Virgin Airlines has a reputation for understanding their customers and, as a result, has won over some major fans. Not a bad reputation to have! Their marketing strategies are being studied as examples of what to do right.
Inc.’s Maria Tabaka just posted an article she based on Virgin’s approach to customer engagement called “Do Customers Love You? 5 Questions to Ask”. She examined the ways that Virgin has been successful and then expanded their principles to form tips that any business can use in their branding and marketing.
The general idea is that happy customers say nice things about you and will stay loyal to your brand. Unfortunately, many businesses assume that making a good product is enough to keep people happy. In order to grow and develop your brand, there has to be more than that. For Virgin, understanding your customer and providing unrivalled customer service is the key.
If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you’ll know that we also love great and creative customer service. Just check out how we responded to SEE’s personalized note.
In Tabaka’s article, she outlines these 5 Questions to Ask to discover if you’re being successful in your quest to increase your fan base:
“1. Does your company generate organic buzz?
Your product has to be something that’s easy for people to talk about. Most every traveler will complain about the lack of leg-room on an airplane. We all talk about our vacations and business travel–so when we experience the luxury of an airline like Virgin it’s perfectly natural to tell the world. What makes people want to share the word about your company?
2. Do you provide your consumers with a simple, compelling marketing message?
Have you ever experienced something cool and, in telling the story, you get so tongue-tied that you end up saying something along the lines of, “well, you just have to experience it for yourself?” That marketing message certainly won’t go viral! Make it easy to share your message by giving your customers the language to put to the experience.
3. How do you reward your customers?
Consumers want to feel special and valued. There is a certain altruistic value in being the first person in your crowd to know about a really cool product. But you can add rewards to motivate your customer further. These can be “soft” rewards or perks like a free membership that gives them advance access to discounts and fun news. Social rewards recognize customers publically. You can highlight a testimonial publically or simply connect with customers on twitter or Facebook to help them feel like an important part of your community.
4. Do you really, really know your target customer and where to reach them?
A grassroots campaign depends on community. Where do your customers hang out online (and in person)? National organizations, community groups, high-profile blogs and online communities are important to your campaign. Get your networks in place well before launching your company or a new product. Find your evangelists and give them a reason to generate buzz. Invite them to test the product or service for free. Ask them for feedback and reward them for it with further incentives and recognition. If they feel like valued insiders they are likely to tell the world about you and your product.
5. Are you giving your customers a reason to keep coming back?
New products, exciting sales, fun contests, and novel marketing campaigns make people want to return for more. Your audience will naturally generate buzz if you give them a reason to talk about you, offer them a good laugh with a fun video, or touch their hearts through a program that gives back. If you stand above the rest you will create a crowd of supporters–and loyal consumers.”