Let Your “Regulars” Do Your Work

Ok, so I had a great (and effective) marketing tactic used on me this morning. I’m a relatively new coffee/espresso drinker, but I noticed pretty quickly that the barista at this new, non-[major franchise] shop had forgotten the hazelnut syrup I had requested. But, because I still need my sugar fix, I turned around at the end of the parking lot and went back in with the intention of just grabbing a few sugar packets rather than making a fuss. The barista recognized me though, and I felt compelled to mention the oversight. He apologized emphatically and added the syrup; which is really the best I would have hoped for.

The manager, however, overheard the exchange and stepped in to offer me a free sandwich for the error; which, to me, seemed excessive, but an extremely gracious gesture that was good for his up-and-coming business. I protested slightly, but then he hooked me by saying, “Really, it’s fine – you’re a regular.” Now, I’ve only been in this shop four times (granted, three of them were this week), so I’m hardly a “regular.” But, by calling me one, I now felt pressured to actually BE one. On top of that, I was quick to mention the experience to the first person I ran into this morning. I’m spreading the word.

Here at Viget, we strive every day to not just get people to our clients’ sites, but to make them “regulars” on those sites. We propose marketing and social strategies, blogs, content revisions, and design updates to grab people, draw them in, and, hopefully, keep them coming back for more. But, in a fickle, ever-changing online world, how can we ensure that we’re connecting with our core audience? We’ve written before about ways in which customer service and brand personality effect online experiences, but allow me to add another case study to the list.

The Lefsetz Letter focuses largely on the music industry; but, in a post this week, Bob Lefsetz recounts an experience he had with one of my personal favorite e-commerce sites for outdoor gear.

I immediately received an e-mail confirmation that said "Get stoked - most items ship within 24 hours." That’s how they talk on the hill. But most e-commerce sites use the traditional phrases, vetted by attorneys to avoid any and all lawsuits. These companies are not run by humans, but computers. Just try to complain when you’ve got a problem. And then, three hours later, came another e-mail. With the above quote. Yes, "Holy crap. Your stuff just shipped." Wasn’t I supposed to wait ten days for them to make money on my money? They ship within twenty four hours? But what truly sold me was the irreverence. Real people work at Tramdock.com. Or at least real people wrote the computer scripts.

And those are the keys. Mr. Lefsetz was not only able to make that connection between the company that was trying to make money from him and the people who are actually behind that company, but they exceeded his expectations as well.  So with a necessary focus on keywords and SEO to get people to our sites, how do we bridge the gap between marketing and personality in order to keep them there?

Bob closed with this:

Play to your core. If you deserve to be bigger, your fans will spread the word. And don’t be afraid of offending those not in the loop. They don’t matter.

In the end, he “gets” what I “get” about this site. Backcountry gear isn’t for everyone, so why try to speak to everyone? Find a voice that speaks to your core audience, exceed their expectations, and your “regulars” will do the work for you.

Easy enough, right?

Todd Bayliss

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Posted in Article Category: #Design & Content
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