1) Community The most fascinating level of customer bonding is Community--that place where your customers seek each other out to share experiences, and group-bond. Recall any sunny weekend when a pack of Harley Davidson owners cruise the roads. You can gear your mail to leverage the community bond: seek testimonials, host forums and blogs, hold events, customer-only open houses, issue member cards, offer branded premiums and freemiums, send newsletters, and for charitable donors, offer public display of their name on your "Wall of Charity".
2) Advocacy There is no stronger ally than a freshly created customer advocate. They exult in sharing their buyer and user experience. They will recount in their own terms their escalation through four levels of bonding. Now it is time for you to ride the wave with them. Look in your customer database for new customers who have repeat transactions. These customers are your best disciples. Give them opportunity through referral programs, buyer-get-a-buyer, new customer bounty programs. Send them double and triple response devices, referral cards, "for a friend" coupons and similar viral marketing devices.
3) Loyalty vs. Attachment Recall the last routine mailing you received from your retailer which included a discount card or coupon urging to you to come in soon and take your reward. Now imagine that the mailing included a note of thanks addressed to you, and signed by the store manager, with name and title. Feel the difference? "Loyalty" mailings are designed to drive repeat purchases and increased volumes. But if you want to generate powerful goodwill, and a sense of personal attachment, you need to get personal.
Marketing Tips posts authored by Leslie Goldstein of the USPS.