Is your business struggling to build brand loyalty? Generating excitement around your brand, and turning your customers into repeat purchasers, can be one of the hardest parts of marketing. But, with new customers costing far more to acquire than the process of leveraging existing ones, growing a community is one of the smartest ways to drive sales with a high ROI.

Cornwall-based Digital Marketing agency, Peaky Digital, can help you find out how small and medium businesses can maximise engagement, position themselves as an industry leader, encourage repeat purchasers and more – all without a huge marketing budget.

Step One: Identify Your Audience

Understanding who your audience members are is key to forming your community. What do the people that interact with your brand look like? What are their unique pain points and challenges? Where do they shop? What TV programmes do they watch; what publications do they read? Building up a detailed profile of your customer is an essential part of designing content that they will respond to.

Customer personas don’t just have to be a guessing game, either – you can base it on real, rich data. Google Analytics is a powerful (and free) tool that tracks visitors to your website. They can give you a clear picture of the demographics of your audience, from their age and location, right down to the mobile device they use to browse the internet.

Step Two: Be More Than Just a Product

The key to building a community around your brand is to make sure that your customer sees you as more than just a product. You want to give them a reason to keep visiting your website, even if they’re not in direct need of your items.

Have a clear mission (and achieve that through living by your values)

Your brand needs something to stand for something. You need a mission; a ‘why’ for your business to exist that should go beyond selling products or services. Instead, think about the challenges that you solve for your customers. What are you passionate about changing in their lives?

Your values outline the beliefs that your business has in its daily operations. Are you transparent with your customers? Passionate about building something? Innovative in new discoveries?

Identifying your values will help your audience understand your business ethos and get on board with your vision.

Position yourself as an industry leader

Become the authority in your sector. Write about your expertise, shout about your accreditations and provide your audience with rich insights into your industry specialism. Creating a content hub is the perfect way to make yourself stand out from competitors – writing on a range of topics related to your audience’s interests. Not only will your customers appreciate the knowledge you provide, it will also give them a reason to keep visiting your website.

Remember, Google’s EAT algorithm (Expertise, Authority, Trust), is centred around your credibility. So be sure to fill your website with detailed information as to why you are the expert in your field. Author biography pages are a great way to do this; make sure you link them up to the articles that you’re publishing on your website.

Stuck for content creation ideas? Try thinking about popular dates and cultural events that might affect your audience. Is it a national day of interest soon? Is there a release of a new entertainment show that everyone’s talking about? If you’re looking for more ideas, you can also get inspiration from free tools like Google Trends and Answer The Public.

Step Three: Outline Your Touchpoints

Think about the interactions that your audience has with your brand. How can you enhance them? Every time your customer interacts with one of your touchpoints, your brand becomes part of their daily life. That’s why it’s important to wow and leave a lasting impression in their mind. Touchpoints could include a range of channels and experiences, such as:

  • Marketing leaflets or posters
  • Billboards
  • Social Media adverts
  • Email newsletters
  • Downloading a brochure
  • Email automations
  • Google Ads
  • Contacting your team
  • Reading a product review
  • Renewing a subscription
  • Attending a product launch

Make a list of every touchpoint your customer has with your brand; from the moment that they’re first aware of your business, right through to conversion (and even after during the post-purchase phase). How can you improve each of these interactions with your brand?

Step Four: Create Excitement Around Your Brand

Getting your audience excited about your brand is a key part of keeping you firmly in their thoughts. There are a number of ways to generate a buzz around your company – many of which don’t even need a lot of creative thought put behind them:

  • Run a Get your audience to share a story related to your product to win a prize, or even just tag their friends and family!
  • Offer a referral Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful ways to market your business, so incentivise your customers to talk!
  • Get some press coverage. This doesn’t have to be a big, creative campaign with a huge budget – think about the stories and assets that you already have available to Is your business doing something new and disruptive in the industry? Do you have any unique customer data that could create a news article? Or can you add an expert opinion to an existing news story that has been recently released? YouGov is a great place to find data studies that can be used to create an angle for a press release that you can add your knowledge to.
  • Stand for something. Design a campaign around an issue that impacts your industry. Give your campaign a recognisable name that can be used in imagery and assets. You could even partner with a charity or organisation to help bring awareness to your
  • Tease new products and service Build hype by creating content during the build-up to a new launch.

