10 Steps to Create Successful Mobile Apps for Your Organization

By Sanjay Pathak, Guest Blogger

 

Vector Sphere made from a Application Icons. Abstract Design Object. Isolated on White Background.

Welcome to the app world.

While an online presence is still mandatory to be relevant in business, the landscape of how information is accessed – and how commerce is conducted online – has changed.

 

The desktop browser is no longer a leader; mobile devices are taking over. Most enterprises have at least one App that provides information or transaction capabilities to their customers. And some companies (e.g. Uber) are solely focused on mobile devices.

It is an App world.

As a marketer, understanding how to create a successful mobile app is important to its ROI.  Whether you are building an App for your external customer or internal users, following these 10 App development best practices will not only provide productivity improvements but also provide greater user experience and adoptions – all resulting in greater success for your business.

  1. Identify Your Audience Characteristics
    These include age, geography, current relationship to your business and control over your audience.  These will affect the complexity of functionalities, need to include geo-diversity.
  1. Select Device/Platform
    Identify which devices and platforms you will be supporting.  If devices are supplied by the organization, focusing on limited device platforms will simplify the process.  For external audiences, you should review your audience and consider limiting the type of devices platforms you support (e.g. iOS and Android).
  1. Select App Architecture
    Identify your App architecture to balance between best user experience and fast time to market. A native app provides richer experience but takes extra effort. Whereas non-native Apps can be developed relatively quickly and provide to time to market advantage.
  1. Select App Form Factor
    Consider what size of mobile device that your users will be bringing. App design will be simpler if you can control the device size. Otherwise your App will need to respond to varying degree of device sizes and that can take a little longer to develop.
  1. Select Mobile App Deployment Model
    Most Apps require back-end business logic, data storage, and integration with other systems. This code and databases have to be deployed somewhere. Choices include:
    Dedicated hosting – useful when security is paramount or utilization is expected to be high 24/7
    Shared hosting – less expensive, adequate performance, and security for most
    Cloud deployment – similar to shared hosting but more cost effective with enhanced performance. A virtual private cloud can provide improved security.
  1. Plan for Signal Strength
    Mobile device network connectivity is more than on or off.  Weak signal or high signal to noise ratio and unpredictable network disconnects must also be considered to ensure good user experience.  For external audiences, use the 80/20 rule – plan for 80% coverage unless your App is mission critical.
  1. Leverage What Is Already Out There
    Avoid duplicating the functionalities of existing social Apps (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.).  When possible, consider integration instead.
  1. Leverage New Mobile Platform Capabilities
    Device-embedded features (camera, location services, compass, etc.) provide data you can use to enhance your App productivity and user experience. Wearables, IoTs, iBeacon, and similar devices can provide additional data either directly or via cloud interfaces to enhance user experience with your App’s functions.
  1. Decide on Tools and Technology
    This is the easy part. Leverage what you already have and choose the tools and technologies that you, your architect, and your developers are comfortable using. That’s right – there is no best set of tools.
  1. Define App Distribution Strategy
    Your App needs to go to your customers’ hands. The major ways for App distribution are:
    Web link on a managed web page – most well-suited for internal audiences. This does not allow for automatic updates, but gives you better control of your audience.
    Public App store (Apple, Google Play, etc) – best for B2C customers. It provides a better downloading, installation and upgrading experience.
    Enterprise App store (i.e. Apperian, Mass 360, Appaloosa) – recommended for B2B audiences. This provides good App upgrades and secure distribution.

As more organizations adopt the power of mobile computing to improve productivity, following mobile App development best practices will enhance user delight with the Apps and help businesses achieve greater success.

 

sanjay-pathak

Sanjay Pathak, PhD, is a Master Practitioner and Sr. Manager at The North Highland Company, a global consulting firm that has changed the model of how a consultancy serves its clients.

Three Holiday Marketing Campaigns to Bring in the New Year

By Jordan Watkins, Guest Blogger

For many, the holidays are an exciting time of the year spent with family while retelling old stories and making new memories.

It is also an exciting time of year for the marketing industry as new and unique holiday marketing campaigns are launched and become popular topics of conversation among consumers.

