Be Memorable and Stay That Way
If there’s anything to be learned from working with customers it’s that marketing, public relations, and everything else can be boiled down to one idea: cementing your place in your customer’s minds. No matter if you’re working on a public relations campaign or attempting to fix a customer’s problem, you’re trying to keep your business in their brain as long as possible.
The alternative, of course, is to be forgotten, which is essentially to go out of business. If nobody remembers you after they shop at your store they won’t tell their friends. They won’t brag about you online or at their church. When you’re barely an afterthought, nobody thinks to go into your store unless they happen to walk by.
This pursuit is why so many subscribe to the idea that “even bad PR is good PR.” After all, even though the talk is negative, at least you aren’t being forgotten, right? The end result is business owners grasping at straws to stay relevant which can drastically harm their company. So how do you stay positive yet stay important to customers?
It’s hard not to feel like you’re entitled in some way when you start up a new business. After all, you’re excited about it, so why shouldn’t everybody else be too? Especially those close to you – your friends and family should at least be pumped you’re striking out on your own.
The trouble is that can only last for so long. After that you’ve got to earn the respect and loyalty of your customers. You may pick up one or two customers during that initial “new car smell” phase, but after that you’re on your own. You have to figure out which direction to go that brings in new customers…and keeps them coming back.
Approach it like this: nobody WANTS to remember a store. You don’t go into a TJ Maxx or a mom & pop candle store expecting to love it forever. That happens when you encounter something unexpected that makes you go “whoa!”
For instance, I visited a souvenir shop in North Carolina last year. I’ve been in countless souvenir shops, so I wasn’t expecting to remember it at all. As I was checking out, though, I realized I had less than a dollar’s worth of stuff. I asked if I could use my credit card anyway and the lady behind the counter said, “No, but I’ll pay for it! Merry Christmas!” I’m likely to always remember that particular souvenir shop simply from that one moment.
Of course I’m not saying you should pay for all your customers’ items to gain their favor as your business won’t be in business very long. However, it’s more about that particular moment than the money or anything else.
The lady who did that for me had a moment – she could have just as easily told me to just go buy something else so I had enough stuff to use the card. However, in that moment she realized making a mark meant more than the change it cost her to pay for my stuff.
However, I was just one customer. The people who work in that shop make hundreds if not thousands of those same types of decisions every day. The same with your store – you have to make the very same decisions every time someone comes into your store (virtual or no). If you make enough of the right ones you could just end up with a very memorable place of business.
What do you do to keep your business top of mind with customers and potential customers?