It’s no secret the sense of belonging is a core human desire, sitting high on our “hierarchy of human needs." We all strive and search for belonging constantly - in our family, friendships, partnerships and workplaces.
As a business owner, creating this powerful sense of belonging with your customers will result in a community of switched-on and loved-up fans. When you’ve created this community you’re able to engage, encourage and expand in an intentional and powerful way.
Basically, you’re able to grow your business and your profits in a non-pushy, non-salesy, non-aggressive environment - and for a positive, heart-centered business owner, that’s what you want, right?
So brew a cup of tea, take a deep breath, get your notebook ready...and let’s get to it.
How to create a sense of belonging for your customers:
1. Clearly define who you are, what you’re amazing at and who you serve.
This may seem like an obvious point, however you’d be surprised how many business owners are confusing their customers by not quickly and clearly providing this key information.
When you have offered an explanation of who you are, what you specialize in and who you serve, it sets the stage to attract your ideal customers and allow those awesome, special people to quickly move from a stranger to an essential member (and paying customer) of your community.
Every time a customer decides to subscribe to you and purchase from you - they’re joining you. They’re actively aligning themselves with you and your brand. They’re saying “you have answered the call better than anyone else and I want to be with you.”
Be honest, be yourself, be proud and happy to explain who you are, what you believe in, what you stand for and who you work best with. Try not to complicate it with a lot of copy and headlines, simple works! It’s the first important step to create a sense of belonging for your customers.
2. Understand the small (but oh-so- important) details about your ideal customer.
When your customers feel as though they belong with you, they feel appreciated, recognized, safe and happy.
It’s up to you as the leader of your business to investigate what makes your ideal customers feel this way. Most business owners have an ‘ideal customer’ checklist or avatar full of socio- economic stats (female, 25 - 35, single, earning $50 K etc) but lets take it a few steps further.
What annoys your customer?
What are they afraid of?
How do they prefer to communicate?
How do they express themselves?
What makes them smile?
What makes them feel secure?
How do your customers like to buy?
How do they like to be recognized and rewarded?
What is their number one concern right now?
Who/what have they tried before meeting you?
What lets them close their eyes and think, “Sweet Lord! Yes, they get me!”
When you can answer questions like this about your customers, you’re tapping into their desires, concerns and motivations. You’re getting to know them on a more emotional level.
By understanding and using the small details to craft your customer’s best ever experience, you help them to feel a sense of belonging.
For example, knowing your ideal customer “Betty” is incredibly stretched for time, has 3 kids to ferry to and from school and soccer and has no desire to sign up for another 45 minute webinar, why not give Betty a series of four 5 minute live videos throughout the week which she can consume on the go and still gain much-needed advice? Betty now feels as though you understand her situation and you are creating ways of still providing her with what she needs, based around how and when she needs it.
This is just one example, however by intentionally using small (but important) details about your customers you can create a massive impact in their lives. Your customers take notice - and they feel they belong with you because you understand them.
3. Create experiences (not products)
Have you ever enjoyed a flawless experience with a person, company or brand and thought: “My gosh, where have you been my whole life?” I had one of these experiences checking into a W Hotel and will never forget that sense of ‘coming home’. That feeling was not by accident; it was part of a well crafted experience designed to make me feel impressed, safe, appreciated.
You can create this same sense of belonging for your customers now that you have clearly defined who you are, what you’re best at, who you serve AND you know more about your customers desires, motivations and needs.
The next step is about planning a brilliant customer experience. This experience let’s your customers know in a thousand ways ‘you belong with me’. The ‘experience’ involves the steps involved for your customer to journey from a stranger to a paying customer - then again from a paying customer to a returning customer or community leader. The power of the experience lets your customers feel deeply aligned to you!
When your customers feel this alignment, this sense of belonging, they’re motivated to take action. It’s why customers line up and camp overnight for the latest version of your product. It’s why customers spend thousand of dollars and purchase plane tickets and accommodation to see you speak or attend an event. It’s why customers buy from you.
4. Allow for more intimate opportunities for your customers to feel a sense of belonging.
When planning your customer experience, you may want to include a more ‘intimate’ option for some of your customers. Why? Because our urge to truly belong is a hard call to ignore! It’s why subscriptions, closed groups (thanks facebook), memberships and masterminds can work so well; being accepted into an exclusive group allows your customers to gain a closer relationship with your brand and enjoy a special ‘red carpet’ experience.
It’s an avenue for your customers to dive deeper into their sense belonging with you - and an avenue for your to engage and connect with them on a more personal level.
So if you’re able to create the platform for a more intimate experience where you can help fulfil your customer’s need for belonging - do it now!
Whatever stage of business you find yourself in right now - whether you’re still just researching, you’ve recently launched or you’re a seasoned professional, you can intentionally work towards creating a sense of belonging with your customers by following these 4 steps.
As a Business Strategist, I’m a big advocate for being in love with your customers. Why? Your customers are the life force of your business. Your livelihood and success revolves around your customers and how powerfully you can serve them.
So take the time to craft experiences for your customers, invite them in, engage with them, let them love their experience with you, make it really easy for them to join you...help them BELONG!