7 Strategies for Building Brand Loyalty with Events
Building a relationship with your customers is like any other relationship; it requires effort. Meaningful connections don’t happen overnight. They’re based on trust and that trust comes from showing you understand their plights and care about what happens to them.
The average internet user spends almost 2.5 hours per day on social networks. Despite the popularity of these platforms, 42% of users prefer face-to-face interactions.
While social media ads are still effective, they don’t provide the human experience consumers crave. Recognizing the need for more in-person communication, businesses are reallocating part of their budgets to branded events.
These events are an opportunity to communicate and connect on a human level. This connection builds trust, which in turn drives sales. In fact, 98% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase a company’s product after an event.
Considering this, you might wonder how you can use events to strengthen your brand. What can you do to attract new customers and keep your current clients?
Before we get into the “how,” we must first understand the “what.”
What is brand loyalty?
In today’s digital landscape, our social media timelines are filled with paid ads and sponsored posts. As a result, consumers have become weary. They are looking for more authentic and emotional connections based on shared values.
Brand loyalty is when a customer is devoted to a company because they have found that authentic connection they were looking for. They reward the company for its authenticity with unwavering dedication.
These loyal customers will purchase that company’s products or services over the competition’s. They also become a tool in the organization’s marketing strategy, providing positive word-of-mouth affirmations every chance they get.
But, exactly how can you create those authentic connections?
What is it that makes one business stand out when everyone seems to work just as hard for a consumer’s business?
For many organizations, the answer is branded events.
How can you build brand loyalty with events?
Also known as “experiential marketing,” a branded event is a way for organizations to connect with consumers on a more personal level. It’s a way for you to control the narrative and show consumers exactly who your brand is and what it stands for.
Branded events come in many shapes and sizes, including:
- Pop-up shops
What’s important is that you provide attendees with a meaningful experience; one that lets consumers get to know your brand, as well as the products or services you offer. Ultimately, attendees should walk away having put a face to the name.
This face-to-face interaction humanizes your company’s identity.
We’ve collected a list of 7 proven strategies to help you plan an event that will boost brand loyalty and provide a memorable experience.
1. Ask for their input
The best way to learn what would engage your customers at your event…ask them! While surveys are a great way to gather information, save them for after the event.
For pre-event input, ask several of your most loyal customers to help plan the event. This will provide you with valuable insight into what matters most to your customers. Those customers will also have a stake in the game, ensuring the best possible event. Or try custom checkout questions!
Pro-tip: Strengthen your brand’s loyalty by giving your customers the microphone. Invite them to share their stories and how your brand’s services/products add value to their lives. This will not only nurture your bond with existing clients, but will also influence others to trust your brand over the competition.
2. Get them excited
Get everyone excited about your event by hyping it up early.
Make an event of the on sale/registration date. Offer pre-sale registration and special giveaways to attendees who commit early.
Strategically announce special guests or activities leading up to the event. Encourage folks to register for event notifications and sign up for giveaways on social media. The anticipation will create buzz and lead to customer participation.
Pro-tip: Want to take it a step further? Consider calling giveaway winners. This may seem like a small gesture on your part, but a little personal attention goes a long way towards building brand loyalty.
Reward and incentivize loyal customers by offering them exclusive access or hosting invite-only events. Invite existing customers to a pre-event cocktail party, a behind-the-scenes tour, or offer VIP access.
The special attention sends the message that you value your clients’ business. When they think of your brand, it will evoke feelings of pride and positivity.
Pro-tip: Avoid making the rest of the crowd feel alienated by staging a “big reveal,” where attendees get a sneak peek at a new product or design.
4. Provide a networking space
Remember, the goal of this event is to build brand loyalty by adding value to people’s lives. What better way to do this than by helping them build professional connections?
For example, if your company sells business management software to startup companies, you could host an event that matches clients with potential lenders or investors. This shows you understand your clients’ unique needs and are committed to their success.
Pro-tip: Optimize these networking opportunities and ensure attendees get the most out of your event by enabling them to plan. An event app can help them map out a schedule ahead of time.
5. Personalize it
This approach requires careful thought and planning, as you will need to cater each event to the local market. For example, it might help to include a second language on signs and printed materials for one area, whereas another area may require sensitivity to cultural dress codes. This personal attention will go a long way in building brand loyalty.
Pro-tip: Don’t make the people come to you; go to the people. Host your pop-up at a location that your target audience frequents or that is convenient for them.
6. Give them something to look forward to
If an event is successful, this means you’ve struck a chord with your target market. Show your current and potential customers that you’re consistent by hosting events regularly. Whether you host annually, quarterly, or monthly, this gives them something to look forward to and will help them start recognizing your brand.
Pro-tip: You aren’t restricted to in-person events only. Events come in many forms, including exclusive social giveaways and virtual events. To reach a broader audience, consider hosting a hybrid event where people not local to the area can still attend.
7. Invite attendees to share their experiences
The event itself is just the first stage of experiential marketing. Now that you’ve shown your guests what you offer, encourage them to share their positive experiences.
Create an event hashtag and encourage attendees to share their pictures and to ask questions. Put one or two people in charge of responding to each post to show you value their support.
Pro-tip: As an added bonus, organize a hashtag contest. For example, the 75th person to use the hashtag or share a photo from the event wins a special prize.
Every organization and its customers are unique. But, all consumers want the same thing - to feel valued and appreciated and to trust the companies they give their hard-earned dollars to. A well-planned event drives brand loyalty and empowers current clients.
Loyal customers are compelled to let others know the impact you’ve made on their lives.