Step Five: Build Your Community on Social Media

One of the most effective places to build your community is across Social Media. These platforms were designed to engineer conversations – which is exactly what your brand wants to nurture between existing customers and prospective shoppers.

Involve your audience

Rethink your approach to posting on Social Media. Are you just putting out posts without involving your audience? Pose questions to your users. Ask them what content they want to see. Get their opinions on the latest industry news stories. Cultivate a conversation. Encourage users to tag their friends and family, or to share your content. Building your community is about creating a thriving hub of discussion, which users are excited to participate in.

Utilise user-generated content

You don’t have to do it all alone. The biggest asset of a community is its members, and you should be utilising yours to bank huge quantities of imagery, video, quotes and more. Not only is user-generated content a quick way to build a bank of assets, it also allows other customers to relate to your product or service. A post from another user can help them understand how the product could change their lives, and allow them to see it in a real-life environment. Besides, hundreds of minds are better than one – your customers may have ideas for your brand that you’ve never thought of before!

Be present

There is an expectation from customers that if you have a Social Media profile, you will be present on it. Make sure that you’re regularly posting across your channels, and that you respond to all comments and messages promptly (especially the negative ones – you want to show other customers your positive and proactive approach to resolving issues). If you’re unable to monitor your profiles regularly, then consider setting up an automated responder which can tell recipients when they can expect to receive a reply.

Grow your audience

Don’t just wait for users to find you – reach out and grow your audience. Social Media channels have a number of ways to find new users who match your target demographic. From using Instagram hashtags and Twitter hours, to putting a small budget behind a page likes campaign on Facebook, you should invest time into locating new audiences to grow your profile following.

Step Six: Think About Other Digital Touchpoints To Nurture A Community

It doesn’t just stop at Social Media. There are a number of other areas you can tailor towards providing an online digital community experience. See some of our top examples below:

#1 Automatic email workflows

Make your emails work harder for you. An automatic email flow is the perfect step-by-step way to guide users through a funnel from first-time website visitor to loyal community member – all without having to lift a finger.

Automatic email flows are created when you design a set of email templates that are then triggered to release to a user upon meeting certain conditions. This could be a new website sign-up or purchasing something from your shop, or it could even be as simple as falling into a group that has a high or low email open rate. By triggering on these predefined actions, you can send an email that’s highly relevant to your audience. Someone who regularly shops with you could receive an email informing them when a new product has arrived in store, whilst someone who hasn’t visited your website for a while could be enticed back in with an exclusive discount code.

To warm users up to your brand, a welcome email series can be a powerful way to build your community. Users who sign-up to your database receive a chain of emails spread across a few weeks, introducing them to your brand, your mission, your USPs and some of your best-selling products.

#2 Website user experience

Your website is your online storefront – so make it somewhere people are eager to step into. A smooth, clear, hassle-free experience will create a domain that is friendly to visit, and that users want to revisit time and time again. In today’s digital age, there is an expectation of ‘immediacy’ from guests which you should keep in mind when designing your site. Give immediate information (concise copy), immediate communication (a live-chat feature or Q&A Virtual Assistant) and immediate conversion (a frictionless checkout experience, such as quick carts and Apple Pay). Create a beautiful website that caters to your community.

#3 Affiliate & referral marketing

Let your customers shout about your brand. Affiliate and referral marketing incentives are an effective way to encourage your community members to spread the word about your brand – and rewards loyalty in return. Giving credit per affiliate sale or offering a discount on a user’s next purchase are just two ways that you can deliver a scheme within your community.

Start Your Marketing Strategy Today

Are you looking to get support with a marketing strategy that will build brand loyalty and leverage customers into repeat purchasers? Speak to our experts today and learn more about our digital marketing strategies to transform your business. Get in touch on 01326330107 or fill out our contact form, here.