This is a guest post from Erika Brookes, CMO at Springbot.
It’s not surprising that businesses spend billions each year trying to make customers loyal to their brand. In general, loyal customers are far more profitable than your average customer and can become powerful champions for your brand.
However, to gain a legion of loyal followers, you first need to establish a brand identity that they can get behind. How your customers perceive your brand plays a significant role in their decision to trust you, which is why every smart business takes their brand identity seriously.
To help you develop your own brand identity, here are eight tips to get you headed in the right direction:
1. Find What Makes You Unique
If there is nothing that makes your business unique, then you’re going to find it difficult to inspire brand loyalty. Every successful eCommerce store has clear value propositions that tell consumers what makes them better than the competition.
Once you have determined your unique selling proposition, it needs to be present in your marketing campaigns and on your website’s homepage. Mint, an online saving tool, does a great job in this example:
Mint’s value proposition is that they make managing your money easy with a single tool. Your value proposition needs to be easy to understand, promise something to consumers, and, most importantly, it has to follow through on that promise.
2. Become a Master Storyteller
Many digital marketers focus so much on building their brand’s image that they forget a critical element of their brand identity—their brand’s story. Images may play an important role, but it’s your content that brings the story of your brand to life.
Good storytelling stirs up emotions, influences the reader’s behaviors, and paints a clear picture of what distinguishes your brand. If you aren’t confident in your web copy skills, hire a copywriter to tell your brand’s story. A masterful storyteller can inspire your customers and significantly boost your conversions.
3. Be Consistent
Keeping your brand identity consistent from the very beginning is difficult, but it is key to inspiring customer loyalty in your brand. If your social media accounts are sending a different message to your audience than your website, your customers will be confused and may distrust your brand.
Take time to carefully plan your brand strategy so that you can promote the same message across different platforms. When you create a uniform brand experience across multiple marketing channels, your message is more likely to resonate with consumers.
4. Form Brand Alliances
Building relationships with other brands and forming partnerships with them can benefit your online store in many ways. First of all, it can potentially elevate your brand’s image and grow your customer base, paving the way for the creation of brand evangelists.
Strategic partnerships not only expand your reach, but they can also improve your relationship with your customers as well. Brands that partner together often swap promotions and offer special discounts to partners, which are passed on to their customer base.
5. Be Transparent
Consumers feel strongly about brand transparency. In fact, 94 percent of consumers say that they would be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.
Trust isn’t something that can be purchased—it must be earned. Because of this, it’s important that you build transparency into your brand early.
By being upfront and honest with your customers about your brand, you are earning their trust and their loyalty at the same time.
6. Make Your Customer Service Stand Out
As an online merchant, you already know the importance of good customer service. However, good service is expected by consumers.
What isn’t quite as expected is exceptional customer service. If your business continues to go above and beyond for customers, they will associate your brand with amazing customer service. In addition to inspiring loyalty among existing customers, your brand’s reputation will also earn you new customers as well.
7. Personalize the Experience
If you want your brand’s message to reach consumers and deepen customer loyalty to your business, then personalizing their experience is a must. Personalized marketing has proven time and time again that it can enhance the customer’s experience and help them build a relationship with your brand.
The best part is that the majority of consumers don’t mind your business leveraging their data to personalize their experience. In fact, a report by Infosys found that 74 percent of customers feel frustrated when web content is not personalized.
8. Turn Employees into Brand Ambassadors
Inspiring brand loyalty starts from within. Your employees are usually the first point of contact between your business and the customer. If your employees aren’t champions of your brand, then it’s unlikely that they will manage to inspire brand loyalty in your customers.
One effective strategy for turning your employees into brand ambassadors is by involving them in the early stages of developing your brand identity. This will help them feel connected to your business, and they will have a clear picture of what your brand identity stands for.
Remember to keep them up-to-date on the latest brand initiatives. That way, they will always have a complete understanding of your brand and will be able to communicate it effectively to customers. When your employees believe in your brand, they are bound to inspire others to sing your praises as well.
This is a guest post from Erika Brookes, CMO at Springbot.
Erika Brookes is the Chief Marketing Officer at Springbot where she leads all brand, product, marketing campaigns and communications. Before joining Springbot, Erika was the vice president of product strategy for Oracle, the vice president of marketing and communications at Vitrue, and other executive-level marketing positions at leading technology companies like MindSpring, Earthlink and Rackspace.
Say Hi to Erika and the folks at Springbot on Twitter @ebrookes and @springbot and connect with Erika on LinkedIn here.