise, with an ask the expert day
  27. Admit where you've made mistakes and publicly apologise
  28. Make sure each post is authentic so you attract a like minded community
  29. Invite feedback on new product ideas
  30. Ask fans why they liked your page
  31. Put your fans in charge of naming something
  32. Invite fans to suggest a caption for a photograph
  33. Include links to your website and any other web presence you might have
Crank up that newsfeed.

I'd love to know what works best for you?



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Are you working with the Adams family or the Brady Bunch?


I've had a bit of a revelation at work this week.  It seems that social media is driven by nepotism. Doh!

Though we tend to think about the various social media platforms as individuals, we should actually be viewing them as families.  Dig just below the surface and they are all interrelated, which means that social media optimisation (SMO), the term used for all the activities you do to ensure visibility of your brand, is now more important than ever.

Knowing how the platforms link, lets you decide where to focus your efforts and the content to produce to increase engagement and build your reputation.  In other words, consider how each social media tool encourages sharing and whether they are trusted by the audiences you're trying to reach, before you rush to create a Facebook page or a Youtube channel.

Choose tactics that play to your strengths as a company and attract your customers, but remember that imagery, video and high quality content need to be part of your plan no matter which platform you use. They may be different families, but they're all run by humans.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list it's worth remembering that

Google owns Google+ and Youtube

Yahoo owns Tumblr and Flickr

LinkedIn owns Slideshare, Pulse and Bizo

Facebook owns Instagram and Whatsup

Twitter owns Vine and Periscope

Just as families favour their own, the biggest social media sites aim to maximise visibility across their channels, so make sure you create content in the most shareworthy format for each group.  Hubspot recently did a great blog piece if you need inspiration.

Which do you favour?





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Marketing tips from unlikely sources - Hairdressers

dog, afro, hairdressers, marketing

This post in one in a series, where I take a break from my usual rantings, to consider the marketing lessons which lurk right under our noses.

Other random observations can be found here - dog breeders, cinemas, children and even Father Christmas - enjoy.

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Hairdressers in various forms have been around for centuries, perfecting a customer service model which most online brands could benefit from replicating.  Bear with me and all will be made clear.


1. It's not about you



Steven Covey famously said: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”  In other words, I don't really care about your business, I want to know what's in it for me.  Hairdressers get this.  You show up, take the chair and the first thing the stylist typically asks is 'what are we doing today?' Instantly you (the customer) are in the driving seat, talking about your wants and needs, not listening to what the salon has to sell.

Once you've told them what prompted your visit they'll begin to make suggestions, which either stretch your comfort zone (how about a restyle) or reassure you that they can solve your problem (your frizz will be returned to glory in no time).  Stylists know what they're capable of, but they want their customers to feel in control of the process. They make it personal.  Do you?


2. Think beyond your main product



Sure you'll get your haircut, but to keep that feel good factor high, what about a drink, free wifi, a glossy magazine and possibly even a head massage. Hairdressers want their customers to be continually reassured that they've made the right choice and these little extras all help with our self talk (yes I am worth it, maybe I should also get a manicure, they care about me and I like this experience, so I should book my next session now.)

Customers may set out to address a specific problem, through that oh so important keyword search, but ultimately we're easily distracted by things we find along the way.  What about a free ebook, sign up to the newsletter, buy your ticket now?  Customers decide what's valuable to them and it's probably not your main service that keeps them coming back for more.


3. Build a relationship



Hairdressers often find themselves as confidants.  Their loyal clientele share the minutia of everyday life, revelling in an honesty which can only come from looking your worst in a mirror filled room. Over time, we take advice on not just hair related matters, but on what to watch and read, the restaurants to book, holidays to take - you get the idea.

It's that all important trust factor, which turns passing trade into repeat customers.  It makes you the 'go to'.  It keeps you top of mind, so you're the first person to be recommended.  Seth Godin wrote a whole book around the concept of permission marketing which is well worth a read.

Do you manage your customers to the point of sale and then skip into the sunset, or do you have a relationship which creates a loyal following?  Social media has made it easier than ever to engage with customers - ignore it at your peril.


4. Inspire your customers



Hairdressers change their hair on a regular basis.  Between visits my stylist goes from short to long, blonde to pink and throws in a perm, just to show what's possible.  While I suspect myself and 99% of her customers get 'the usual' every time they visit, it doesn't mean we don't appreciate the variety.

Sometimes we just want to know that someone is keeping on top of the latest trends so we don't have to.  Could you curate third party posts or produce a regular top 10 list of what's hot for your industry? Also think about how your brand is currently perceived and what you could be doing to show you're at the cutting edge (every pun intended).


5. Have some check out extra's



Running low on shampoo?  Have you tried this fabulous new ...?  Wallet in hand to pay for the main event, it's very easy to add a little extra to the bill.  In our minds we prolong the joy by taking something tangible home and we trust the recommendations of those who've just brought our tired locks back to life.  Hairdressers use our feel good high, to raise their revenues, while we interpret it as extra attention to our needs.

When your customers check out, do you send them a boring old thank you page, or do you return a list of further reading links, downloads, surprise discounts etc.  The last impression is often as important as the first, especially when you want customers to bookmark your site.  Make it memorable.



Hairdressers build experiences, (Osadia take this to new limits).  The most successful ones entertain, inform and inspire in equal measure. Let's stop sharing information and create businesses which touch our customers and keep them coming back for more.


Don't know how?  Ask me.


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Do you work better under pressure?

It's been a long week.

Projects have started to pile up.

Deadlines are appearing in my diary.

Yet daily I flit between post holiday blues and crazily motivated new year productivity.

This schizophrenic state is not good and often leads to late night working and caffeine overload. Ironically, it also fuels some of my best work.

Thankfully, it seems I'm not alone.  Today I stumbled upon a link encouraging us all to ship something everyday for a week.  In this case it's write a blog post.  Find out more at http://yourturnchallenge.strikingly.com/  Seven days is enough to form a habit and this could just be the kick I/we/you need to make 2015 the best yet.

The cheerleader within has me clicking on the link, while the slipper wearing freelancer reminds me of the steadily increasing to-do list already on my desk.

Is this short term pain for long term gain?  Let's see.

Who's with me?




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Marketing tips from unlikely sources - children




How do you pick up a swan?

Do you remember that wiggly thing that you jump over at school, can we get one?

Can a blackbird kill you?  No.  Even if it had a drill?

Oh the random questions my children ask.

Contemplating this mornings round of curiosity, I was struck by how visually descriptive children often are.  They want you to ‘see’ what they're talking about, using language which helps you build a picture in your mind.

As a marketer I often advise my clients to write in pictures as a way of drawing the reader into the story that's unfolding.

Why tell, when you could announce, shout, whisper, confess, leak or reveal.

Instead of encouraging your customers to get something, why not offer the chance to seize, pluck, grab, earn or land.

Analogies are another great way of adding imagery to your communications, helping you to explain and position your brand in an easily recognisable way.  In the UK, people regularly use phrases such as ‘fish out of water’ and ‘quiet as a mouse’, but every country will have it's own variations on this theme.

So, next time you're writing copy, challenge yourself to use language which helps your reader to immediately identify with you, or should I say, publish a blueprint your readers can easily follow.

Be seen as well as heard.



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What's your story? 3 hints to help you create brand buzz

Once upon a time, all a brand needed was a website, a shiny corporate brochure and a stand by the food concessions at the local trade show. This trinity reassured shoppers that you were a legitimate business and helped them to trust you enough to part with their hard earned cash. But that was many moons ago. Now content, (anything you create or share to publicize who you are and what you do), is king and brands need a personality. Eek!