Connecting With Customers: The Heart of Appreciation Marketing

The core of appreciation marketing is to show customers you care. Communication is how you do that. In appreciation marketing, regular communication of information that benefits the customer will help build mutual trust. In other words, appreciation marketing is about turning the vendor-customer relationship into a mutually beneficial and constructive partnership.

Regular communication is a key part of the appreciation marketing strategy. Here are some steps to help you get started.

Know Your Audience

Appreciation marketing means getting to know your market. That way, you know your customer’s needs and how receptive they will be to the products and services you can offer them.

The more you know about the market, the more effectively you can communicate, and the better and quicker you can build up that trust-based partner relationship. This requires you to do the work needed to understand the market, including:

  • their needs
  • their desires
  • their fears
  • what they like and what they don’t like
  • why should they care about what you’re saying or selling
  • their perception of your value proposition

Customers don’t buy products or services—they buy solutions to problems or challenges they face. For example, they might buy advertising to reach a new market segment they think will be profitable for them. They might hesitate to use your firm because they don’t know whether they can trust you to deliver the necessary value for the money.

Regular communication can reinforce your company image and reputation, keeping you top of mind with potential customer’s while demonstrating your competence in this field. This builds that “like and trust” relationship, provided you know what customers want and need.

Know What You Want To Say

Once you’ve done your homework and know your audience well, decide what you want to say to them. Make each message about one idea. Brief communications will be much more effective. If you have a number of different things to tell them, space them out in several communications, or organize them under something that unifies the messages.

Express the main point of your message in one sentence. If you cannot do this, you will not be able to communicate it to others. Here are a few examples:

  • Example: The new ABC model 123 copier/printer operates 12 percent more efficiently and uses less toner and paper. It is also easier to operate with little to no training required.
  • Better: The new ABC model 123 copier/printer will save your operation $1,200 per year, because it uses less toner and paper. In addition, it’s easy to operate.
  • Example: Workplace accidents can result in increased inspections from government agencies, and they cost thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums. They also cause delays and lost productivity. Better safety training can protect your employees and your business.
  • Better: Safety training for employees will boost your productivity, employee morale and bottom line.

Notice that the main point, sometimes called the thesis statement, is not the whole story. It is the elevator pitch—the most important part of the message.

Next step: An Appreciation Marketing Communications Strategy

Communications is an indispensable part of appreciation marketing, which means you need to take a strategic approach.

Start by getting to know your market as well as you can. Learn the needs, goals, aspirations and fears of people in this sector as much as possible. Why should they care about the products or services you provide? Why should they care about your messages to them? What’s in it for them?

Then you need to work out your key messages. These must show that you care about customers’ needs, goals and aspirations, and that you  can help achieve them. Key messages should reinforce the like and trust that are being built by other parts of your strategy.

Next month, we’ll discuss appreciation sales and marketing messages themselves on The Appreciation Agency blog.