So, of course, by keeping existing customers in the fold and, in turn, saving some of those marketing dollars spent on reeling in new ones, brands can give their books a big bump toward the black. And if they can take the next step and turn their loyal customers into passionate consumers who actively spread the good word about their products and services, recommending them to friends, family and acquaintances, they’ve realized the holy grail of marketing — brand advocacy.
High on the list of the most powerful consumer motivators around, brand advocacy has minimal costs for a brand once it’s attained. And in a bit of good news for outdoor brands, whose consumers tend to be especially passionate (and vocal) about the brands they love, it can be an especially powerful tool in the outdoor industry.
So how can your outdoor brand foster consumer loyalty and, over time, even develop brand advocacy among its existing customers? Consider these seven TBA Outdoors-recommended tactics for driving customer loyalty:
1. Connect authentically
However you communicate with your customers — whether it be via paid advertising, in-person events, emails, postal mailers, your social channels, or other avenues — make sure your messaging is authentic. From the topics you choose to cover to the tone of your content and the photos you use, ensure that all are fits for your brand and your audience. Especially in the outdoor industry, consumers who are passionate about their pursuits tend to be very knowledgeable about them — and they can sniff out inauthentic messaging from a mile away. Be sure to speak their language when you communicate with them, and do so in a tone that reflects your brand’s personality. If you “keep it real” in your communications, your customers will develop a stronger connection to your brand, and could even become brand advocates over time.
2. Communicate continuously
Especially in today’s hectic marketplace, where consumers are hit with messaging across a multitude of platforms and throughout all hours of the day, it can be easy for a brand’s messaging to get lost in the shuffle. While of course being careful not to overdo it to the point of becoming annoying, brands need to maintain a regular flow of communications mixed across all of their marketing channels, both owned and paid. It’s especially important — and cost-effective — to maintain fresh posts on your social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, all of which can help you keep your consumers engaged with your brand and top of mind when the time to make a purchase rolls around.
3. Always add value
In all of your communications and at all customer touchpoints, aim to enhance your consumers’ life and lifestyle, especially in areas related to your brand and what it does. On your company’s blog and across its social channels, serve up articles and posts that provide your consumers with tips and guidance on how to use your product or service more effectively. In addition, use your communications to highlight experiences, tools and tactics that can enhance your customers’ lives, especially in the area where your offerings reside. A great example of doing all of these things can be seen in TBAO client FIREDISC, whose blog and social pages regularly include cooking tips and recipes, all of which are rounded out by lifestyle-enhancing programming and entertainment on the brand’s Fired Up Friday and Fired Up Live.
4. Offer exclusives
Few things are better at making your customers feel special and appreciated than offering them exclusive experiences and special treatment. So try to constantly keep them in the know with insider info like sneak peeks at new company offerings, behind-the-scenes looks at your company and its people, first alerts when company news arises, etc. Other ways to make your customers feel like brand insiders — and in turn foster their potential to become brand advocates — include exclusive special incentives and offers, owner-exclusive events and Facebook groups, and personalized communications that show that you know who they are and care about them.
5. Keep it interesting and exciting
One sure way to get customers engaged is to give them a chance to win prizes that fit their passions and lifestyle — and contests and giveaways can do just this, all while creating opportunities for the brand to harvest leads and build connections. Further, contests are a great way to build on the “add value” tactic mentioned above by introducing consumers to complementary brands that can enhance their lives.
A great example of this can be seen in the Ultimate Duck Huntin’ Giveaway contest presented by TBAO client frogg toggs, which served as a way to partner with like-minded brands like On the Deck Outfitters, Benelli, FIREDISC, Mojo, Kicks, Duck Commander, Igloo, Federal Ammunition, Final Approach, SportDOG, Primos, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Blue Otter Polarized, Tetra, Rob Roberts Upfit, and MoMarsh, all while upping the excitement level for participating consumers, deepening their connection with the brand and introducing them to other related products and services that they are likely to enjoy.
6. Appeal to consumers’ shared values
No matter what product or service a brand offers, there’s likely to be some sort of common thread among its consumers when it comes to the things they appreciate and value in society. For outdoors enthusiasts, this shared community interest might revolve around outdoor initiatives related to wildlife preservation, the sustainability of fishing waters, and similar efforts. Whatever the shared interest, consumers are sure to appreciate it — and develop a stronger connection to a brand — when the brand demonstrates efforts to further charitable causes revolving around the common interest. TBAO client FIREDISC employed this tactic — and supported a cause it strongly believes in, along with helping first responders in its local community — earlier this year when its founders personally donated and delivered its signature cookers to a number of fire departments in its hometown. To further the appeal of the charitable efforts to the brand, the company also generated some great press coverage for their company and their product while they were at it.
7. Reward loyalty
There’s a good reason nearly all major companies offer some sort of loyalty program to consumers who keep coming back to them — it’s because the tactic works. When consumers are rewarded for making additional and larger purchases with a brand, they tend to more regularly choose the brand over the competition, and over time even develop a hard-to-break bond with the brand. Whether it’s discounts for repeat purchases, freebies once a certain number of purchases are made, or special offers just for joining and participating in a loyalty program, the consumer appeal these advocacy-developing initiatives deliver typically makes them a smart move for a brand.
Could your outdoor brand benefit from the kind of professional marketing guidance that boosts brand loyalty and even builds brand advocacy? At TBA Outdoors, our fully integrated marketing firm boasts a team of seasoned specialists (and outdoors fanatics) who can cover brand strategy, social media, e-commerce and much more — including web design, creative, interactive web development, PPC, analytics, path analysis, conversion rate optimization, Amazon and Walmart sales, and SEO — all in one place. And as certified brand strategists, we can also help you with the macro-level business evaluation and focus shifts that are sometimes needed put your outdoor brand on a course to long-term success.
To get started with professional assistance ranging from a simple web-store analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost your outdoor brand’s overall performance and identity, contact us today.