How to Turn a Potential Customer into a Valentine

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Drew-WilsonBy Drew Wilson, Account Supervisor, HCK2 Partners

As we prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day, love is in the air.

Well…at least we seem to think.

Despite being created to observe Christian martyrs, the February holiday has become synonymous with affection and love, but Cupid’s most obvious impact might just be spending.

NerdWallet projects the average person in a relationship will shell out $196 this Valentine’s Day, with total spending expected to near $20 billion. To put that in perspective, we are going to spend more on flowers, chocolates and jewelry than the Gross Domestic Product of nearly EIGHTY countries!

The cynics among us, myself included, can’t help but marvel, but there is no argument – we’ve fallen in love with Valentine’s Day. However, rather than looking on in awe, the astute marketing and communications professional should be studying.

13158751_sIn the most basic sense, our job is to make customers, whether consumers or businesses, fall in love with our products and/or services. So, how can your company captivate your target audiences like Hallmark, Russell Stover and De Beers do each Valentine’s Day?

Follow the three recommendations below and your company might just become everyone’s favorite Valentine.

Who are we kidding? You need to look attractive!

We are surface level and our eyes are the initial gatekeepers. Your company only has a fraction of a second to make a positive impression – literally. Furthermore, 90% of buying decisions are influenced by visual factors, and 46% of people agree that a website’s design is the #1 criteria for company credibility.

So why is it a surprise that companies can’t sell when they are using Clip Art in sales presentations and their website looks like it was made using Flash in 1998? For a company to succeed, they must look the part.

A website and marketing materials are a company’s first impression, and you don’t often have a salesperson on hand to explain your products and/or services. Not that it would matter – your potential customers have probably already made up their minds.

They are OK, but what do my friends think?

In the interconnected and “always on” modern world, potential customers have all the information they need to make a decision at their fingertips. As it turns out, they are using it. More than 80% of customers research products and/or services before making a purchase.

So, once your website and marketing materials are in place, how does your company stand out? Well, just as in dating, potential Valentines don’t want to hear you talk about how great you are. On the other hand, they are extremely interested in what other people are saying about you.

Turn back the clock to college, and you might remember a class you skipped about the “Agenda-Setting Theory.” Now, before I lose you, this theory is just a fancy way of saying that the media tells the public what to think about.

Since the media has the power to influence potential customers, companies needs to focus on telling their story through a proactive public relations campaign. By working directly with the media to establish third-party credibility, a company can make sure they get a seal of approval from “the friends.”

Wow, this might be a long-term relationship.

You’ve already sold them…or at least come very close. Turn your Valentine into the real-deal, long-term relationship through communication.

Companies now have the unprecedented ability to communicate directly with their customers using social media. The antiquated megaphone approach is no longer accepted.

Listening and engaging can turn casual customers into brand loyalists, which can mean big business. A study recently found up to 79% of people said they were more likely to recommend a brand they follow on social media.

Plus, don’t forget the #1 cause of divorce is lack of communication. Doing social media “well” isn’t simple, but the real-time platforms offer unmatched access and insights that will allow you to take a walk down the aisle with your Valentine.

What about us single folks?

When all else fails, create a holiday. Don’t get me started on Christmas.

 About the Author: Drew Wilson is an Account Supervisor with HCK2 Partners, one of the largest integrated marketing and communications firms in Dallas. As the primary contact for local and national accounts, Drew leads teams in strategic communications planning, campaign implementation and goal-oriented evaluation. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter @drewwilson12

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