Familiarize yourself with three of this year’s most popular campaigns that make perfect conversation starters at family gatherings or a New Year’s Eve party.

#RedCupContest – Starbucks Holiday Red Cups
Some of this year’s holiday marketing campaigns uniquely depended on consumer involvement in ways that deserve recognition.

One in particular is the annual Starbucks Holiday Red Cups campaign. These red cups have been an iconic symbol of the holidays since Starbucks first introduced them in 1997. After all, warm festive drinks are an important part of getting in the holiday spirit!

This year, Starbucks lovers everywhere were encouraged to post their own holiday red cup designs to social media using the hashtag #redcupcontest. Thirteen submissions from six different countries were chosen to be used as the designs for this year’s cups.

NAMA Blogger Chelsea Kallman accurately describes this year’s Starbucks holiday marketing campaign as one which “evokes emotions and promotes sharing by making everything personal.” Read Kallman’s article, How Starbucks Nails (Holiday) Marketing – and how to implement it in your brand that delves deeper into this campaign.

#BusterTheBoxer – John Lewis
As the holiday season began, the European department store John Lewis launched an unforgettable holiday marketing campaign involving a trampoline and “Buster the Boxer,” the featured family’s dog.

On Christmas morning, the family’s daughter, Summer, is not the only one who gets her wish. Buster beats her outside for a long-awaited turn on the new trampoline.

John Lewis has turned “Buster the Boxer” into a brand of its own.

An entire section of the John Lewis website is dedicated to the buzzworthy pup where you can purchase plush toy versions of Buster and other themed merchandise. In the spirit of giving, the department store announced that ten percent of its proceeds from Buster the Boxer merchandise sales will be donated to The Wildlife Trusts charity.

Moreover, John Lewis didn’t stop there. In addition to heavily promoting the hashtag #BusterTheBoxer across social media platforms, a 360-degree interactive video experience is available to view online and is compatible with your Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset. The company even made custom Snapchat filters available for fans to download.

Although past holiday marketing campaigns from John Lewis have been impressive, the company took this year’s campaign to an entirely new level. Watch the full John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016 – #BusterTheBoxer.

#Barbour Christmas – Barbour’s tribute to Raymond Briggs
The Raymond Briggs children’s tale The Snowman holds an important place in many consumers’ childhood Christmas memories. Over the years, both an animated television special of the original tale and an animated sequel titled The Snowman and the Snowdog have been produced.

This holiday season, Barbour teamed up with Lupus Films to produce a tribute to the classic tales. The advertisement aims to appeal nostalgically to viewers who remember the tales fondly, and features all three characters from the Briggs tales.

The tributary advertisement frames the brand in the same timeless light with the concluding campaign slogan: ‘gifts they’ll remember.’

Barbour launched an email marketing campaign encouraging consumers to nominate and share why they felt a certain loved one deserved to win a gift from Barbour.

Not only did Barbour launch a uniquely nostalgic holiday marketing campaign, but they also incorporated the consumer – leveraging a personal touch to the campaign. Watch Barbour’s tributary holiday advertisement.

Strike up a conversation about one of these three holiday marketing campaigns of 2016 with your family, coworkers, or friends to kick off the new year. Who doesn’t love an adorably heartwarming video in which a group of animals jumps on a trampoline?!

 

jordan-watkins

Jordan Watkins is a recent graduate of Sewanee, The University of the South, and serves as an Associate Project Manager with Mailer’s Choice.

Creating On-Brand Promotions in Your Small Business

By Chelsea Kallman, NAMA Blogger

‘Tis the season for finding a good deal. With the holidays over, most shoppers are finished buying gifts for others, which means now they’re shopping for themselves, and everyone wants to pay the best possible price.

But what if your brand is considered luxury, craft, or indie? How can you actually afford to give deep discounts like Walmart or Amazon?

In short, you can’t.

Here’s what you can do: create promotions that tie your customers back to your brand and create loyalty for the future.

Look at Small Business Saturday and Record Store Day. Both are rooted in making small businesses thrive, and according to this article published by Nashville Business Journal, this one-day-a-year brings in $16.2 billion dollars. That is not a small number.

