Though the National Football League and Major League Baseball dominate the two top spots in sports’ fans popularity, the National Hockey League sits firmly in the number six slot, according to the Harris Poll. Playoff hockey is in full-swing and its fans are among the most loyal in the world of professional sports. Why? It’s a cold-weather, indeed, winter-centric sport, which is loved in snow-laden countries. But, it has fans all over the country and even a Florida team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, are contenders. The reason lies in the same basic principle as consumer love for the iPhone, Star Wars, and Disney World — the league retains a loyal fan base.
Playoff Hockey Shows How to Build a Loyal Fan Base
Most experienced marketers know it’s vital to create loyal fan base. It’s not enough to offer a valuable product, service, or combination. A business must build trust with consumers and this dynamic facilitates a relationship. Repeat customers and client referrals are the crown jewel of most businesses. It’s these big benefits companies aspire to obtain and enjoy. The reason is simple, as the nearby quote explains, 80 percent of business is derived from just 20 percent of its paying customers.
One of the keys to maintaining a thriving business is a steady customer base. A successful company typically sees 80 percent of its business come from 20 percent of its customers. Add to this the fact that the cost of attracting new customers is significantly more than that of maintaining a relationship with existing ones, and you have a powerful incentive to keep that core group of customers happy. Yet too many businesses neglect this loyal customer base in pursuit of new customers. —All Business.com
Yet, it’s still all-too-tempting and irresistible to focus on pursuing new business from new customers or clients. However, the key to succeeding in business is to retain current customers or clients. These people are the ones who make it possible to thrive. But, it isn’t possible to do this without creating true fans. Customers must feel and believe your brand is valuable and when they do, they will become ambassadors. Here are some suggestions for how to build a loyal fan base:
- Let customers know what you do for them. It’s not impolite or even improper to let your customers know what you are doing for them. It’s more about the content and delivery than the actual work you do. Email a newsletter, send a message, or give them a call and mention something you’ve done which they will appreciate. Do it with a grateful attitude and a positive tone.
- Give follow-ups a personal touch. For some industries, there’s no substituting a personal touch. A brief phone call or visit are great ways to stay in-touch and develop a better relationship. Done periodically, this can be a wonderful multiplier but don’t overboard. Be genuine, pithy, and show your thankfulness.
- Be sure to remember special occasions. An age-old business practice, but one that’s certainly worthwhile is to remember special occasions. A small gift card, greeting card, or an inexpensive but personal token are terrific ways to bolster a relationship.
- Share valuable information. When you come across something a customer would find valuable, share it with him or her. Send a message, email, leave a voicemail or speak over-the-phone. Sharing information shows you care and have an interest in what interests him or her.
How have you created a loyal fan base? What’s your experience in gaining repeat customers and client referrals? Please join the discussion by sharing your thoughts.