It’s long been an adage of marketing, “know thy audience.” In fact, according to Forbes, 73% of marketers view customer centricity as “critical to the success of their business and the role of the company.” Still, the real success lies in how your company chooses to engage with your customers.
For many—and it’s a more common mistake than you’d imagine—“knowing their audience” lies solely in the acquisition phase of marketing. You find the right messaging that resonates with your audience and craft advertisements that are relatable to them. These steps are indeed crucial to ensure sales, but what happens after? What do you do with the people who already “like” your brand?
According to Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, acquiring new customers costs six or seven more times compared to retaining an existing one. Thus, keeping your current market close is not just for sentimentality. From a business perspective, it is more economical to nurture relationships with your base customers.
This is where community marketing comes into the picture.
Community marketing, in a nutshell, is marketing that targets a brand’s already-captured market. It can be done via properly handling feedback from customers, managing existing fan groups on social media accounts, retargeting, and many others. What’s important is making your community members feel important—as they rightfully should be for your brand.
So how and why should you start refining your brand’s community marketing? Here are some things to consider:
Discovering your brand’s true value
To develop an effective community marketing strategy, marketers must ask themselves: What do people like about our brand? What keeps our customers coming back?
With questions like this, one doesn’t just rely on gut feel and internal company ideations. You must get answers from your audience. Besides, who better to tell you about what makes your brand special than your “brand lovers”?
Through community marketing, you get to survey if campaigns—past and present—deliver on the message intended. If not, then what does?
With a solid community marketing strategy, you also get better insights on your brand influence. And in turn, you get to refine these essential points to create stronger unique selling points for your brand.
Keeping that human touch
In an increasingly digital world where everything is slowly becoming automated, real human interaction is becoming a scarce yet sought-after service.
If there’s any brand to look at as an example of excellent customer service-cum-community marketing is a company at the forefront of the digital revolution, Apple.
Apple has long lauded its dedicated “Genius Bars”—a tech support station located inside its retail stores—as one of the biggest advantages customers can get from purchasing Apple products. They have turned great customer service as another unique selling point of theirs.
Steve Jobs, in a video, once described how they came up with the idea of the Genius Bar. He said: “Wouldn’t it be great if when you went to buy a computer, or after you bought a computer, if you had any questions, you could ask a genius? [...] Well that’s what we’ve got…. There will be somebody here who can do service right in the store and who can answer any questions you’ve got about your Mac or about any of the peripherals or software that work with it.”
The lesson here is that your brand taking the effort to interact with your clients and dedicating people to address their needs reinforces just how much you put them at the center. Keep things personal, keep things real—that’s part of great community marketing.
An empowered community is an empowered brand
What does it mean to have an empowered community supporting your brand? By going above and beyond for your customers, by truly connecting to your audience, you create not just brand loyalty but brand advocacy.
Those who love your brand will naturally speak of their contentment with your services. They will convert their friends and family without you asking them to.
To catalyze this brand advocacy, find first your VIP customers. It is them who you should empower first. Identify them and give them even better special treatment. Let them beta-test your new products or initiatives. Formulate a rewards program especially for them.
By empowering your community, you empower your brand. It is through your community that you gain better insights; it is through them that you will find loyalty that will support you in times you need it.
Need help in reaching these goals and developing your business as a genuine innovator in the market? Consider strengthening your brand’s community marketing strategies with our help! The GetCraft Marketplace makes it easy for you to discover and work with hundreds of strategic specialists that will help you develop effective community marketing strategies for your brand.