The warm fuzzies: Delight your audiences with a personal touch
We often talk about audience development being a relationship between you and your audience members. There are lots of things that can make up the different components of how a relationship functions. Communication, respect and trust are definitely some of the most important parts! Knowing what your audiences like and reaching out to them in a way that works for them should be a key strategy to developing your audiences.
Why it is important
Going above and beyond your audiences’ expectations as often as possible can have wide-ranging benefits. When you feel noticed, paid attention to and treated well, you’re likely to stick around - this is true for a relationship you have with a person, but also one you may have with an organisation! Inventive, warm customer service, freebies, discounts and attention are all some of the strategies you can use to make your audiences feel truly invested in your organisation. Let’s take a look at some of the commercial brands that are doing this right:
- Pizza Express offers customers a free bottle of prosecco (worth up to £25) on their birthday if they create a free, online account with them. What’s a nicer birthday surprise than a free bottle of bubbly?
- Toms exploded into public consciousness in 2006 with their ‘One for One’ business model - buy a pair of shoes and the brand gives a pair to a child in a developing or undeveloped country. This is such a feel-good offer for customers and has allowed the brand to positively impact over 100 million lives, giving shoes, sight, and safe water to people the world over. Don’t underestimate the power of allowing your audiences to give back to their community through you - it certainly worked for this international brand!
- Boojum have loyalty cards nailed. Now in app form, the app asks basic personal info to sign up and then invites you to allow them to send you news and discount offers direct to your email - a crafty way to bulk up your mailing list. The app allows you to scan your personal barcode each time you purchase a meal at a boojum store, with 10 stamps netting you a free burrito and 40 stamps getting you a free ‘boojum addict’ t-shirt. This idea isn’t new, but the addition of the t-shirt adds a competitive element to their loyalty scheme and adds power to their brand for everyone who wins a t-shirt and then proudly wears their spoils around town! Their marketing encourages an almost cult-like devotion along with their student-friendly prices, but that isn’t the whole story. They have cornered a gap in the market for burritos here but more importantly have centered all of their messaging, branding, pricing structure and comms directly on the consumers they are aiming to attract – students and young professionals. They are also very quick to respond to complaints via their social media, which indicates an interest in what their customers have to say and attention to detail. This ultra-precise focus on their target market, combined with freebie offers and warm customer service is a winning formula for the brand.
- L’Occitane gives out a couple of free samples with every purchase online. It’s always nice to receive something for nothing and it allows the brand to showcase other lines they have to offer to a huge proportion of their customers. L’Occitane is a luxury brand and can be pricey – this adds an extra touch of glamour to your free sample.
- Monki have an automated system via their mailing lists that sends you a personalised discount code on your birthday. This is a lovely surprise to wake up to in your mailbox and is a smart way to harness the power of your mailing lists to wow customers. Monki is also very good at representing a wide range of diverse models in their campaigns, showing that there is something for everyone to wear from this brand. This representation means customers can see themselves in the marketing material produced by the brand and know they’ll look great wearing their clothes! What’s not to like?
- Caffe Nero on O2 Priority allow all their customers the opportunity to pop in-store and get a free coffee by redeeming the voucher on their O2 Priority app. You’re automatically signed up to 02 Priority if you buy a phone with them, so there are no extra hoops to jump through for this offer. This deal previously only ran on a Thursday, but they’ve now extended it to run every day from Monday - Thursday. (02 Priority customers - thank me later!)
Although all of these brands are operating in a very different sector to our own, fear not! There are plenty of useful lessons to learn from these brands. Here’s what we think are the most important takeaways:
- Treat audience members like individuals, not like one of the herd. People want to be noticed, and you can personalise their visit with you via your mailing lists, by replying to them on social if they’re kind enough to talk about you online. Perhaps you can think of some other creative way to do this that works for your organisation!
- Take opportunities to enhance the customer experience whenever you can. All of these brands have used tried and tested marketing methods here, but what they have done well is adapt them to suit their own businesses. Birthday deals, loyalty cards, charity offers, personalised birthday emails and freebies are all something that most organisations would be able to tailor to their own offer. Free tea and coffees on arrival, a glass of wine for a birthday, discount birthday emails for ticketed organisations, lollies for children who come to visit. There are lots of different ways to tailor an offer to your own organisation that doesn’t break the bank.
- Use these opportunities to collect useful data on your audiences (if it’s appropriate!) You’ll notice that many of these brands allow access to their deals or freebies by first getting a customer to make an account. This is no accident! Brands can hook customers into their mailing lists by creating an account and then continue to keep up the conversation with these customers, potentially leading to more sales. Can you adapt this to your own organisation? Make sure you make it easy for audience members to access and sign up to your mailing lists. Ask audiences at the end of your purchase confirmations, bookings and event tickets if possible. Post your mailing list on social and remind people at every opportunity how valuable it is to be a member of your community.
- Take advantage of special dates - birthdays, anniversaries etc. Keep an eye on your ticketing systems and mailing lists and see if you can automate a simple birthday message to your loyal followers - you don’t need to attach a discount to this, sometimes it’s nice just to reach out, but a discount code or freebie would likely be well received too. Make sure your staff on the ground have the freedom to make someone’s day special if they are made aware that it’s a special occasion. Balloons or sweeties for children, free tea, coffee or a glass of something sparkly may be the answer here, but you can adapt this to suit your organisation.
- Everyone loves a free gift! It’s true, it’s always nice to be given something for nothing. Don’t worry if you don’t have a big budget to facilitate huge giveaways, it can be as simple as free crisps or light snacks or some sweets on your reception desk.