The lesser known (yet still recognizable) Record Store Day gets the fan base of record collectors excited. There are special releases just for RSD, plus fans learn of new music and celebrate the bands and artists they already know and love.

Bringing this idea to a smaller, more personal level is Steadfast, a Nashville-based coffee roaster and cafe, which recently ran a Free Coffee Day promo.

outsidecarafefree

Steadfast is unique. It’s beautiful. Not only is the coffee and food delicious, but the service is impeccable. It is a curated experience.

Even still, this coffee shop decided to give away free black coffee all day long, and one lucky winner now receives a free bag of coffee every month for a year.  

Why?

To build their customer base.

I spoke with Dani Stewart, content specialist with ConvertKit, the brains behind the promotion. (Full disclosure: she’s also conveniently my good friend and the wife of Sean Stewart, one of Steadfast’s co-founders and operating partners.)

ConvertKit came up with this promotion with Steadfast’s mission in mind: to give back to the community.

When coming up with this promotion, we knew it needed to be something that put the customer first,” said Stewart. “Yes, the goal was to grow the Steadfast email list, but it had to be done in a way that served and celebrated the community.”

While keeping true to Steadfast’s core values, the group assessed the best way to captivate Steadfast’s guests attention is through email. Stewart says this is a business owner’s most valuable asset because it’s the only way to directly communicate with an audience.

Steadfast collected emails by using ConverKit’s app that plugs into the coffee company’s website; opt-in forms were linked to from social media and email content.

With all the new algorithms and overpopulation of social media, there’s no guarantee that your messages are being seen by audiences in those channels. But with email, you know you’re in their inbox, and that’s a safe, usually guarded, and privileged place to be,” Stewart said.  

Jamie Cunningham, partner and general manager of Steadfast, explained how they chose an email campaign because of its directness.

my-ideal-weekend-is-spent-with-a-cup-of-coffee-and-a-good-book

Not only that, but they’re able to learn more about what their customers are interested in by seeing if they opened the email, redeemed a code, or even unsubscribed.

“We want our email correspondence to be an extension of our in-shop customer service: personalized and meaningful,” Cunningham said.

Because this promotion was marketed as a “Celebration of Nashville” — and frankly, because Steadfast’s coffee is incredible — people got pumped. They ended up collecting somewhere around 1,000 email addresses, plus media outlets Tweeted and Instagrammed about it.

At the end of the day, Steadfast’s loyal customers ended up loving them even more, and I would dare to say they ended up gaining quite a few new customers, as well.

It might seem like a lot to give away free coffee all day, but to Steadfast, it was worth it. The coffee was given in exchange for an email address. This information was volunteered, rather than gathered out of necessity, like when you have to enter your email address to use Wifi.

“Ultimately, we want to have tons of fun and connect with guests, both old and new,” Cunningham continued. “Giving coffee away was a great way to create some buzz and grab the attention of folks that we likely had never reached before.”

email2

Now Steadfast can go and use the newly-collected email addresses for future marketing campaigns and new product announcements. The coffee company even used the list to promote its monthly coffee-subscription as a holiday gift idea.

Convince and Convert wrote a blog that echoes exactly what Dani says. It talks about what marketers can learn from sports marketing fan engagement.

The basic idea is this: the best way to convert anonymous users into a registered fan is to give out incentives. Whether you’re a sports team or a local coffee shop, this idea works.

Building loyalty gives your fans (or clients) a deeper experience. You allow fans to become a part of the story., and they’re excited to be a part of something they care about.

The Winnipeg Jets are cited in the post for creating something called “Jet Points.” Fans receive points if they’re season ticketholders, and they can receive more points if they opt to pay with a check instead of a card. This not only saves The Jets’ money on credit card fees, but fans get special points to spend on memorabilia in the Jets store. It’s a win-win.

Promotions have to be worthwhile on both ends. It has to be thoughtful, and it has to be something clients truly want.

Jamie offered one last piece of advice for small business owners interested in creating promotions:

At the end of the day, I believe, guest are attracted to the heart of the business, the values. So fight hard to be you and to connect with guest who like you for who you are. They are the ones that will come back again and again.”

