One of the most difficult parts of growing a business is creating a strong, sustainable brand image. Too many businesses believe that they can earn customer loyalty with a single ad, even if the customer has never heard of them before. Unfortunately, converting potential customers is going to be a larger investment of your time and marketing resources. On average, a brand needs to engage with a new customer seven times before converting them into a buyer.
This can present a challenge for companies in industries with long sales conversion turnover periods. In the real estate sector, customers often won’t make a purchase for six months. Real estate agents may have trouble maintaining a relationship with their customers long enough to close a sale. They may engage with customers at the beginning of their sales journey, but the customers might forget about them and find another agent when they are finally serious about making a purchase.
There are different ways that you can connect with customers over an extended period of time to earn their brand loyalty. The best approach is to find subtle ways to remind customers about your brand every day. Here are some strategies that you should try.
Be an active member of your community
There are a number of reasons that companies participate in philanthropic activities in their community. They may partially be motivated by the sincere desire to improve the lives of people in their area, but they also realize that community service is great for branding. If you work with a local Rotary group or other nonprofit, then you can participate in a number of activities that help nurture your brand image. Customers will share about your company more frequently and be more likely to think about it when they need services in your industry.
Offer products and promotional gimmicks
One of the first business books I ever read was Marketing for Dummies. One thing that really stood out in that book was the exceptional ROI of promotional products, such as pens and T-shirts with the company brand image on it.
The benefits of these products are twofold:
- They are a very cheap way to get your brand name out. You can produce a pen with your company insignia on it for $0.50. Paying for a billboard off the side of the highway would cost around $1000 a week even in a Midwestern city like Milwaukee.
- Customers will see your brand almost every day. This helps reinforce your brand image in their mind, even if it is mostly subconscious.
You don’t even necessarily need to create fancy products for your promotional strategy. One option is to simply offer prepaid cards. As long as customers have them in their wallet, they are basically a billboard in their pocket.
Get your priorities right when you use social media
Social media is another popular way to connect with previous, existing and potential future customers. The number of companies that have incorporated social media into their branding strategies over the past 10 years has surged.
Unfortunately, many companies struggle to get any real value out of their social media marketing strategy. The biggest problem is that they often focus on the wrong priorities. I have seen dozens of companies try to argue that their social media strategy is working, because they have earned a lot of likes or followers. A number of them even go so far as to pay for fake likes and followers, because they believe that customers are going to make purchases based on these metrics. These brands often neglect to update their social media properties, so their messages actually go stagnant.
The reality is that those types of metrics aren’t very well correlated with your social media marketing ROI. The purpose of social media should be to reinforce your brand image. You want to make sure that you get your message out to customers regularly, so they will stay familiar with your brand. It doesn’t matter how many followers you have if you are social media accounts have not been updated for months.