Your ultimate goal in building a platform or tribe should be to turn strangers into followers, turn followers into prospects, turn prospects into friends, turn friends into customers, and then… do the most vital job: turn your customers into evangelist.
This is important because identifying that process will allow you to create more efficient marketing strategies. Your best prospect is a current evangelist. Your second best is a past customer. These people already trust you enough to buy from you. They already know you, already like you, and already have confidence in your products and services.
The retention of these two groups of people are key to your success. The best way to maintain customer retention is to:
Storytelling. This has always been a key component for businesses to maintain retention. In the past they were only two ways to tell stories at scale. The first was to hire an expensive PR agency to tell your story to the media. The second was to spend a lot of money on advertising. Now social media provides a third alternative to tell stories at scale and tell them with a picture, a thirty or six second video shot with an Android phone or iPhone, or a status update, or a tweet.
If your story doesn’t resonate, you can just tell a different story an hour later, tomorrow or the next week. Unlike traditional media storytelling, there is little to no barrier to entry in social media storytelling and little to no penalty for telling a story that doesn’t resonate.
What story should you tell?
- Tell the story of how you were founded.
- Tell the story of a customer that has overcome an obstacle thanks to you.
- Tell the story of a staff member that has grown with you over time.
- Tell the story of a charitable partnership that you have or acts of service in the community that your team does.
Use Twitter. Twitter to me is the most important platform on the internet. Twitter is the one medium where it’s acceptable for you to jump into conversations without it seeming invasive. You can enter conversations and do customer service and act like it’s a cocktail party.
The secret is to create engagement, create engagement, create engagement, and then bring value. To maintain retention you need to bring value. You can bring value by:
- being a geek,
- inspiring, or
The point is you better give people a reason to give you their attention and give you the permission to send them anticipated personal, and relevant messages. Another way to get people’s attention is to ask them, “what do they want from you?”
You have to figure out the true benefit you bring to the market. For me I know that I have the ability to bring clarity to online marketing, social media and marketing planning. Maybe you bring:
1. Solutions to their problems.
2. Freedom from pain.
3. Promises you make. (So make them carefully!)
4. Wealth, safety, success, security, love and acceptance.