In order for your business to understand more about why customers buy from you today, and hopefully continue to buy from you tomorrow, you need to understand more about customer loyalty.
Loyal customers can be broken down into three very distinct groups: Let’s call them Followers, Fans, and Evangelists. A successful and growing brand needs all three types of customer in order to thrive.
Followers: Unless You REALLY Mess Up, You’ve Got Them For Life
“Followers” are the ones who buy your product or service no matter what. Times can be good, times can be bad, but they’re going to stick with what they know – and they know you. Followers are generally creatures of habit. It’s stressful for them to contemplate changing (after the initial stress of finding a suitable provider – i.e. you – in the first place). So rather than go through the hassle, the Follower will stay with you.
However, note a Follower is only with you because it’s convenient – for them. Yes, they’ll continue to buy from you. They’re choosing you for their own reasons.
Fans: They’ve Drunk Your KoolAid
Supposing things change with your business (as they always do). Supposing you get to a point where you’re forced to raise your prices. Perhaps the raw material costs have gone up, or maybe you can’t absorb spiralling distribution costs any longer. “Fans” are the customers that continue to buy from you even when you’ve increased your price. Fans see a real and tangible value in your business offering, over and above the raw costs in producing it. Fans are the one who buy into your company stance, your brand, whatever it is that (they think) you stand for.
Evangelists: The Classic Brand Advocates
Finally, there are your “Evangelists”. These are the people who will go out of their way to recommend your product or service to their friends, family – and even to their social media networks. They are your ambassadors – your brand advocates. Your brand has connected with them on an emotional level to the point that they are happy to put their reputation on the line by pushing your wares.
Evangelists are the ones who line up outside your store before it opens, to ensure they get your product before everyone else. They’re the ones who their friends turn to when looking for purchasing advice. They’re so passionate about your brand they feel a part of your business – as if they were employees.
However, not all customers are created equal. Most of your customers aren’t Evangelists, Fans – or even Followers. They’re simply customers who bought whatever it is that you sell.
So where do you go to get Followers, Fans, and Evangelists? Nowhere, because you can’t buy them.
Customer Loyalty Can’t be Bought. It Can Only Be Earned.
True Followers, Fans and Evangelists can’t be purchased, hired, sponsored or commissioned. They support you because they believe in you, your company, your product, your staff. The 360 degree customer value space.
Today, every company needs Followers, Fans and Evangelists. Without them, you’re simply selling a commodity without any intrinsic value and you’re doomed to compete solely upon price.
So how do you get Followers, Fans and Evangelists? You already know the answer to that one.