When I engage a new client, I explain my simple three-part process for Social Media, something I call - Find-Engage-Reward.
Today we're going to talk about Reward.
But first, a story. This week on Linkedin, I noticed someone asking about "Appreciation Marketing." Exactly as you might expect, this is a "new" marketing technique that makes customers feel appreciated. I choked on my coffee. New? Are they kidding us? It's the *oldest* technique in the world. You learn it first, too, when you're told to say "please" and "thank you."
It takes a marketer to take a basic social skill and turn it into a convoluted customer retention plan. Think of Customer Loyalty programs like air miles and point cards. These were meant to be a reward - a way of making you feel appreciated by the company you support. Take a moment to reflect on the difficulty of redeeming those points for that reward; how many different ways companies have of making *you* jump through hoops to get that reward.
How appreciated do you feel when you've just spent 45 minutes on the phone trying to get a flight?
I'm on a loyalty card for a major retailer than does nothing but send me coupons and discounts for things I never buy. That's a good way to make me feel rewarded don't you think? "We see you buy a lot of labels and mailing envelopes - here's a coupon for binders!" Gee, thanks.
Rewarding your customers should not be complex. Or expensive.
And, with Social Media you have exactly the right tool to do it, because the best reward in the world is someone noticing everything you've done for them.
Here's a few scenarios in which Rewards can be simple things that make all the difference in the world:
- You do a promotion to increase pre-orders of a new product. When the product comes out, send them a hand-written - not fake hand written, but real - note with their order thanking them for their support.
- Thank people for Sharing and Retweeting your links. If the same guy is always Digging your blog, shoot him off a note to say you noticed...and you really appreciate it.
- When you get an email asking about what a customer can do to support you more - have a plan. Make it easy. "Follow me on Twitter and Retweet my links, thanks!"
Your most devoted customers want to be part of your team
Make *that* the reward. Turn them into an affiliate branch, not through affiliate marketing, but with a sincere appreciation for what they've done. If you wear a baseball cap, give your heavy-hitters a baseball cap. Got a "team" t-shirt? When someone places a massive order, throw in one of those, just to say thanks. Make it easy and fun to be part of "the team."
Above all, remember to say thank you from time to time.
Reward your customers, your clients, your followers and your supporters by making them feel appreciated.
It will make all the difference in the world to your business.