Earn Loyalty, Don’t Force Dependency
There’s nothing better than a loyal customer. You get validation of your business, a reliable revenue stream, and you might even benefit from word-of-mouth marketing – the most powerful driver of new business.
It should go without saying, but loyalty has to be earned – it’s not something you can force upon your customers. Unfortunately, that’s not what you see out there in the business world. Companies use a variety of methods to lock you in – via the contract or fine print, the EULA or terms of service, or even in the user interface itself (such as offering no unsubscribe button). In effect, they are holding you there against your will.
If I’m not free to go, what does that say about you? This sends a clear message to your customers – that you don’t believe enough in your product. If it was a good product or a good service, I would stay because I want to, not because you’re forcing me.
Listen to Episode 111 here (or in your favorite pod player).
- I first learned this concept in practice from Jeff Shelstad, a former boss and current mentor. When he started his publishing business (I joined in its early stages), Jeff completely overhauled the traditional author agreement – in favor of the author. Counterintuitive, yet critically essential to earning early trust in a nascent business with a new and unproven model.
- The publishing industry’s pains are often self-inflicted, and their aggressive, one-sided contracts are at least a contributing factor. For more on writing contracts that communicate differently – listen to last week’s episode: Contracts Are Not a Trap: How to Make Them Low-Risk and High-Upside.
- This episode concludes my 16-part series: What Content Strategy Teaches You About Business: Counterintuitive Lessons from Mentors and Mistakes. Here are the links for your convenience: