“Tesla Motors’ cult-like following has catapulted the electric car upstart into a global market flush with adoring fans.”
This quote appeared in an article in USA Today. The article states that Tesla has some of the most loyal customers since Apple. What’s more it has the highest owner-satisfaction score Consumer Reports has seen in years.
How do they do it? They rely heavily on referrals.
Running a daily deal on a site like Groupon is a great way to build a cult-like following for your small business. It gave my coffee and smoothie business a base of loyal customers that have been repeat – and profitable – customers for years.
Loyalty like Tesla and Apple have achieved is impressive because these days loyalty is difficult to obtain. Consumers are more fickle and less likely to choose a brand for life.
Most don’t know or give little thought about how to create strong bonds with their customers. Very few end up with customers for life.
But the perks are huge for those who do.
Loyal customers consistently come back and buy again and again and again.
They stay with you despite price increases.
They become strong advocates of your product or service or even you—referring you to others frequently—both within their social circle and online through social media.
One reason Tesla, Apple, and other brands achieve this type of lifelong loyalty is because they understand that the single most expensive thing for them to do is to get a new customer. Look, I know you don’t have the marketing budget of a Tesla or Apple to go get new customers. And that’s a great reason to run a daily deal on a site like Groupon. There’s no upfront cost. Nothing will give you the reach and exposure to get new customers than running a daily deal.
Once you get those customers in though, you’ve got to keep then. And not knowing how to create loyal customers that stick around for years and years is the single biggest barrier that keeps most small business owners from making lots of money
Here are the 8 ingredients for building a following:
1. Understand & Reach Fans — Who gets the most excited about what your business offers or does, and is always first in line to pay? You need to know who your top evangelists are and figure out what makes them tick. It’s crucial to know what they love and hate, and which channels are best for reaching them (blogs, forums, events, Facebook, etc). Make sure you take time to understand who your ideal customer is. When you figured out who they are, ask them questions to find out what they like and dislike (not so much about your specific business, but about “what” it is you offer). This is important both for designing your product or crafting your service, as well as deciding how to package and market your business.
2. Develop a Strong Persona or Pitch — It’s critical to be able to tell a good story around your product or brand. Our brains work well with stories, especially those that evoke strong emotions such as fear, surprise, anger or desire. It is important to really understand what pain you are solving people; then you can work on developing a clear and concise message around what you’re selling. The stronger the message you can create, the more evangelists you will have backing you. I spend a lot of time teaching this in the Daily Deals for Massive Profits Training Program. In my coffee and smoothie business I could say “We offer catering of coffees and smoothies….” OR I could say “We deliver the Aloha Spirit with tikitenders who blend gourmet all-natural fresh fruit smoothies to order topped off with a Hawaiian parasol. No wonder people call us a “vacation in a cup!” — Now which one do you think the customer will be more excited about, pay more, and brag to their friends about?
3. Stand Out in the Crowd — Today few products and services are actually new or drastically different, so your business needs to play to its uniqueness. What makes you special or unique? Are you the only personal trainer who consistently works unusual hours to meet your clients’ busy schedules? Maybe you’re the only coffee shop who imports those strange but delicious cookies from Lebanon with the pistachios? Learn whatever it is that makes you special — determine what you do that your customers really appreciate and value above your competition and play it up.
4. Have a Valuable Superpower — Make sure you are awesome at something which people strongly value. This doesn’t mean being perfect at everything and having a million great features, but rather owning one or two specific areas as much as you possible can. Better yet, just focus on one thing for now, and you will be more effective at being the most wonderful business to do so. It is important to make sure this feature or service is something your customers actually appreciate though. Even if you have the most delicious muffins in your entire county, if your customers don’t like muffins or they don’t feel like they are relative to your business, then this isn’t the value to focus on. Your superpower should be related and complimentary to your core business. If you are a gym, maybe your value is having the best machines, most flexible hours or most attentive trainers — not keeping the most books or magazines.
5. Be Elite — There’s something about what you can’t have that makes you want it that much more. It’s not logical, but it’s a strong human response. Say that you have a limited number of slots or that people need referrals to join, and suddenly you become scarce and exclusive. Urgency can greatly drive business and sales. This doesn’t work for all products and markets, and can also backfire if it doesn’t seem credible, but making your brand appear elite can both increase your margins and make growth faster. There is truth that relatable products that can be sold to the masses can make a large amount of money due to sheer volume, but these operations are not easy to scale, and they have great expenses for marketing and other logistics challenges.
6. Strong user engagement — Regularly engage your clients either online or offline. Maintain an active presence in social media and online as you form your tribe so they can get to know you. The more they can connect to you, the greater loyalty they will have to you and your business. Blogs and webinars can be a great way to keep communicating with your fans as you develop relationships, but regular emails are also very effective. Events are another useful offline strategy to grow interest and build a community because they facilitate a type of live interaction that is hard to duplicate online.
7. Focus on a niche — Focus is key in all matters of effectiveness. Early on it is important to direct your efforts toward a particular niche in which you can find your early cult followers. This is where your tribe will grow from. If you are offering services for artistic people, rather than trying to cater to all types of creative’s, from knitters to oil painters, you should choose a specific group to target first, such as sculptors, or perhaps graphic designers. Narrower targeting allows you to be more successful in making your clients happy. You can always expand your business, but it’s better to start small early on so you don’t get too distracted and spread thin.
8. Make Sharing and Showing-off easy —People are social creatures. They crave a sense of belonging, and they love to gloat. Creating swag either offline or online is an easy way to grow your brand. Not only can it be a way to make money, having cool and unusual swag is free marketing that will set you apart from the rest. Even having reusable and difficult to dispose shopping bags can serve as free advertising. Make something awesome enough and people will clamor for your goods and services just to get their hands on the extra swag. In addition to shirts, pins, stickers and the usual booty, creating cool sharable online content can serve as your own digital swag. Great blog posts, branded meme photos and funny videos can sometimes go viral if they’re done really well. Empower your cult following by creating the amazing content or swag that they are dying to brag about with their friends.
If you can successfully connect with people, they will be more likely to become and remain loyal customers, since they have developed an emotional bond to your business. This is especially true when they feel a sense of belonging and ownership. Taking small steps in this direction will help you foster a strong community, which pays off big over time.
There you have it. Eight strategies you can put in place today to build a cult-like following when you run a daily deal. If you liked this post and really want more, check out my video, “Ring, Ring, Ring . . . . New Customers Await To Do Business With You”
And if you want to know all of the secrets to doing a daily deal the right way – the secrets that took my business from $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business then check out the Daily Deals for Massive Profits Training Program:
About Stacey Riska
Stacey Riska, aka “Small Business Stacey” is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about helping small and local business owners get MORE: MORE leads, MORE customers/clients, MORE sales, and MORE money. She transformed her coffee and smoothie business from being $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business by using daily deal marketing. Now she teaches others how to skyrocket their business growth and get massive profits. When not saving the small business world, she enjoys sipping red wine, eating chocolate (who doesn’t!) and spending time with her amazing husband.