sales and marketing

Brand trust is hard to come across these days, with 55% of US- and UK-based customers saying they trust brands less now than they once did.

But when customers like your brand, they tend to stick around, with over half of US-based customers saying their loyalty lasts a lifetime. 

That’s why it’s important to not just find new customers, but retain the ones you have and continue to give them an excellent customer experience over and over again.

In this blog, we’ll talk about how to understand (and market to) your clients, what it takes to build trust and credibility, and how to measure the success of your loyalty efforts.

Who is Your Client, And What Do They Want?

As simple as it sounds, building loyalty starts with understanding who your audience is. But simplicity doesn’t mean the process is easy—and often, this knowledge-gathering phase can last months for a new company.

But don’t let the potential time investment dissuade you from this vital step. In fact, two-thirds of American customers say they’re more likely to stay loyal to brands that understand them personally.

Knowing who your customers are, what they expect out of your brand (and similar brands), what goes into their purchasing decisions, and what may keep them from making a purchase are essential pieces of intel as you build products, loyalty programs, and customer-facing messaging.

So, how do you get that information? You do buyer interviews. During this process, you’ll get answers to questions like:

  • What triggers your buyers to search for a solution?
  • What kind of expectation(s) do your buyers have with your solution?
  • Why might your buyers not make a purchase or choose a competitor over you?
  • What are your buyers’ “must haves” when picking a solution?

Once you’ve gathered that information, you can actually market effectively using answers to each of the questions above. For example, if you know price is a major deciding factor in your buyers’ purchasing decisions, you can market your products or solutions as more cost-effective than the competition.

Related: Why Words Matter

What Makes a Brand Trustworthy?

Even if you have the best solution on the market, building credibility comes down to more than just an excellent offering. Most of your competitors will have similar, high-quality offerings, so it’s up to you to differentiate yourself—and retain more customers.

One of the first ways you can build credibility is by providing best-in-class customer service. This is a nonnegotiable, as 61% of consumers have said they’ve cut ties with brands over poor customer service. An AI chatbot can help fill in gaps when you’re not around, but you can also use peer reviews to showcase your ability to serve others.

Second, you should build and maintain a consistent brand voice that’s evident throughout the customer journey. This will help you be memorable and recognizable, but a strong brand voice also goes a long way in humanizing your brand. It’s easier for customers to connect with brands that speak like they do, so when in doubt, err on the side of approachability. 

If you need help finding your brand voice, click here.

Third, you’ll want to be as honest and transparent as possible with your customers. That might look like communicating price changes as quickly as possible, showcasing your philanthropic or environmental efforts, or pulling back the curtains on how your product is developed. The more involved your customers feel with your brand, the more likely they’ll want to stay around.

Related: The Importance of Authenticity in Branding: One Firm’s Transformation

How Well Is Your Plan Doing?

Your loyalty-building efforts can have a lot of moving parts. Loyalty programs, incentives, customer reviews, and social feedback are just a few areas you might be measuring. But with all that data, you’ll need to put in place a system for ingesting that information quickly and consistently.

As a start, here are a few primary metrics you can use to evaluate customer satisfaction:

  • Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) will tell you how likely your customers are to recommend your brand to others
  • Your customer satisfaction score (CSAT) uses customer satisfaction surveys to ask customers to rate their experience after making a purchase
  • A customer effort score (CES) uses survey data to find out how much effort it took for a customer to do something with a brand
  • Measuring your customer churn rate (CCR) will tell you why some customers are breaking away from your brand
  • Your customer health score (CHS) will predict how likely it is for your customers to stay loyal to you

AI-based social listening tools are one way you can gather information about your brand across various social channels. You’ll find out what customers are saying about your brand and how they feel, so you can decide what you need to do moving forward.

Customers respond positively to brands who listen to and adapt to feedback. Rigidity won’t help you move forward, so be flexible when customers share what is and isn’t working. 

Related: Mastering Client-Centric Growth: Strategies that Really Work

Ready to Build Stronger Client Relationships?

Building stronger relationships that stick isn’t something that happens overnight—or without the help of a qualified leader.

A fractional CMO can give you all the benefits of a full-time marketing leader—including the ability to conduct buyer interviews and build a customer loyalty strategy—but at a much more affordable price.

Click here to get in touch with one of our fractional CMOs, and we’ll help you set up a no-obligation call.


Need guidance knowing how to best use AI to enhance your marketing approach?

Check out The Role of AI in Marketing for practical advice and insights from real-world peers.
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