Driving Home The Less-Is-More Lesson

By Karen Cronin, Guest Blogger | 12.8.16

Like most Nashville drivers, I spend a lot of time these days crawling along in the city’s increasingly crazy traffic, longing for some clear, open road.

Stopped dead in a recent rush hour, I was struck by the number of ads for lawyers all around me. Splashed across billboards and plastered on the sides of passing city buses, they’re everywhere.

I did a bit of homework on attorney advertising, and quickly found out that before 1977, a lawyer publicly soliciting services was considered by the American Bar Association to be below the dignity of the profession, and it was pretty much illegal across the country.

A Supreme Court decision back in ‘77 changed all that, and the floodgates opened for attorney advertising.

While advertising is used across a wide range of specialties, the most common ads are those from what are known as “tort” lawyers – things like personal injury and medical malpractice. Frankly, in both design quality and tone of messaging, the vast majority of these ads don’t do a lot to dispel the “ambulance chaser” stereotype.

The traffic finally increased to a crawl, and rounding the next corner I came upon a billboard that took a different tack, immediately catching my attention.

cronin-creative-ponce-law

About 75 percent bright, white space with very little copy, the ad features a striking profile shot of the handsome young attorney in his “I’m-listening-very-closely-to-you” pose, planting a feeling of ease and integrity in the mind of the viewer, and distinguishing the firm in a sea of competitors.

Thankfully, I haven’t had any need for a tort lawyer recently, and I know nothing about Ponce Law or the designer or agency that created the campaign. But as a certified branding nerd, I love to see strategic disruption and true differentiation make a difference in effectively communicating a brand.

It’s a great example of less-is-more and proof that there’s always something to learn, even when you’re stuck in traffic.

karencronin
Karen Cronin is COO & Co-Founder of Nashville-based Cronin Creative, and serves as NAMA Nonprofit SIG Co-Chair. Learn more about her here.

Time to invest in a CRM system? Here’s how to make it happen!

By Knight Stivender, Guest Blogger | 12.6.16

Are you a marketer struggling to keep up with your customers and would-be customers Are you finding it a challenge to send them the right emails in a timely fashion? Or make sure they see your digital campaigns?

question-marks-graphic

Do you know when they’ve visited your website, and do you communicate with them accordingly? Do you know which of your customers are no longer buying from you, and why not? Have you thought about creating a loyalty program to reward your brand cheerleaders?

These are the sorts of dilemmas that can get you thinking about whether it’s finally time to invest a real CRM – customer relationship management – tool. Or – if your organization already has a CRM – to make sure you have access to it and are using it to the fullest extent.

How can you convince your higher-ups to pony-up for CRM?

This blog post breaks it down in six easy(ish) steps.
Knight Stivender
Knight Stivender is Director of Marketing & Development for Alcott Marketing Science and serves as NAMA’s Tech SIG Chair. Follow her on Twitter

How Starbucks nails (Holiday) marketing – and how to implement it in your brand

By Chelsea Kallman, NAMA Blogger | 12.4.16

Picture this: it’s Halloween weekend, and I’m kind of craving a sweet treat. I’m just having a relaxing evening, scrolling on Instagram, when up pops an advertised post from Starbucks talking up their Frappula Frappuccino.

It’s a white chocolate mocha Frappuccino with strawberry sauce added to make it look like Dracula himself has bitten into the whipped cream.

Now, to preface, this isn’t my typical drink, and Starbucks isn’t even my go-to coffee shop. I indulge in a frappe maybe four times a year. But, darn it, if this drink doesn’t look down right spooktacular.

frappula_frappuccino_2016

The next day of my Halloween weekend, I suddenly find myself driving 15 minutes out of my way just for a “treat yo’self.” 

How did I go from not really caring about a drink (or its associated brand) to being called to action and spending my time and money in a place I don’t typically visit?

Two words: Incredible marketing.

Although a global corporation, Starbucks has a lot of marketing tips that even the smallest shop on Main Street America can employ.

Starbucks makes you feel like you’re a part of the story.

Hubspot wrote a blog about some great holiday marketing campaigns. No surprise, Starbucks is included.

