As engagement, loyalty, and customer success pros, we have a lot of tools to work with. Loyalty programs, incentives, gifts, rewards, content, data, and communication channels like email.

All those tools capture a little bit of real estate in the customer’s mind. They get people to take action, tugging them a bit closer to the brand (and hopefully the next purchase).

We've got all kinds of toys to pursue customer loyalty. 

And yet, we're nearly powerless to influence perhaps what matters most to customers in the long run.

Every customer is a member.

At least, that's an argument I've tried to make a couple times here. To me, "customer" implies someone that completed a transaction, while "member" signifies relationship, belonging on an ongoing basis.

Even if your business model is not subscription- or membership-based, you can benefit from that member mindset.

A key function of having members instead of customers? Engagement.

What's that?

Keeping their attention, and hitting them with the right value and the right touchpoints at the right time.

Keep people engaged, and renewal - or just the next transaction - will take care of itself.

Easier said than done, right?

So long as you are not doing business in a third-world country, the target market for your business is definitely using email. By the end of 2017, more than 3.7 billion of the world’s population will be using email. Rather than attempting to develop and distribute content and advertisements for your business in hopes that they will magically fall into the laps of people who are interested in your brand, directly reach the inboxes of your consumers.

By gathering the valuable contact information of email addresses from having people subscribe to your email list, you can generate brand exposure, recognition, and identity that will lead to more sales and an overall more engaged following.

In the world of work, people take a job because it provides a source of income and benefits.

They excel at work, and run through brick walls for their company, because of a whole other host of factors.

Primarily: pizza parties.

...

Bear with me here.

As a parent, you can bark at your kids all day and they won't hear a word.

But somehow they can recite every inane word uttered by their close friends.

Kids have selective hearing, but so do grownups like us.

When was the last time any of us actually sat through a commercial? Can you recall the brand?

Any online banner ads captivate you today? Probably not.

Promises brands make through advertising and content go in one ear and out the other. Consumers might pick up on a point or two if it's pertinent, but it still doesn’t mean they’ll rush out to buy.

But if a trusted colleague or close friend mentions the brand positively, then we're all ears.

Here’s a quick experiment for you: open up your email inbox, and hop over to your promotions tab. What do these marketing emails look like? I’m seeing highly personalized messages from AirBnB, luring me back to the site with mentions of trips I created, yet left unbooked. I scroll down and see a “we miss you!” email from an ecomm outlet I used to frequent, right above some timely messaging from a luggage brand I’ve been eyeing.

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