If you are in the fortunate position to have even a handful of brand fans be proud, and be careful. Brand building is difficult, so never take this special group for granted. Ever. A brand fan will refer new customers to you, defend you against public criticism, keep buying from you and leave positive reviews online and offline for others people to read. How’s that for a slice of fried gold.
Here are some specific ideas on how to keep, and even expand, your brand fan base.
Keeping your brand fans happy should be right of the top of your thoughts, and ideally a specified aspect of your marketing plan with clear actions and goals.
I would argue they will refer more new business to you than any advertising campaign you put together. So put in as much time and investment in cultivating them as you would planning a promotion.
Start a conversation with them
Brand fans love nothing more feeling they have a deeper relationship with a brand than other customers. You can help reinforce this by getting in touch via social media and asking them a question.
This could be for an update based on a previous conversation or a simple “How are you?” Keep it friendly and chatty with no sales overtones/
Send them something nice
Everyone likes a gift, and they don’t have to be expensive to be enjoyed or highly thought of. How about a Blue Peter style badge using your logo and “Limited edition” on a card?
Alternatively why not send a hamper of free products from your collection and a hand written thank you note?
Say thank you
If they publicly recommend you or say anything positive always make sure you say thank you. This positive reinforcement will motivate them to continue or even do it more.
Faster than normal support
The idea that you may speed up support for a customer may seem strange, but if you work on a first come first serve basis, I’d recommend jumping your brand fans to the front of the queue.
The more times they experience less than perfect service, the more the illusion of you being perfect gets chipped away. Don’t let that happen!
Make them a big deal
If they write or even better, create something that you think is funny or relevant, share it with the rest of your customers/ followers via social media, your blog or newsletter.
Another idea is to create a customer spotlight where you showcase them and recognise them is a way that fits your brand. E.g. if you are an IT software firm, create an experts section with profile and a “Pro” badge.
Be where they are
Don’t make them work for anything. Make it easy for your brand fans to find you and engage with you by going to them. If they are on Facebook, then so should you.
If they are using Pinterest, then create an account and let them know about it etc.
Give them previews
If you launch new products or services on a regular basis, you can use your brand fans as testers.
This will achieve two goals; firstly you get useful feedback before launch to improve your product, and secondly you make them feel special and a part of the company’s success.