The post talks about how the brand evokes emotions and promotes sharing by making everything personal. Starbucks gets at the core of what its company is all about: you, the consumer. Its marketing always goes beyond the product and speaks to the lifestyle associated with the brand.

starbucks-makes-you-feel-like-youre-a-part-of-the-story

Starbucks for Life is one campaign that does exactly this. It’s a sweepstakes that you enter to try and win one beverage and one food item every day for the next 30 years of your life. That is a pretty incredible giveaway — equating to roughly $75,000 per winner.

Of course, everyone wants to win, so everyone signs up. All of a sudden Starbucks has multitudes of customers’ (and soon-to-be customers’) email addresses and information to further find out how they can market to their target demographic better.

Oh, and everyone loves Starbucks more than before because how kind and generous of a company are they?!

Starbucks markets its brand as a verb.

Yet another call-to-action Starbucks marketing tactic is the #redcupcontest. During this contest, coffee-aholics have a certain number of days to post the best red cup photo using the hashtag with one lucky person taking home a prize. Last year’s winner received a $500 Starbucks card. 

2jukhstm-2500-1667starbucks

The giveaway was so popular that for the first two days a #redcupcontest photo was shared to Instagram every 14 seconds. It engaged customers and got them participating in the brand. Starbucks made its customers feel special, while giving us (read: marketers) a perfect example of user-generated content.

#PSL

Pumpkin Spice Lattes have become a staple of any fall weekend. Pumpkin-flavored everything is so popular now, but what Starbucks has done is use nostalgia and that “warm and cozy lifestyle” to make this drink the cultural phenomenon that it is.

Not only does pumpkin spice latte have its own widely-accepted abbreviation, it also has its own hashtag AND its own social media presence AND PSL actually interacts with its fans. Since launching PSL in 2003, Starbucks has sold more than 200 million (and counting) of just that drink alone.

Outside of @TheRealPSL, all of Starbuck’s social media focuses on doing something. It’s not just a picture of their drinks. It’s people hiking with their drink, cheersing, or going swimming. Starbucks makes it clear that it want the brand to be about doing something.

tumblr_nu0dm5ssd81tg0kfio1_500

Mottis talks about how spot-on Starbucks is with knowing its target audience (which, if you were wondering, is men and women age 25-40).

Starbucks launches campaigns that demonstrate how its company embraces life — by living in “the now.” These folks are witty with their marketing. They have fun. Their content is personalized. It is active.

What about you? How can you make your brand about more than just a product?

Volunteer Spotlight: Emily Fay

emily-fay-headshot

Emily Fay
Marketing Manager, Remar, Inc.
Secretary (2015)
Board Member at Large (2012-2013)
Collegiate Relation Chair (2010-2012)

What prompted you to join NAMA?
I moved to Nashville in 2007 on a whim, I had no job, just my best friend from 3rd grade. As a member of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln AMA chapter I knew, if I wanted to meet the top marketers in town I needed to attend NAMA’s events.

You served on NAMA’s Board for several years. Why did you decide to volunteer?
I wasn’t really looking for more activities to get involved in when I was asked to help with the Collegiate Relations committee. However, I am a strong believer in the more you put into an organization the more you get out of it.

I also felt that having been a member of a collegiate chapter in the past, gave me some insight into what students would need and want from our chapter.

What was your proudest moment in your role as Collegiate Relations Chair?
That is easy! Dreaming up and executing the Marketing the Marketer event.

This event gave students the opportunity to connect with Marketers and HR professionals. They got to ask questions about everything from what it is like to work in Marketing to what to expect in an interview.

The first year we did this, I was expecting that maybe 15-20 students would be there, but we sold out of tickets and 40 students showed up!

How has NAMA impacted you professionally?
I don’t know where my career would be without NAMA. I have found both of my marketing positions in Nashville through this organization. The first role was an Account Manager at Allegiant Direct, Inc., and that job found me through the NAMA job board. The second role, my current position at Remar, was found through a NAMA Mixer.

What differentiates NAMA from other groups?
NAMA has a good mix of marketing folks, that are excited to learn from each other.

