A great digital strategy can accomplish many things. It can increase sales, generate website traffic, improve brand awareness… but if it’s not oriented around the customer, these goals simply will not be met.
Marketers that focus their digital efforts solely on supporting their brand will often find themselves struggling. They might discover that their audience is fickle and quickly loses interest in their ad campaign, or that no matter how enticing the prize, no one wants to participate in their Twitter contest.
The problem here is that marketers are focusing on their brand, when in fact they should be focusing on their customers.
Umair Haque from Harvard Business Review puts it succinctly:
“The real question — the one that counts for leaders and institutions today — isn’t ‘How loyal can we compel, seduce, or trick our customers into being?’ It’s: ‘How loyal are we to our customers? Do we truly care about them?’”
The idea of loyalty isn’t a fuzzy, feel-good descriptor. It is the life-or-death of a brand. It is at the core of all of the great, immediately recognizable and loved brands of our time, and it is the one ingredient missing from many brands that fail to rise beyond mediocrity.
Customer loyalty is something that is earned through a customer-centric digital strategy. Here are three questions that marketers should ask themselves to earn this loyalty:
- Who are our customers?
In order to develop a strategy that consistently provides value to your customers, you must first know who your customers are.
From basic demographic questions of age, gender and location to questions about their habits, behaviors and values, marketers must ask who they are trying to reach and connect with.
A strategy built around caring about your customer starts with knowing who they are.
- What are their preferences?
Does you audience love skiing over the holidays? Are they fueled by Starbucks lattes in the morning? Is their greatest passion talking politics with their coworkers?
The preferences of your consumers say a lot about what they value. If you can pinpoint what moves them, you will be able to develop a digital strategy that educates, empowers, and engenders loyalty – rather than one that superficially pulls in their attention in short spurts.
- How can we reach them?
Digital strategies are not about pulling customers’ reluctant attention in – they are about giving customers what they want, when and where they want it.
From quick smartphone glances on the morning commute to tablet surfing while watching TV in the evening, your customers use various devices to connect to the digital world throughout the day. Likewise, they divide their time online between social networks, websites, apps and other channels.
Your digital strategy should put content and messaging in front of your audience, wherever they are. Connecting to your customers on their terms shows that you value their time and attention.
Loyalty is not something given freely. It must be earned. And the digital strategies that succeed at creating customer loyalty are the ones that truly know and care about their customers.