Competing for attention in a saturated digital space can be a difficult task. To make things even more complex, feelings and moods guide a lot of consumers’ decisions. An eMarketer study shows that the #1 reason driving consumers to open emails from a brand is whether or not they “LIKE” the brand. With likeability being such a subjective matter, how can you make sure people have an affinity for your brand? How do you build customer loyalty and trust to turn someone who likes you into a brand advocate?
We’ll go over a few recommendations to help you answer this overwhelming question.
Objectivity is Key
Determining your brand’s likeability might be a tough exercise, but you need to be committed to getting an honest assessment, whether positive or negative. Everyone thinks their baby is the cutest—it’s natural—but try to be aware of any possible bias you or your team might have and step outside of your brand to get the full picture.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your brand effectively communicating its unique value proposition?
- Are you listening to consumers’ feedback?
- How well do you treat your audience?
- If you didn’t work for this company, would you like its message?
If you find your brand is coming up short after running through this exercise, here’s a few steps you can take to improve:
- Show, don’t tell. Leverage customer reviews and UGC across multiple channels to support the value of your product and build trust with prospects.
- Pay attention to all reviews and learn how to handle negative reviews.
- Keep a human voice behind all stories; authentic content will allow your brand’s unique character to shine.
- Show gratitude. This can come in many forms: a letter from the founder after a customer’s first purchase; communicating the impact of contributions if your company has a social impact; or rewarding top customers via VIP programs.
Define Your Story
The first step toward building a relationship with your customers is to determine your brand’s values. Defining what your brand stands for will make your company feel more like a collection of humans, and less like an organization with a singular focus on revenue.
Can the brand story be told and shared in a genuine way? Was the company or product line developed to help meet a specific need in your customer’s lives? Does your founder have an interesting origin story? Brainstorm key messages that lend humanity to your brand story and find ways to translate those messages into compelling creative.
- Build a comprehensive brand voice guide to distribute across channels in order to maintain a unified message throughout platforms. If applicable, ensure that your Amazon presence is a reflection of your brand too.
- Leverage emotions in your designs. A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes a picture + words are worth even more if they complement each other. (Example: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uUWvq5HVQxNWoXdxzrwpW5FS0sfRQ_TO/view?usp=sharing)
- A/B test your designs and content to determine what resonates most amongst your audience (as measured by engagement KPIs like email opens or click-throughs).
Get to Know Your Audience
Understanding who you’re communicating with is key to developing more personalized communication. Who is your target audience? Who is actually using your product? Is there a gap between the vision of your ideal client and the actual audience purchasing from you?
- Leverage Google Analytics to pull demographic information such as gender, age, and other interests of your core audience.
- Adapt your communication style based on audience makeup and explore different channels such as SMS or push notifications to build readership and brand loyalty by meeting your customers where they are.
Respect Your Customers’ Preferences
Digital tools allow an infinite amount of customization. Remind yourself that behind each contact, email address, or social media handle is a fellow human! Do your best to customize their experience; you’ll gain customer trust by tailoring communication to best fit each specific audience and their unique needs.
- Give your customers more control: ask them what they want to hear about and how often. Create a preference center for that allows customers to update the frequency, type, and method of communication.
- Approach your audience with empathy. Allow contacts to easily opt-out from campaigns that may not resonate with them or even cause pain, especially during holidays (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s/Father’s Day, etc.).
- The digital space is saturated with information, so make sure you’re only sharing content that will bring value to your customers. Don’t just sell them a product, tell them how that product will enrich their lives, or educate them on a related topic.
Take Off Your Marketing Hat
This is perhaps the most difficult exercise, but try to look at your brand or products with a new set of eyes. What if you didn’t know anything about the topic and were brand new to the concept? Your website and content might be missing key information to help people connect and understand what you’re selling, or what makes your product or business unique.
- A good reality check might be to ask someone in your personal network (a parent, a close friend, or even grandma), “What does my company sell?” This exercise could illuminate areas of missing information or opportunities to provide clarification.
- Avoid bias. Relying on a single person’s vision or opinion can leave large segments of your audience feeling alienated. When you’re brainstorming content or gathering ideas, having diversity in opinion will invite different perspectives and illuminate things that you alone may not see.
Attention is a limited resource requiring a strong foundation of trust and respect. Building brand loyalty requires effort and consistency. But above all, remember to connect with your audience in a tactful, genuine way. Leverage all the tools available to test, customize, and create tailored experiences to build brand loyalty with your contacts, and watch your popularity and likeability increase!