Do you know Seth Godin? Probably not personally, but you may have heard of him. He’s the author of 18 best selling books, has one of the most popular blogs on the net, and was inducted to the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame. If there’s anyone that knows about creating loyalty and getting people to act, it’s Seth.
The question is, how does he do it?
Let me tell you, it’s not through witchcraft, wizardry, or praying to the marketing gods, but by calculated precision actions that got him to where he is today.
Before we can talk about how he gets engagement and fierce loyalty, we need to define what loyalty is. And who better to describe it than Seth himself.
“Loyalty is what we call it when someone refuses a momentarily better option.”
This means that if you consistently offer the lowest price and have reoccurring customers, you don’t have loyal customers, you have smart ones. Loyal customers will continue to shop at your store despite you not having the best price, and they’ll keep coming back even after knowing about other options.
He goes on to explain two types of loyalty. The first is out of convenience. You like what you have, may look around at the competition, but when all’s told, you probably won't switch.
The second is the “I’m not even looking” type, who won’t entertain the idea of a switch, even when something better might be starting them in the face.
With convenience loyalty, brands are often building walls around their customer's them to lock them in, and prevent them from looking. Doesn’t sound like a great relationship to me.
The second type creates a strong bond between both the vendor and customer, as both are committed to each other. This is much harder to get, and the only way to do it is to earn it. The problem is, earning it is hard! So in this article we’re going to break down 8 things Seth Godin does to earn fierce loyalty.
1 - Getting permission
This may seem obvious, but getting permission is important. Not only for kids wanting to go on a field trip, but for nearly all aspects of marketing. The type of relationship you’ll create by asking permission to send someone an email is fundamentally different than sending them a message out of the blue.
Let’s explore the email example a bit more. Say you have a new company and want to let people know all about it. You could buy or scrape an email list online, but it’s most likely going to be low quality. Sure, you might get some sales here and there to make a quick buck, but it isn’t likely that you’ll grow a loyal tribe from it.
Think about it - you’re starting off on the wrong foot and annoying people from the start. It’s much harder to earn someone's trust after doing a questionable activity than asking for permission and maintaining that relationship.
2 - Being genuine
Do you have any store loyalty cards? Or maybe should I ask how many store loyalty cards do you have? Since you’ve been a loyal member, have they made you feel special?
Probably not. Nearly every store has a loyalty card, and will ask you on checkout if you want to sign up. But, the question is, will they miss you when you’re gone? Or even make an effort if you did sign up.
If you’re truly trying to foster loyalty and engagement then be genuine, and be yourself. Thank someone for signing up for your service with a heartfelt message, and do your best to make a connection with them. Whether you’re actually sending them an email, including a handwritten signature, or a goofy photo of yourself, people can tell when someone is making an effort, so always put your best foot first and talk from the heart.
3 - Relevant & personal messaging
We live in a digital age where hundreds of data points exist about each of us. Unlike just 10 years ago, when people barely knew anything about their customers, now you can know a lot.
As Uncle Ben put it:
Sure, he’s talking about Spiderman saving New York City, but this adage can be interpreted to digital marketing as well. As a smart business owner in this digital age it’s irresponsible to send the same generic message to 1000 different people, especially if you DO have information about them. As a wise digital marketer it’s your duty to only send relevant and personal messages.
Whether you’re running an e-commerce site and send someone a follow up after they abandoned their cart with the products they were browsing, or personally touching base as a SaaS ower checking in on your customers to make sure everything is going well. The more you can send relevant personal messages, the more loyalty you’ll foster.
4 - Don’t race to the bottom
Increasingly, more and more industries are racing to the bottom for the lowest price, the best deal, the most emails, and if you’re Walmart, then sure, that business model is working for you. But if you’re trying to garner a tribe of loyal engaged customers, then this is not the way to go.
People naturally assume that more expensive things are better quality. So no matter what kind of business you’re running, make sure the price not only reflects how much value the customer will receive, but how much you’ve put into it. Remember, people going to a store for the best price aren’t loyal customers, they’re just smart. The kind of customer you want to attract is the one that goes to the same grocer week after week because they value the experience and quality of the products, even when the same things are available for a better price.
5 - Give them something to talk about
In his best seller “Purple Cow” Seth explains how important it is to be remarkable these day. In the past, the old fashioned way of buying ads, putting yourself out there, and selling products was enough to make a good living, but these days it just doesn't cut the mustard.
You need to be special to make it today.
In the book he shows that 80% of the 30 newest entrants to Interbrand's top 100 brands were there not because of amazing ad campaigns, but because of word of mouth. It takes something special to get people talking about you, and companies like IKEA, Starbucks, Jet Blue and Google all succeeded in making something amazing.
And you can too.
By making “be remarkable” part of your companies foundations, you can automatically screen out the boring “brown cows”, whether they’re ideas, products, or employees.
6 - Get infectious
Making something viral is hard, but making something infectious isn’t (as hard), and with this formula, it might even seem easy.
All infectious products are:
-Easy to try and buy
-Easy to recommend
-For a defined community
-Part of a trend rather than a fad.
Implementing any of these into a business with a thorough plan is a serious task, but making sure moving forward to only implement good stuff isn’t as hard. If you move a boat 5 degrees it may not seem like much right now, but week after week you’ll see the difference. So take 2 minutes and think about what you change in your business to make it more infectious.
7 - Blog, prune, experiment, repeat
Anyone who is the best at something didn’t just fall out of bed and suddenly become the best. And Seth didn’t wake up one day, open his notebook, and pen a best selling book from start to finish.
Behind every success story are years of hard work.
This hard work is happening all the time, but real measurable improvements come from testing. The more you try new things to see what works, the faster you’ll improve.
Another reason why people love his blog posts is because he’s not trying to monetize it, and is very vocal that blogging shouldn’t be about the money.
If you’re blogging for a full-time income, then you have a job, not a passion. That isn’t to say that he’s against his blog leading to monetization like speaking engagements or book contracts. But when reading Seth’s blog there is never the sense that you’ll slip into a sales letter. You always know you’re going to get something out of his posts.
8 - Short and sweet
No one likes anything to be longer than it needs to. So when you visit Seth’s blog you’ll notice something different. Nearly all of his posts are short and get right to the point. Every one you read is a distilled nugget of something great, and not a long draw out piece of cyber fluff. He notices things, asks questions, and blogs the answer. Plus, he does it every day.
Coming up with a 2000 word article may be someone's cup of tea, but it certainly isn’t the way to create something remarkable. He focuses on quality over quantity, and lives by his own code of creating something worth sharing.
Want to create your own purple cow? You can download the Loyalty and Engagement checklist to make sure your product or brand is on track to being spectacular.