(This is the fourth in a series) By Jim Augustus Armstrong Tribe building means to gather a group of customers, create personal connections with them and “wow” them. It means to invite your customers to be a part of something bigger than simply what you’re selling: to be part of a community.
So far, we’ve covered two of the three phases of tribe building: 1) before they purchase, and 2) during the sales process and installation. In this installment, I’ll cover tribe-building strategies you can deploy in phase 3: after the sale. The after phase is the most overlooked opportunity to build tribal connections. Very few dealers do any kind of regular communication with people who have bought from them.
Let’s look at some basic strategies you can deploy to create tribal connections with past customers.
Monthly printed newsletter. I’ve covered this strategy a number of times, so I’ll just summarize some key points. First, use the 90/10 formula in your newsletter: make it 90% fun, informative, relationship-building content and only 10% about flooring. This ensures people will open it, read it and respond to it. Second, include emotional triggers and customer-involvement devices such as contests, client of the month, thank you to returning customers, testimonials, etc. Third, send it monthly—like clockwork.
Dealers have asked me why not just email it? Why spend the extra money for printing and postage? Lots of reasons, but the bottom line is this: it works.
E-newsletter. You should also supplement your printed newsletter with an email newsletter sent two to four times per month. Why? Because even though the open rates and responses aren’t as good as printed newsletters, they still get results. Plus, they don’t cost anything to send out. Use the same 90/10 formula, just make the newsletter shorter—around 200 words or so.
Special events. Use special events to turn your showroom into a community hub. Everyone knows about after-hours sales, but what else can you do? Plenty, as it turns out. My good friend and fellow columnist, Lisbeth Calandrino, has written a great little book called “50 Events To Drive Traffic To Your Store.” I highly recommend getting a copy. Some ideas from the book include wine tasting, yoga classes and poker night. Invite your past customers and encourage them to invite their friends.
Social media. Certain social media channels can be excellent methods for building tribal connections. We do Facebook marketing for our flooring dealer clients, and we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, so here are some things to keep in mind.
First, remember this is tribe building. Use the same kind of tribal-building content you’d use in your newsletters. Make your clients the heroes. Post lots of photos of your clients and their testimonials. Congratulate them on their anniversaries, birthdays and when they have a baby, etc. Post videos and photos of your special events.
Second, we’ve seen over and over again that posts of products or displays get very low engagement. Keep those to a minimum.
Third, post consistently; three times a week is plenty.
Lastly, don’t stretch yourself too thin. It’s better to pick a platform and invest the time to implement it correctly than to do a half-baked job on a dozen different sites.
Jim is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides floor dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, close more sales, get higher margins and work the hours they choose. For information, visit flooringsuccesssystems.com