Let’s just agree to the fact that the road ahead for most of the brands, big or small, is punctuated by the novel Coronavirus. And everybody is hustling to find new ways to engage with their customers during this pandemic and get their businesses back on track. Zara owner closing down on 16% of its global outlets and investing in online platforms is one such example.
One of my favorite quotes is from Abraham Lincoln. He said, “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” So my dear marketers, hold on to that perseverance for a little longer, and keep hustling, because perseverance with the right technique will help you reap the benefits.
Here are some simple quick tips about brand engagement that will help you gain just the right velocity for your brand during these tough times:
1. Get your online presence right, if you haven’t already
Online marketing is expected to play a bigger role in the longer run. Pay attention to mobile first approach for your websites and apps, as an average Indian is spending around 4 hours a day on their smartphones. Your customers, in all likelihood, would choose a brand that provides a better user experience.
Inditex, parent company of Zara and Massimo Dutti among other brands, is investing $1billion over the next three years to improve their online presence and an additional $1.7 billion on upgrading its stores to become more integrated with its online platform by deploying advanced technology solutions.
“According to research conducted by Qualtrics, when it comes to brand communications, Indians are more interested in the operational impact of COVID-19 compared to sales and promotional marketing.”
2. Keep your business information up to date
Update your customers about your operating hours. You may also want to update your address on Google. When updating your customers about the measures of cleanliness, sanitization and precautions you are taking, try not to overwhelm them with unnecessary information. They are probably already flooded with a lot of information. Try to provide them with helpful information only.
3. Set clear guidelines as per World Health Organization (WHO) protocol
Make sure that your customers, especially existing ones, know about the safety measures your brand has undertaken so that they don’t shy away from engaging with you. Target new customers with the help of precise targeting techniques. Organize free webinars to solve their queries. Host virtual events with your channel partners.
4. Use multichannel to communicate with them
Now is the time to go that extra mile with the communication strategies. Be creative yet relevant with your message. Use relevant influencers to reach your target audience.
“The top three messages respondents wanted to hear were how the business is responding to the crisis (75 per cent), the impact on the distribution (48 per cent), and information on products and services (48 per cent).”
5. Reward customers who regularly interact with your brand
Regardless of whether the customer made a purchase or just interacted with your brand, try rewarding them with some bonuses in the form of loyalty points or just a personalized message saying ‘thank you’ and offering them a discount coupon on their next purchase. This will indeed be a delighting experience for them.
6. Be Sensitive
The last thing you want when engaging with your customers is to sound salsey. Nobody is interested to know the reasons to buy your product. But they may be looking for solutions to their problems. Try selling solutions and not products. Provide them with ‘at-home brand user experience’. Try spreading some joy. This will help build a long term relationship with them.
Millennials, or people born roughly between 1980 and 2000, are tough customers in both the literal and proverbial sense. With social media, subscription boxes and targeted advertisements following consumers on every website they visit, it’s easy for shoppers to get distracted. Since most of these teenagers to thirty-somethings were born into the age of e-commerce, it’s easy to assume they’re susceptible to the intrigue created by the new brands and products constantly inundating their screens.
Millennials represent the modern consumer. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that companies across all industries and verticals are catering to the needs of millennials as a way to earn their loyalties. Traditional methods of advertising have been proven ineffective in capturing their attention. Most people are never more than a tap, swipe or click away from almost anything. The fact remains that the digital world has forcefully inserted itself into all the phases of the buying process, especially for the millennial generation. As more millennials begin to enter the market, the question that arises is- how companies can appeal to these digital natives?
Agreed, millennials are choosy about their brands, but they are also more willing than older generations to switch brands if they can save money by doing so. While advertising may seem like the go-to strategy.
There are more efficient ways to get in front of this audience and reach them time and time again
Millennials want to know that a company is paying attention to their specific needs. The critical component of delivering a personalized digital experience is a mobile-first strategy that guides each customer through all phases of the shopping journey. The look and feel of a customized product are important to the members of this generation who has an open- door policy. They are more likely in the first place to listen to your pitch, even if you are pitching from a brand they haven’t heard before. Companies can present options, targeted messages, recommendations and personalized services that can be effective in the right circumstances. To attract millennial shoppers, brands must think in terms of experience, not discounts and offers off alone. Brands can approach experience-focused programs in a number of ways, such as offering customers free shipping, skipping a checkout line, early access to a sale or the ability to view products before other customers. By focusing on the experience and personalization, brands can help shoppers feel as if they’re a part of something bigger than just a loyalty program, thus building an emotional relationship with the consumer, which is key for Millennials.
In addition to providing a great product, responding and engaging with millennials in a timely and authentic way will also help cement a long-term relationship. As a tech-savvy and highly connected generation, it is no surprise that millennials are drawn to loyalty programs that engage them through various channels. Whether online, mobile app or in-store, brands can reinforce millennial loyalty with a program that keeps them looped into the brand experience. It’s important to have a cohesive marketing strategy across the brand’s website, e-mail campaigns and social media properties for relevant communication to elevate customer loyalty. Based on data collected from these sources, platforms can be used reengage, share new opportunities, offers and promotions that will keep millennial shoppers hooked and coming back for more. Social media as a platform is not only great for consistent, relevant communication but also has the added benefit of facilitating peer-to-peer recommendations, which many millennial shoppers turn to before making purchases. By adding game-like features to their reward program, brands have the potential to create customizable and rewarding experiences, providing entertainment value to the customer while bolstering engagement.
Even a loyalty program with experiential components, engaging qualities, and price, the ultimate deciding factor can turn off this generation, if it is difficult to use. While millennials rely on technology to streamline their lives, they expect digital solutions to augment their experiences. This means brands must develop loyalty programs that are frictionless and easy to navigate across various channels – whether on a laptop, desktop, a mobile or a tablet. Millennials are quick to abandon slow-loading apps or confusing interfaces that do not save them the time or add value to their lives. Like other leading mobile solutions, loyalty programs can capitalize on common mobile strategies like real-time alerts, multichannel capabilities, and personalization or even technologies like mobile wallets.
Brands that want to capture this demographic will have to abandon traditional, shop-worn loyalty strategies in favor of new programs that emphasize experience, engagement, and convenience. Appealing to this demographic requires brands to ensure that the ways they deliver their rewards programs are as flexible and mobile as millennials are themselves.