In our last blog, we talked about Social Proof, a powerful tool of influence in marketing your business.
Understanding human psychology makes it possible for you to market your business effectively. How we view commitment and consistency – and how we act upon those emotions – means you have a magic key that opens the door to loyal customers.
We have an overwhelming desire – bordering on obsession – to appear consistent with our decisions, especially those we’ve made public. As humans, we will stick with our choice even if others question our motives. Often, we become obstinate and inflexible when our choices are questioned, and defend our position even more strongly.
To appear inconsistent would be admitting we were wrong in the first place. In fact, once we make a decision, we most often rationalize the validity of that decision.
Political campaigns bank on this psychology. Once you make a small donation, you are much more likely to verbalize your support of a candidate. You are also very likely to make a larger donation at a later time. Once that occurs, you are convinced your decision is valid and it becomes a belief. A belief is nearly impossible to change.
You can use this human trait to promote your business.
Invite your followers to make a small commitment. It could be as simple as liking a Social Media post. Their pleasant experience and display of support makes them far more likely to sign up for your newsletter. From there, you can make offers for giveaways, loyalty programs, and get their testimonials.
The key, of course, is that you must follow-through. If you have a restaurant, getting people to like, comment and share your posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is a start. Once they visit, however, their experience had better live up to their expectations. If you are appropriately focused on food quality and exemplary service, you have an opportunity to solidify your relationship. After all, they have already ‘committed’ by commenting on your post – they actually want to like your restaurant before they even walk through the door.
Nurture this relationship! Just because they visited once and had a good experience doesn’t mean you can stop romancing them. Here are a few ways to create a long-term relationship with your guest:
- Social Media. Consistently posting (with yummy photos) things your audience wants to see. For some, it may be the extensive wine list you offer; for others, it might be food that reminds them of their childhood. At any given time, you should be addressing each of the ‘audiences’ your particular restaurant serves. The more targeted, the better. Don’t forget to reply to their comments – this is an opportunity to have a conversation. Do they give you a 5 star review but fail to say why? Ask! Often all it takes is you initiating the conversation to get great feedback that others will want to read.
- Ask for testimonials. People love to give their opinion. They feel flattered to be asked – it makes them feel important that you value their feedback.
- Produce a monthly newsletter. Be sure your content appeals to your audience(s) and you keep them apprised of all the events you have going on – dinner specials, wine tastings, community outreach, and even local happenings.
- Do – become their ‘go to’ source for local information
- Don’t – spam them or flood their inbox. They want consistent, relevant
- Create a loyalty program. Our desire for consistency and commitment makes us want to be part of a ‘tribe’. When we meet others who share a common interest, we form an emotional bond with them. As long as the get-togethers bring us pleasure, we want to repeat that feeling. It feels consistent, familiar and safe – like family. A great example of this is a monthly wine and food pairing event. Pay attention to what they want – and deliver. Does this group want fine wine? Terrific. Don’t serve anything mediocre at these events.
A word on using your Community Outreach to build loyalty. People love doing business with those who ‘give back’ – businesses who sincerely help others and in doing so help improve their local community. It’s perfectly legitimate to mention these on your website and on Social Media – especially with photos of those you help. You’ll seem more ‘human’ to those whom you haven’t met – and they’ll be more likely to trust and like you.
It’s essential to understand the difference between getting someone to visit your business once and cultivating a long-term relationship built on loyalty, reciprocity and trust. By putting the tools of commitment and consistency to work for you, it will be far easier to develop a large following of loyal customers who will help market your business – and that’s the key to your ongoing success.
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