You’ve probably read plenty of articles about the power of word-of-mouth marketing. And it’s true – we tend to trust our community.
When I was a marketing director for Chick-fil-A, that was key in their marketing plan. They called their dedicated customers “raving fans” and the primary mission of Chick-fil-A marketing was to “create more raving fans.” And as far as I know, that methodology continues to remain central to their marketing genius.
They get it. They know that getting real people to not only like your brand but rave about your brand is key to brand recognition, brand loyalty, and brand promotion. Forbes reports that, according to Nielsen, “92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.”
People matter and by extension, people’s words matter. And while you can advertise all you want, if your customers aren’t repping your brand, all of it could be pointless. In the end, people trust other people more than any advertisement.
But what we don’t talk about enough in marketing is how to create these dedicated customers. How do we make people love our brand so much that it becomes a part of their identity or at the very least a necessary facet of their lives?
Before we can tackle the how, we should first talk about why anyone becomes a fan of a brand. Well, it’s basically always because they believe in the brand. Think about the brands that you love and follow. Why do you like the product/service they offer? Nine times out of 10, I can almost guarantee one of the reasons is trust.
You trust them to provide a quality product/service every single time. This encourages you to not only come back, but to tell everyone you know about this company you adore.
So with your company: how do you gain that trust from your audience? Sure, a lot of it is the quality of the product you offer. But also, as we just mentioned: people trust people. And a huge part of that trust is dependent on how they are treated by the person who delivers the product or service to them.
Going back to the Chick-fil-A example, they understand this necessity for trust. This is why they train their employees treat all customers with kindness, respect, and friendliness. This service model builds trust in their brand that eventually turns into allegiance and ultimately loyalty. That’s how you gain customers who stick around.
So here are some tips on empowering your team to be people that your customers will trust:
Take Care of Your People
Someone who loves their job wants everyone to know about it. And here we are — back at the whole word-of-mouth marketing focus. If your team loves where they work and who they work for, they won’t even have to try to communicate that to the customer. Their attitude will say it all. Start by building solid relationships with your team and they will do your marketing for you.
Train Your People
Teach your team the hallmarks of quality service for your business. Get an idea of how you want them to treat your customers and train them in that. Again, if they like where they work, they will be happy to support your goal of helping the business grow by treating your customers well. But sometimes enthusiasm needs a little direction. Provide this direction.
Keep Your People in the Know
This one is similar to training your team. But it’s more specific. Provide your team with all the information they will need if they want to sell your business to your customers. Keep them in the know regarding promotions or campaigns that your business is running. Make sure they are aware of everything your business offers. Because if they exhibit exhaustive knowledge in your products and services, this will only improve the trust and relationship already in play with the client.
Your company is one worth sharing. Your company is one worth trusting. Communicate this fact to your customers. Build trust by being the business your customers need you to be. At the end of the day, it’s all about a lasting impression.
Samuel Cook is the Online Content Specialist for Kearley & Company (Kearley.com), a full-service marketing and branding firm specializing in financial institutions and small to medium sized businesses. He joined the team in early 2018 coming from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)® where he served as their national Communications Coordinator. Before that, he was a Restaurant Marketing Director with Chick-fil-A. (He still says “My Pleasure.”)