This is organization is fantastic for networking. The best part is that if your networking skill level doesn’t matter. If you are new to it, someone will guide you along. If networking is your expertise, there is always someone new and interesting to meet at NAMA.

Can you share a memorable experience from your career thus far?
It is hard for me to pin point just one experience. There are highlights from every marketing role I have had. The one that is sticking out to me right now hasn’t happened yet. But, in a couple weeks the non-profit organization I started, Nashville Huskers, will host its 100th football watch party.

Why would you encourage others to join and volunteer with NAMA?
I said this before, but the more you put into NAMA the more you get out of it, and in order to volunteer with NAMA, you need to be a member.

When you volunteer with NAMA you make connections with incredible marketers, and they can actually see the quality of your work. For me, when it came to finding a job, the recommendation from someone who I had volunteered with was a factor in getting the job I have today.

NAMA Member Brings Husker Fans Together for a Kick-off with a Cause

By Katie Soltas, NAMA Blogger | 10.30.16

Remar, Inc.’s marketing manager and longtime NAMA member, Emily Fay, simply wanted to bond with a few Nebraska Cornhusker fans during football season without leaving her new home of Nashville.

What she started became more than a small group of game day buddies, but a movement that has generated thousands of dollars in college scholarships for Nashvillians and has pumped nearly $240,000 into Music City’s economy through food and beverage sales.

nashville-huskers-3

Fay moved to Nashville in 2007 from Nebraska. In 2009, she performed digital research and recruiting on Facebook and LinkedIn, inviting Husker alumni to watch the football season opener at what was formerly Closing Bell on Demonbreun Hill. Twenty people confirmed their attendance, but 80 fans showed up to the first game – greatly exceeding Fay’s expectations.

Since then, the “Nashville Huskers” migrated to several locations in the city until they landed a permanent home, the Tin Roof 2 in Cool Springs, where they have met the past four seasons.

nashville-huskers

More than 150 fans gather each weekend, and Fay has kept detailed records showing the group’s annual financial impact for the establishments where they congregate. Although it can be challenging for restaurants to meet the needs of the large group, the herd brings in up to $40,000 in revenue each football season.

But for Fay, watching the games wasn’t enough.

Through merchandise sales and other means, she led the group in raising $18,000 over the past five years for the University of Nebraska Legends scholarship that goes to three deserving Middle Tennessee college applicants every year.

College football brings the Nashville Huskers together, but the professional networking and relationship-building opportunities is what keeps the group alive and thriving.

nashville-huskers-2

During our interview, Fay rattles off several long-lost relatives and friends that found each other through the group, including her mother and a childhood friend who rekindled their friendship. Two Husker alumni fell in love (let’s assume over beer and wings) during a season and are now married. One Nashville Husker’s friends from Purdue came every year when their team played Nebraska. Last year, he tragically passed away from cancer and his friends still came to Nashville during the Purdue game to honor him.

“Everyone in the group knows each other now, and we are all connected somehow,” said Fay, who is looking forward to their 100th watch party on Nov. 19. “I never imagined it would turn into a true community.”

[PODCAST] Finding your personal value with Jennifer Way

By Chuck Bryant, Relationary Marketing | 10.27.16

Jennifer Way wants to help make marketers their own biggest advocates by revealing their personal value.

“Your resume should be the Cliff Notes of your values, not a job description,” Way said.

Way is a consultant and president of Way Solutions. Her company has worked with Disney, Amazon, and Honda to help get the most out of their employees. She’ll be helping guests unlock the power of their personal value at NAMA’s Power Lunch on Thursday, Nov. 3.

“Unleashing the power of your personal value is about learning how to identify the key factors that will get you the recognition and rewards you need,” Way said. “What employer doesn’t want more value from an employee?”

Way said that finding personal value is not about expanding any more effort, but instead is about understanding dynamics in your work system.

People in the workplace don’t learn how to be personal advocates on their own. Instead they learn slowly from other’s mistakes, when really they need to look at themselves objectively and put themselves in the opposite role, according to Way. This is where marketers have a unique advantage.  

“They understand exactly how to look at themselves objectively in a business-to-business situation, but feel awkward turning that marketing eye on themselves.”

Connect with Way on LinkedIn.

