How to Start Value-Add Marketing

August 7, 2018 Kirsten Burkard

The best way to make your brand stand out is to put your customers first. Too many brands are still preoccupied with simply making a sale, giving you the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that you care about what your customers need from you — not what you need from them.

The key to this shift in thinking is building emotional connections, and the best way to do that is with value-add marketing.

Value-add marketing focuses on exceeding customer expectations by delivering more than they asked for with every interaction.

By delivering more than your customers expect, you establish a sense of delight that takes your customer experience beyond making a purchase. The best part about value-add marketing is that it can take any number of forms! This allows you to tailor it perfectly to you and your brand community.

Here are the 5 best ways to get started with value-add marketing.


1. Create rewarding experiences

Rewards have been a vehicle for exceeding expectations for over a hundred years. From simple punch cards to elite VIP rewards, they are undoubtedly the best way to build sustainable brand communities because the best reward programs always make customers the priority.

Reward programs ensure your brand community is always focused on your customers, not how many sales you've made.

That’s why they’re the perfect place to start value-add marketing. By offering your customers tangible value for engaging with your brand, you create an environment that encourages reciprocal relationships. When they receive rewards that are tailored to their interests for completing specific actions, they’ll want to return the favor by continuing to engage with your brand.

This cycle draws them into your brand community and gets them excited to share their experience with their friends. In this way, your rewards program becomes your most valuable marketing tool as it mobilizes your existing customers to share its additional value with their own networks.

How Happyway adds value with rewards

Happyway rewards refer-a-friend description

Happyway recognized that the best way to take their customer experience to the next level was a rewards program. Armed with fun branding and an energetic customer base, the health food and beverage brand started to reward their customers for “sharing the good vibes” with friends and family in an effort to make every interaction a valuable one.

Happyway Rewards' ways to earn

They also added a number of ways for customers to earn points that tap into the different social pieces of their brand community. By rewarding members for engaging on social media, subscribing to their newsletter, and celebrating a birthday, they turned everyday brand interactions into emotional touchpoints that make customers feel like valued members of their community.

These brand-to-customer relationships then become the ultimate reward, as their customers feel truly rewarded and appreciated for their engagement in Happyway’s growth and success.


2. Teach customers something new

One of the best things you can do as a brand is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If someone’s new to your brand or products, are they going to understand how to engage with it or get the most out of it? How is your brand going to benefit them in the short term or over time?

Since nobody knows your products better than you, you have everything you need to make yourself an expert with value-add marketing. By focusing on what’s important to your customers and how you can help them get that with your brand, you start helping and stop selling.

Value-add marketing redirects your brand's focus from selling to helping, with your customer's priorities at the center.

You can help customers overcome obstacles and get more out of your brand in a number of ways:

  • Video tutorials — show customers how to get the most out of your products by walking them through how to use them and what they can do
  • eBooks and blog posts — add new content to your website regularly to make your site the one-stop shop for information on your products, industry, and values
  • Webinars and workshops — give your community the chance to learn more about your brand and how to get the most out of your products with exclusive learning sessions offered only to your brand community

These and other types of content help transform the way customers see your brand. Instead of being about what you can get from them, it becomes how you can benefit your customers. This change of focus has a huge impact on how customers respond to your brand and delivers an incredible amount of low cost, high impact value every time.

How MyKitCo develops beauty experts with value-add marketing

James Molloy is a world-renowned makeup artist who started MyKitCo as a professional but relatable source for high quality makeup tools and accessories. With this value at the heart of his brand, he understood that his target audience would be looking for ways to get the most out of his products.

MyKitCo store with link to masterclass

This is what prompted him to align his existing makeup school and studio with his store, offering his brand community the opportunity to both purchase his products and learn how to make the most of them. With a clear link in his store’s navigation bar, new and returning customers alike can easily find resources to help them learn makeup skills, rent studio space, and connect with other students in the community.

James Molloy makeup school classes

The makeup school also has a link back to Molloy’s store, closing the circle between the different branches of his larger community. By building a bridge between the two sites, he has effectively used his expertise to draw new customers in from both sides, offering two distinct types of value that enhance and build upon each other in a natural way.


3. Include customers in your brand story

Everyone wants to be included. Whether they care to admit it or not, the fear of missing out has the power to dramatically influence our decisions — especially if we’re already emotionally invested.

As members of your brand community, your customers are looking for opportunities to be included in your brand’s story. After all, that’s one of the reasons they chose to join your community in the first place! Recognizing that your customers care about the inner workings of your brand and developing content to include them there is a very powerful way to deepen each individual’s emotional connection to your brand.

Show customers the inner workings of your brand to strengthen their emotional connection to your community.

The best part is that this doesn’t have to be complicated! Sometimes the simplest ideas can have the biggest impact. Why not take your customers behind-the-scenes on your official Instagram page, or film an interview with a couple members of your team? These are only two low effort, high value ways to expand your brand story outside the walls of your headquarters that will go a long way to enriching the experience customers have with your brand.

