Developing an Emotional Connection with your Customers
Creating valuable and lasting customer relationships mostly relies in developing a strong emotional connection between your brand and your target audience: this would greatly increase both your customers’ loyalty and the volume of your sales.
Making buying decision with a rational approach, evaluating aspects like features and financials, is just a small portion of the customers lifecycle: research shows that over 50% of an experience is based on emotions and that customers expect to be “positively, emotionally and memorably impacted at every level of their commercial existence” (Pine and Gilmore, The Experience Economy).
As emotions drive decisions and behavior, creating a positive emotional connection with your audience can influence the length and frequency of the customer’s engagement.
Emotional connection can help you gain customer ownership and build customer retention, loyalty and repeated business opportunities. It can boost sales, reputation, brand equity and positive virality too.
Lots of brands are claiming to deliver meaningful customer experiences, while what they are doing in fact is just making transactions with their clients. The key to customer loyalty is developing relationships with them: interact, engage and connect emotionally.
As Gallup Organization stated: “If you do not make an emotional connection with customers, then satisfaction is worthless.”
In a recent Forrester Research survey, 89% of consumers declared to feel no personal connection to the brands they buy: over time, this has a dramatic effect on sales and churn rate.
Meanwhile, businesses that optimize an emotional connection outperform competitors by 26% in gross margin and 85% in sales growth.
In fact, emotionally engaged customers are:
- At least 3 times more likely to recommend
- 3 times more likely to re-purchase
- Much less price sensitive
- Less likely to shop around
But how do you capture your customers’ hearts and minds?
Every brand innovation campaign should start with how you want to make your customers feel. For instance, Apple usually aims to elicit emotions like delight, surprise, connection, and love.
If you think at marketing as a way of driving transactions, your customers will ran away: work out to create relevant experiences that delight consumers across their product interaction journey.
What you should focus on, step by step is:
- Emotional connection
Understand your market: develop target personas for your marketing campaign, being sure the information you are going to deliver are relevant for them.
Approach your customers with empathy: respect them, put customer experience service at the forefront of your sales and marketing strategies.
Listen to them: encourage them to leave their feedback and rely on psychology and new technologies to gather meaningful information about their behavior. In the era of digital and big data, synthesizing and segmenting information is essential when you want to understand your customers.
Our world is digital and social: consider these features not just as channels, but as a mindset.
Interactions need to be omnichannel too: on and offline, multi-device, 24/7. You can create several touchpoints along the full customer journey, before, during and after the customer experience.
Use them as small interactions with a high value. They can provide information such as customer behavior and personality, capture your audience’s emotional feedback (sentiment, mood, affective reaction) and reviews. At your disposal there are new generation of tools, able to be smart, emotional, engaging, touch.
Social media can be one: instead of using them to push your product, value them as a positive way to get in touch with your audience and share rewarding content.
Keeping your customers in the loop on new offers and upcoming events is important too, and an opportunity to make them feel relevant for your business.
Now you have the tools to engage with your customers: the knowledge of your audience and the way to get in touch with them.
You can appeal to the emotional side of your customers by interacting with them in a motivating way, standing for something, sharing the same set of values. In a nutshell, being empathic, possess human qualities and interact with people with humanity.
As how a company makes us feel determines our opinions about it and our buying decisions, try to leverage positive emotions, self-identification and word of mouth.
Take also into consideration that customer satisfaction alone doesn’t count: according to Gallup research, satisfied customers with no commitment to the brand are usually motivated just by purchase rewards and discounts. This type of customer loyalty is not made to last and could not be profitable.
On the other hand, consumers who are fully engaged, that means extremely satisfied and emotionally connected to the brand, turn out to be truly loyal because emotionally attached to it.
Satisfaction without engagement is ineffective.
To accelerate your brand growth, it is critical then to identify if it’s building a positive emotional connection rather than a purely rational one.
As stated by Antonio Lucio, global chief marketing and communications officer at HP, “brands that are able to transcend the rational dimension of their product and build a place in consumers’ heart, will remain relevant for a long time”.
Our goal at MySmark is to facilitate the development of an emotional connection between businesses and their audience.
Have a look at our Demo proposal for Hotels and facilities:
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