On Nov. 3, Jennifer Way presents Unlock the Power of Your Value at the NAMA Power Lunch at City Winery. Register now.  

Editor’s Note: The NAMA Power Lunch podcast is a production of Relationary Marketing in partnership with the Nashville American Marketing Association. This episode was produced by Chuck Bryant and host Clark Buckner, edited and mixed by Jess Grommet, with music by Zachary D. Noblitt.

chuck-bryant
Chuck Bryant is co-founder and CEO of Relationary Marketing, a podcast production agency that creates broadcast-quality interviews for rich content marketing, event promotion, relationship nurturing and thought leadership.

The Cheers Effect

By Chelsea Kallman, NAMA Blogger | 10.25. 16

Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.

If the Cheers television show theme song starts playing in your head then we’re on the right track. Not only is this an incredible TV show, but it’s also a great example of why knowing your customers is the best solution for growing your business.

Whether you company lends itself to a daily customer or even a yearly interaction, you can glean wisdom from the beloved TV show.

Customers who feel known and appreciated are going to come back time and time again.

I know sales representatives at clothing stores are paid to tell me I look great in a dress, but when they say it in a way that I believe it, you better believe I’m coming back again – not just for another great outfit, but for the affirmation and experience of feeling like a superstar.

Take a second and think about the opposite.

When you go into a coffee shop and you’re not greeted – you’re immediately put off. You feel like you’re not cool enough for the space or that you don’t know enough to order from their menu. How likely are you to go back? Zero percent.

Business Grow has an article about turning online influence into offline results, and in it Mark Schaefer makes the point that “relationships with companies are formed through interactions over time.”

Your business will grow when people you know are talking about it and when your regular customers feel known, appreciated, and like they’re a part of something.

In short, The Cheers Effect.

To be effective in this means you have to actually care.

One of the phrases Schaefer uses is being “authentically kind.” You have to be willing to start the conversation and emotionally invest with whomever you’re trying to influence. This looks like being helpful even when you don’t think you’ll get something in return. It means being trustworthy. He says small interactions like these lead to larger engagements.

o-cheers-facebook

Ask yourself this: Why do you go to the same bar over and over again? Maybe you like the food. Maybe the prices are great. But maybe at the end of the day it’s because you’re know,n and you can go in and be taken care of by someone who remembers your name, your favorite drink, and maybe even that you like two sides of blue cheese dressing with your french fries.

I found my Cheers when I started regularly going to a local barbeque restaurant. I would sit at the bar each time, and I quickly realized I kept getting the same bartender. He didn’t talk too much. And really, he didn’t need to. But he would make small talk about music, what was on TV, or just ask me what I was up to that day.

Fast forward several months. Now he is my favorite bartender in Nashville. All the small talk led to more conversation, and now he’s a part of my friend group. He has since gotten a new job, and you know how often I go to that BBQ restaurant now? Maybe once since he has left. Instead I go to the new bar where he works.

Having employees who are willing to make connections with your customers will, in turn, make your business so much more money.

Working in the coffee business, I get regulars who come in every single day.

at-the-end-of-the-day-its-about-making-a-personal-connection

It’s hard not to get to know someone when you see them five days a week. Many of these regulars have made such personal connections with the staff that they end up getting hired when they’re in need of a job, or they’re invited to staff bonfires at our houses. We get beers with them after work.

This concept doesn’t just apply to the hospitality industry though. I believe The Cheers Effect applies to every type of business. This goes back to our blog post about how being nice is always the best option.

At the end of the day, it’s about making a personal connection.

Read this article about how one car dealership did this extremely well. They were genuine, friendly, and they just acted like themselves. When you’re a car dealer, you’re not going to get repeat customers daily, but the shop gave its customers roadtrip inspiration and even great food suggestions. They were about more than just cars.

When you put time and energy into making your customers feel appreciated, it shows. It’s worth the work because at the end of the day, you’ll have an incredible reputation and a committed customer base. These two attributes lead to word-of-mouth marketing that is invaluable to any business.

Eventually enough people start talking, and it draws a crowd.

Because sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. You wanna go where you can see people are all the same. You wanna go where everybody knows your name.