Social networking is not about farming followers, it’s a way of cultivating relationships.
What makes Zappos marketing strategy stand out above the crowd? Cultivating relationships and social networks are certainly contributors. Using the many new social media tools and social platforms, yes?
When choosing to learn from others marketing strategies, it is always helpful to choose one of the top dogs. Ones that stand way above the crowd. Zappos is certainly one of those in this category we believe. One that we regularly follow.
Meet Zappos. They have been successfully executing their marketing strategy with a social focus since the first days of social media. For over 5 years, and their strategies have played a significant role in their growth.
See our article on the Zappos company culture.
An introduction to Zappos is probably unnecessary.
But let’s examine one of Zappos top advantages … their company culture. The four dimensions of their culture core values (our favorite company culture):
Deliver ‘WOW’ through service
Do more with less
Embrace and drive change
Pursue growth and learning
Create fun and a little weirdness
Be adventurous, creative, and open minded
Be passionate and determined
Build open and honest relationships with communication
Build a positive team and family spirit
In our opinion, the company has inserted itself into the American e-commerce landscape more quickly and craftily than any retail company in history (even considering its parent Amazon). It has forever changed the way companies market themselves to customers.
Zappos has obviously built their business entirely on the digital realm. With a strong presence on multiple social networks, the brand has set a high bar when it comes to being social and engaging its customers. They are at or near the top of nearly every major brand ranking in customer service and social media.
Zappos ability to wear so many hats … corporate success, “local” favorite, and Internet sensation warrants strategic examination.
Why is Zappos’ marketing strategy such a difference maker? There are nine key reasons in our minds:
Going to its customers
When Zappos uses an example of their customer service, it shares it on Google+, posts it to Facebook, tweets it on Twitter, and pins it on Pinterest. It clearly goes to where all its customers like to hang out. Cross-promotion is more valuable as the world becomes more digitally focused.
Each network provides an opportunity to reach their audience in a new channel. Integrating their strategy on each is crucial to increasing visibility and promoting the brand.
The company has stayed focused exclusively on e-commerce, competing on those who prefer excellent customer service. One could say they set the mark for everyone to target in customer service. And they make it the core of their marketing strategy.
The company continues to focus on its original product bundle that includes shoes, and continues to add new products slowly, ensuring it can maintain its quality service. They keep their focus and attention to the details of great execution and service.
One of the earliest adopters of the use of social media for marketing and social commerce, Zappos has certainly taken a leadership position. Their social media strategy is built around their company web site and 5 additional core social platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, G+, and Youtube. We will review Zappos’ social media strategy in detail below.
Adaptation and Innovation
Zappos’ business innovation via its website, has been a hugh success. Why you may ask? Because they have combined the concepts of change, experimentation, social media, customer engagement, and market research and made the results key components of both their brand as well as their marketing strategy. Have you given Zappos a try? What did you think?
Instead of solely focusing efforts on accumulating new customers, it cultivates its current relationships. This ensures more fans/followers (by word of mouth marketing) in the long run, as well as the continued existence of brand advocates. This holds particularly true in its emphasizing the importance of customer service.
They believe in letting customer engagement and conversation occur as naturally as possible. What is most important is that they listen carefully, observe, and apply new ideas from what they learn.
Happy customers are eager to share good experiences and offers. For example, the Zappos promotions like “buy 1 get 1″ garner an extraordinary amount of engagement on social media through comments, “likes,” and shares.
Want to know one of the most effective examples that Zappos uses to build its marketing and create reciprocity with its customers?
By surprising them!
People like getting things for free and like them even more when they are viewed as ‘favors’. But even more, they love receiving these favors as surprises.
For instance, did you know that Zappos automatically upgrades all purchases to priority shipping … without so much as even a mention on the sales or checkout page?
Why give away this sort of benefit without mentioning it?
a company like Zappos (known for their legendary customer service) recognizes the benefits of surprising people with a next day delivery. That’s not even mentioning the fact that this shipping creates immense goodwill between Zappos and their first time buyers. (I still remember my first order.)
Lots of ideas here that can be easily replicated … which ones do you feel could benefit your business?
How could you improve the Zappos customer service campaign concept for your business?
Zappos is one of many businesses we can learn from. Please post your comments below, offering questions or your own great examples of social marketing strategies.
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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