This week we’re going to learn an incredibly valuable (and proven) way to convert your new customers into INSTANT fans and brand ambassadors. BONUS: Using this simple trick will not only turn new purchasers into longtime loyalists; it will spark some great user-generated social media content (Because who doesn’t love free PR?) Oh yeah, it’s also pretty cheap to implement. To help teach this lesson, I’m channeling one of pop’s biggest icons right now– Taylor Swift. Before you read that and roll your eyes, just hear me out.
Taylor Swift is everywhere. She’s had three number one hits in the last year, she’s on every awards show and red carpet, and whether you love her or hate her, you can’t escape her. So, what can she teach us about marketing? Besides the obvious (a great personal brand), she has used her 1989 tour as the ultimate platform for THE VALUE ADD. The tour has sold over $130 million in ticket sales and she has effortlessly topped Billboard’s latest Hot Tours tally, with second place Kenny Chesney not even grossing half of Swift’s ticket sales.
Why is this tour so successful?
Sure, it has a lot to do with her chart-topping 1989 album, but that’s not the unique factor making this tour Swift’s highest grossing one to date. After all, she’s no stranger to holding a number one spot on Billboard; her previous albums also featured top hits. Here’s the real secret behind the tour’s success—Swift knows all about the value add.
What do I mean by this? She knows how to give her customers (the audience) a wonderful product (the show they purchased tickets to), then surpasses their expectations of the product with unexpected value adds forming even more allegiance to the singer. Swift’s value add of choice? Surprise guest appearances at every sing one of her shows. To date, the list of guest appearances on the 1989 tour includes but is certainly not limited to:
• Wiz Khalifa
• Avril Lavigne
• Selena Gomez
• Justin Timberlake
• John Legend
• Dixie Chick’s Natalie Maines
• Ellen Degeneres
• Mary J. Blige
• FIFTH HARMONY
• Fetty Wap
• Nico and Vinz
• Walk the Moon
• Sam Hunt
• Andy Grammer
• Jason Derulo
• The Weeknd
Swift also knows her target demographics, and uses the guest appearances to reinstate her understanding of who they are and what they want. As an homage to her 90’s upbringing, a commonality she shares with one of her key demographics (young 20-something’s) she featured the following celebrity icons:
- Alanis Morissette
- Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc (From Friends)
- Julia Roberts
She also panders to her audience’s geography with her value add’s:
- In Seattle she featured Seahawk’s quarterback Russell Wilson and his R&B star girlfriend Ciara
- In Los Angeles, she had none other than Kobe Bryant walk down the stage
- In New Jersey, she featured garden state native Nick Jonas
- And in a big old act of patriotism, had the U.S. women’s soccer team on stage during a US show
The trick was not just these amazing value add’s though. The thing Taylor did so well was the execution and the strategic marketing of them to boost ticket sales. First, she didn’t tell the audience prior to the show who she would be featuring, or that she would even have guest appearances at all. Genius, because every time someone walked on to the stage the audience exploded with surprise and excitement(queue social media frenzies). Second, she used these value add’s as leverage for her massive social following as to why they should buy tickets. Every time she brought out a guest star she would put it out on social networks, causing a further rippling of her brand.
The appearances sparked YouTube videos that took the web by storm. Proof it worked so well? Elle magazine made a slideshow just to highlight all of the impressive guest appearances.
How to use value add’s in your business to boost customer loyalty
So, how can you apply Swift action to your business to further instill customer loyalty? Use the followings tips from Taylor Swift:
- Keep it a surprise—The power of the value add is in it’s unexpected arrival. Since it isn’t an expectation of product or service, the customer will view it as a “thoughtful addition” which humanizes your brand. (Think when you found that surprise note or brownie in your packed lunch from a certain someone. You immediately felt a sense of fondness towards them.)
- Establish your value add— It should be something that relates to your business. Are you a hair salon? Give your customers a care package with mini samples for maintenance. Car dealer? Give a congratulations package with air fresheners and interior wipes. What about B2B/service oriented? Give customers a welcome package with a “thank you and welcome” note. If you’re selling insurance, throw an umbrella in there. If you’re a real estate agent, give them a bottle of champagne to pop in their new office or home. You get the idea. BONUS TIP: Make sure that the value add has branding on it. You want them to know exactly who they are equating the warm, fuzzy feeling with, right?
- Know what your target demographic would like— Use your customer demographics to select a value add that will speak to them personally. If you cater to tech-savvy individuals, get them a battery bank. If you deal with a clientele you know to be foodie’s, send them candies. The key to the value add is the details. Nice packaging or a unique twist on a common favorite goes a long way. I love Sugarfina for this.
- Form partnerships—Taylor Swift wasn’t just benefiting her fans with her guest appearances. She was aligning herself with her guests, displaying she has a “team” that supports her and her fans. Enter the strategic alliance. If you’re an artisanal grocery store, form an allegiance with a wine distributor and invite guests in for special tastings. You kill two birds with one stone here. You get referrals from your partners, and you show your clients exactly what kind of resources you have access to for their benefit.
- Share it—Be social. Take pictures of people engaging with your value adds.
- Encourage others to share it—I’m a big believer that if it’s a great value add and it comes as a surprise, the natural inclination is for someone to share their excitement. However, sometimes people need to be guided. Don’t do it overtly—you don’t want them to think this is a cry for publicity. Just include your profiles in the value add with a note that says, “Get social with us!” It plants the seed for them to share this wonderful treat.
Branding is the complete customer experience. The interactions a customer has with your company trumps its logo; the logo is just a representation of what that company means to them. Give them something meaningful to associate your brand with and you’re on your way to building a loyal following. The value add is an a highly effective and often inexpensive way of doing this.
Curious to learn more about how to build your brand’s value to attract loyal fans? Sign up below to receive updates straight to your inbox on how to build your fanbase.
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