“Make a customer, not a sale”. It seems like a simple enough concept: keep customers coming back and watch your wallet grow. Return customers are the foundation of a successful business, they not only make multiple purchases from you on a regular basis, but they are loyal to your brand and show this by recommending you to others. This loyalty represents a theoretical relationship between the customer and your brand, one that can be strengthened by turning a one-sided transaction (a purchase) into a two-way interaction. By engaging in different types of digital exchanges, such as responding to comments on your Facebook page, taking polls on customers’ thoughts and opinions, and encouraging consumer participation in online contests and product reviews, customers feel as though you care about them. Any good relationship is built upon the feeling of being cared about.
So, you know to interact with your customers and make them feel good by evoking positive emotions in them during your interactions. What’s the next step? Get to know them. Not just their demographics, but their lifestyles, their goals and desires, and their values. Knowing your customers on a deeper level than other companies will give you a competitive advantage, and encourages your customers to integrate your brand even more so into their lives. If you successfully use your digital marketing campaign to reach and connect with customers on a personal level, they will be more than willing to remain loyal when you take your marketing efforts offline and into the real world.
How does one take their digital campaign offline? Branded merchandise. Think about it, advertisements on television and radio, in print, and even through digital channels all come with an expiration date. They have limited lifetimes and when the time comes, another marketing campaign must begin. Tangible branded merchandise however can live as long as the consumer desires. A study on the matter showed that 87% of participants kept a branded merchandise item for longer than a year! Branded clothing can be washed, mended, and passed along to others. Posters, stickers, and other forms of decorative branded merchandise can live on display until they are disposed of. The key to extending this branded product lifespan as long as possible is to maintain the relationship with the consumers who proudly exhibit this merchandise. They have decided that your brand matches them as a person, and your products represent their relationship with you. So build that relationship to the greatest extent possible, and watch as your marketing efforts translate far beyond the computer and television screens and into the homes and everyday lives of your consumers.