Just like the way you need friends and family in your social circle, a business also requires a community to interact with for support in business. Nearly every successful organization integrates community engagement initiatives in order to increase loyalty, advocacy and brand affinity. This brings about the concept of community marketing.
This form of marketing primarily involves creating a brand presence that interacts well and actively with the existing customers and employees. In this digital era, community marketing is supported by social media platforms where about 3.2 billion people hangout. If you haven’t embraced this form of marketing yet you have some catching up to do. Although it can be a bit time-consuming, you can’t afford to ignore it because:
It’s an effective way of knowing your customers
When you get close to your existing customers and encourage one-to-one conversations between you and them, they feel easy to give their honest opinions about your brand. Some of the comments you’ll get will be positive while others may be negative. It’s through such feedbacks that you’ll be able to identify more of their needs and what you can do to align your products/services according to their expectations. It’s one of the best ways of knowing your customers without having to use a third party. You will also have the chance to communicate with them if you have the time and the resouces to dedicate to this (Pukket offers an automatic chatbot to initiate the conversation).
Your reputation gets better
The internet is a great tool for the visibility of many businesses. However, it can also be your worst nightmare. Just a single customer complaint can see your business fall from grace to grass. Even if you avoid going online, you can’t hide from the wrath of an unsatisfied customer who’s determined to let the world know how disappointing your product/servic is. The best way to avoid such issues is by getting so close to your customers that you are able to respond to their concerns swiftly before they escalate to destructive experiences. That’s where community marketing comes in handy, by removing the distance between your brand and its customers. Even if the bad experience gets shared, you’ll have the chance to get in touch and win that customer back.
Improved brand loyalty and customer retention
When you are in constant touch with your customers, they feel valued and are happy to stick around you. That human touch in a brand is very important and is a key ingredient in customer loyalty. Unlike commercial ads that are one-sided communication, community marketing encourages two-way communication between your brand and its customers. Besides promotional content, you might decide to be sending goodnight and good morning messages to your customers. Such messages make your brand feel a bit human. And since consumers trust messages from real people more than those from artificial brands, giving your brand a human face will go a long way to making your customers develop trust in you.
You get valuable brand advocates
When your existing customers are convinced that you care about them and are committed to satisfying their needs, they become your die-hard fans. They are very willing to spread a word about your brand. Even without your request, they will find themselves telling other people about the awesomeness of your business and why they should as well choose you over your competitors.
When you’ve have such a soft spot in their hearts, you can easily turn them into your brand ambassadors. With just a little motivation, they can help you reach customers who you can’t access directly. Besides promoting your business, the brand ambassadors are likely to spend twice the amount an average customer spends on your products. It’s a double win for you.
Your cost of customer acquisition is likely to reduce significantly
Commercial ads and promotions have taken a toll on modern-day businesses. Recent research shows that the cost of customer acquisition has increased by over 50% from 2014 to date (2019). If you’ve been in business within the period, most likely, you can attest to that. Fortunately, one of the best remedies to the problem is something easy to do community marketing. Through the brand ambassadors drawn from your customer community, your promotional messages can go viral and get higher sale conversions without you having to spend a fortune.
For instance, instead of using Google ads which costs you about $1 to $2 per click to promote your product, you can request your customers to take and share photos of them using it (the product) on their social media channels through photo challenges and competitions. The latter strategy will cost you less and will result in more customers because consumers trust their friends and families five times more than brand content.
Your chances for valuable collaborations increases
When you have constant and close interaction with your customers, you’ll trigger regular conversations revolving about your brand among them and the people around them. As a result, your brand awareness scope increases as the conversations make you keep on connecting with new people. Other brands start getting curious to know more about you for possible partnerships. That gives you a great opportunity to work together with brands that you share common values with and support your vision. A great example of this is Wendy’s Twitter account.
You see? If you haven’t adopted community marketing, you are missing out on great opportunities. But all is not lost and it’s not too late to make a change. Set the ball rolling, and in case you need help, Pukket, the leading word-of-mouth marketing experts, are just a call away.