Online Reviews as the Lifeblood of Brand Loyalty

Online reviews

Reviews are the lifeblood of businesses online and traditional brick-and-mortar. According to Search Engine Journal,  70% of people claim they form an opinion of a business based on their online reviews, and 90% of respondents claim they read less than ten reviews total before forming an opinion.

With so many people relying on the reviews they find online, the top couple of reviews are crucial for your reputation. One way to analyze this data is with an excellent online review management software program to enhance your online presence. This analysis is fundamental, based on how customers form their opinions. Your business must thrive. To do so, cultivate excellent brand loyalty that will post great reviews of you, your product, and your service.

What Is Brand Loyalty?

Brand loyalty is best defined as your customers’ tendency to make multiple purchases of your goods and services over competitors. By creating brand loyalty you’re creating individuals to act as ambassadors with your brand and creating long-term customers.

There are three types of brand loyalists, the heart loyalist, the head, and the hand loyalist.

The Heart Loyalist

This type of person is dedicated to a particular product or service’s specific feature or benefit. Think about sustainability in packaging as a cause that motivates a heart loyalist. A great example of this type is Tom’s Shoes, the shoe company that addresses social causes and donates one pair of shoes to a needed child for every shoe purchased.

The Head Loyalist

The logic of their purchasing decision drives this type. A Head Loyalist will decide based on the best value or some other metric that makes logical purchasing sense rather than one driven by a core-value or additional altruistic value.

The Hand Loyalist

These are the most devoted of brand loyalists and stick to a specific brand regardless of a competitor’s value or other advantages, even when the competitor offers little-to-no risk for switching brand loyalty. Think about the person that only buys a Pepsi over a Coke and vice-versa. Regardless of the price or other offer that Coke could make, a brand loyalist will still only drink Pepsi.

Now that we understand the type of loyalist and where their loyalties stem from, the next step is in planning how best to curate them into an ambassador that is loyal to your brand.

Tips To Cultivate Brand Loyalty

Your strategy to create brand loyalists must think about the type of person, their motivations concerning your brand, and how they may think if you pivot or change your product.

As we discussed, hand loyalty type persons are the most loyal to your product and offerings even if you have to pivot or iterate your product (New Coke, anyone?). Whereas the other two types of brand loyalists, the heart and the head, each could have different reasons they are loyal to your brand, and there may be an external factor that breaks them away from their loyalty.

By targeting the hand loyalist, you ensure long-term fans, and those fans act as ambassadors by their reviews, recommendations, and word-of-mouth advertising to friends, family, and colleagues.

So now that we know the best type of individual to target as a loyalist, the question is, how do we create those loyalists?

The best advice to create long-term brand loyalists is to craft a strategy that incorporates a multi-pronged approach that focuses on customer service, create a brand story, add a loyalty “rewards” program, and engage fans on social media.

4 Ways To Create Life-Long Brand Loyalists

1.    Outstanding Customer Service

How your brand is perceived is directly related to your ability to provide the customer with an experience sourced by outstanding customer service. This service should be offered at the point of contact with your brand during all steps of the purchasing process and having incredible post-sales support.

2.    Create Your Brand Story

Having a story for your brand makes it easier to recognize and adherents to identify with as a part of their own identity. Think about the Gatorade commercials of the ‘90s that featured Michael Jordan. The iconic ad “Be Like Mike” showed Michael Jordan playing basketball against all types of people and always enjoying a Gatorade together while the melody played in the background. The compelling storytelling to “be like Mike” was embraced by men and women worldwide interested in the NBA star’s skills and charisma and made Gatorade inseparable from the greatness that was Michael Jordan.

3.    Add A Loyalty “Rewards” Program

The best example of a business growing brand loyalty is the Starbucks loyalty program. The app’s design is user friendly, designed to appear like a video game set-up, and there are several rewards built-in to the program. For every purchase, participants receive credits toward future purchases, random holiday gifts, and there’s even a free drink reward for a member’s birthday.

By creating a loyalty or exclusive membership program, you’re incentivizing users to return to your product and offering, as well as encouraging future membership, thus building your brand loyalty.

4.    Engage Your Customers On Social Media

One great way to build brand loyalty is to have social media accounts designed to interact with members and fans through different types of content. Hosting a party, contest, or other branding opportunities for participants, especially if there is a participation award, goes a long way to encourage brand awareness and loyalty.

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