How Evy's Tree keeps their community involved

Amy Miraflor couldn’t possibly have known how successful her luxury hoodies would be when she first started making them, but since then Evy’s Tree has blossomed into an international community. With a passion for quality and comfort, the Evy’s Tree community is steadily growing with the help of their fantastic rewards program and their desire to keep their members connected.

evy's tree behind the scenes email

One of the ways they do this is through regular social media posts and email marketing. Whenever they’re working on a new product launch or planning a special VIP event, they make sure their brand community is aware of it and, as a result, involved. Through behind-the-scenes photos, fabric samples, and teaser promotional shots, they guarantee that each of their customers feels like they’re part of the action every step of the way.

This type of marketing material is largely responsible for how successful Evy’s Tree has been and continues to be. No matter when you joined their community, you’re given opportunities to discover more and stay connected, making sure nobody gets left behind. 

4. Make customer service a priority

Value-add marketing doesn’t always have to be a tangible product. Your ability to meet your customers’ needs is the foundation of your emotional relationship with them, meaning your customer service is extremely important to how valuable your community members find your brand.

Customers are much more likely to talk about a negative customer experience than a positive one.

That means you need to make sure your customers know they matter. Too often brands forget that the little things go a long way to making or breaking their customer experience and end up losing their valuable community members as a result.

You can avoid this by making customer service one of your top priorities. Pay attention to every type of customer interaction you have and make it easy for your customers to engage with the value your brand has to offer.

Good customer service includes making it easy for customers to find and engage with all of the value your brand offers.

Better yet, actively seek your customers’ feedback and act on it! No one understands the effects of your customer service better than they do, which means their opinions are extremely valuable. Motivate them to share their experiences by including a regular call-to-action in your marketing emails or offering them a reward.

Regardless of how you ask for it, taking the time to do so demonstrates your commitment to making your customer experience valuable — a fact that won’t go unnoticed by your community.

How Emily Ley and deliver exceptional service

Although Emily Ley and are in dramatically different industries, they’re both fantastic examples of how to make customer service a value-add opportunity.

Emily Ley webinar follow up email

Emily Ley’s attention to customer service is directly tied to how easy it is for customers to find and benefit from the other types of value-add marketing they’ve created. With an extensive video library, they’re committed to making sure each of their customers can easily and successfully set up their planner or organizer in a way that works for them. This desire is what inspired emails like the one above, which provides a direct link to a recording of their most recent workshop.

With this type of marketing, their customers don’t have to search to find what they’re looking for — all they need to do is click. feedback email

For, their commitment to excellent service is evident in their regular calls for feedback. By leveraging their existing points program, they can motivate customers to share their experiences in exchange for points they can turn into valuable rewards. In addition, these emails make it clear that they care about the service they’re providing and are dedicated to making sure it serves its purpose properly.

While both of these approaches are different, they both demonstrate a keen understanding of how important customer service is to adding and preserving the value of a brand community.


5. Offer an exciting unboxing experience

Very few brands seem to remember that their customer experience doesn’t end with making a purchase. Until customers have received your product and experienced it working as promised, you’re still impacting their overall experience with your brand. Long shipping times, poor packaging, and low quality products all significantly impact how likely your customers are to shop with you again, and can influence them to share their poor experiences with friends.

Make your packaging a significant piece of your customer experience to increase satisfaction throughout your entire customer journey.

That’s what your unboxing experience is so important. Not only is it fun to open something that looks beautiful and on brand, but it also positively colors every stage in your customer’s journey with your products. Paying attention to things like package design and little touches like thank you notes do not go unnoticed by customers, and can actually become one of the highlights of shopping with you!

When you pay attention to these details, you create opportunities to add value to your customers that turn into even bigger value for you and your brand.

How Simply Beautiful thinks outside the box

Unboxing videos have quickly become a hot commodity on YouTube, and this is a trend that Simply Beautiful considered when designing their subscription boxes. While they could have packaged their products in run-of-the-mill cardboard boxes, they took the time to design fun, bright designs for every box.

Not only does this line up with their name — Simply Beautiful — but it also creates a wonderful opportunity for customer delight. In fact, it’s the first thing this YouTube reviewer makes a point of mentioning! She also explains that the box itself has an effect on her excitement for exploring what’s inside, demonstrating a clear connection between her enjoyment of the brand and the subscription experience.

Simply Beautiful card from the editor

Simply Beautiful even takes it one step further by including a note from the editor in every box. These notes give each customer a glimpse into how the products in each box were chosen and why they’re considered “simply beautiful” that season. This type of information not only enriches the customer’s appreciation for each item but also builds a stronger personal connection between them and the individuals putting the boxes together.

If Simply Beautiful didn’t pay attention to these details, their subscription service would not have been able to achieve the level of success it experiences today. By carefully considering every step of their customer experience, they introduce an element of beauty and excitement to their brand community that sets it apart from their competitors.


Make every customer's experience better with value-add marketing

When you apply value-add marketing to your brand, people are excited to engage with you because they know it’ll be a valuable experience for them. This mentality is the foundation of trust and inspires positive emotional relationships that help grow your brand community and keep you ahead of your competitors.

Remember: customers always gravitate to the brands that have provided them with value in the past. Establish yourself as that value early on.

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