The best way for any company grow their customer base is through personal referrals. Do you want crazy, obsessive, almost borderline-stalker fans of your brand? Here are some tips on how to make it happen:
- Always Over-Deliver: Always take the time to get to know your customers: online, via social media or email, and especially at the show. Turn your fans into friends. When people buy something from you or ask you a question, always deliver over-the-top customer service, the kind that people brag about, not the kind where they make viral videos complaining about your company.
- Get Creative: Find new, fun ways to surprise your customers. For example, when my band is on tour, we’ll buy postcards throughout our tour and randomly pick people on our mailing list to send them to. Everyone sends a personal message about the tour, draws a little doodle, etc. We’ll often find photos of the postcards tagging us on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter and know that we just made someone’s day. Some of my favorite restaurants know that I’m an active member of the Yelp community and to build the relationship, will bring out new food items, asking me for my opinion before they make them available to the public. It makes me feel like a V.I.P and makes me a fan for life!
- Get to Know the Mavens: Malcolm Gladwell writes about how things go viral in his book, The Tipping Point. One of the key concepts is getting the social “mavens” (or leaders/influencers) on board with what you’re doing. These are the trendsetters, the people who are hip to what’s cool. Think about your target audience and who influences them. Local bloggers? Musicians? Writers? If you get these folks on board, they’ll help you spread your brand to a hungry audience.
- Consistency, Consistency, Consistency: When you start something, you have to consistently follow up on it or it’ll fall through. When people sign up on your email list at a show, get them into your database ASAP. If you have a mailing list, send out a newsletter on a regular basis. If you are on social media, update on a regular basis. Don’t spam them with an overwhelming amount of updates, just be consistent so that they know to expect you and can depend on you.
- Think Telephone, Not Megaphone: Who do you pay more attention to, the guy standing on a street corner yelling into a megaphone and holding up signs or your friend on the telephone? Think of your e-newsletter and social media as a phone, a prompt for a two-way conversation and not simply as an information/propaganda service.
Think of creating fans in terms of the golden rule. How would you want to be treated by your favorite companies? What’re some of your tips for developing loyal, enthusiastic fans?