On Fostering the Long Tail Effect of True Brand Loyalty

One of the things I’ve always been a huge proponent of is fostering true brand loyalty for the long tail – strategic and continuous and  growth – versus getting quick buzz hits then using the rinse and repeat formula.

This stems from various reasons but the core overall one is simple – create a loyal army of consumers-turned-customers-turned-advocates, by providing solutions that meet their needs, and much of your marketing will be done organically.

This creates three benefits:

  • You have a true two-way relationship with your customer;
  • You have word-of-mouth from trusted resources that no amount of money could buy;
  • Your brand has an immediate advantage for new innovations, feedback and growth through shared ideas.

Loyalty also has another added benefit – more often than not, the cost of new customer acquisition versus existing customers satisfaction is much higher. Not always, but mostly.

If you can reduce the spend on acquisition, you can re-allocate that to reducing churn of existing customers, enhancing the loyalty and appreciation factor immensely.

Two brands that understand the implementation of long tail loyalty are BlogOnCloud9 and Livefyre.

Brand Loyalty: BlogOnCloud9

BlogOnCloud9 WordPress

When I switched over to WordPress hosting experts BlogOnCloud9 back in 2010, I wrote a post then on how happy I was with the move and service. Almost three years later, nothing’s changed – except the service and approach of Dana and Karen, the founders of and partners in the service, is even better.

Last weekend, on a Saturday evening, I was tinkering with my blog to add some CSS code in order to change the email sign-up box I have at the end of every post.

Because I’m not a CSS guy, I messed up the copy/paste and completely borked my blog. Since I’d changed some code in the functions.php file, it messed up the rest of the site and all I had was a scary blank white screen of death.

I resigned myself to the fact I did something stupid on a Saturday night, and pinged Dana and Karen an email saying what had happened, and if they could help resolve. This was done not expecting anything until Monday at the earliest.

Not one hour later, Dana emailed to say he had found the bad code, fixed it, and that the site was now fully operational again. This was at 8.00pm on a Saturday night!

I was floored. BlogOnCloud9 isn’t a massive hosting company employee-wise, but that service and response at the weekend outdid competitors far “larger” than Dana and Karen’s baby.

Brand Loyalty: Livefyre

Livefyre comments system

Ah, Livefyre. Regular readers and subscribers here will know I’m a huge fan of the Livefyre comments system. There’s just something about the platform that behaves like a true comment system should.Social integration; real-time chat functionality; community fostering, and more. It’s just an awesome platform.

Recently, I moved away from Livefyre and reactivated Disqus following a crowdsource survey of my subscribers, who preferred Disqus over Livefyre (although Livefyre had a huge amount of fans in the responses too).

But I began to have issues with Disqus. Mobile load time could be slow; Reactions (how your post has been shared on Twitter) were unreliable; and valid comments were getting caught in the spam filter.

I knew Livefyre were working on a major update to their platform, Livefyre 3. The beta version is on this blog, with the public release due imminently. And I knew that I still loved the platform, even though I’d made the move away from them recently.

So I emailed Livefyre support, and the awesome Dhara Mhistry was immediately on the case. No reprimanding (even in jest) for being “disloyal”, simply happy to help get Livefyre back on the blog.

Not only did Dhara and the Livefyre technical team ensure none of my Disqus comments were lost, she also answered all my questions regarding styling the comments to be more in line with the colour scheme here.

And, just like BlogOnCloud9, Livefyre was there testing the comments on the weekend to make sure the change back over had been a smooth one.

The really impressive thing? I’m not even a paying customer – Livefyre Comments is free, although it does offer premium features for businesses and media properties.

Building Loyalty Really Isn’t That Hard

What’s key in both these examples are two things that both BlogOnCloud9 and Livefyre clearly understand:

  • Customers (and/or users) mess up, and being able to clear a way through that mess together fosters trust and loyalty;
  • Losing patronage for a while doesn’t mean the brand has lost an advocate or loyal user – you have to find out for yourself why you loved that brand in the first place when compared to someone else.

A lot of brand struggle to understand loyalty – true loyalty. Offering discount vouchers and early usage of a new product may win you favours – but what you do after that to build on that quick-hit loyalty is what will define your long tail success.

BlogOnCloud9 and Livefyre already know this. Now it’s up to your brand.

Note: BlogOnCloud9 recently launched BlogDroid (affiliate link), for a seamless WordPress experience no matter what level of knowledge you have. 

Why I’m Loving BlogOnCloud9

First, I just want to say none of the BlogOnCloud9 links in this post are affiliate, in case you thought this was just a blatant sales pitch…

About a couple of months ago, I noticed that my site was having loading issues. I ran it through a load time analyzer and was shocked at how long it could take to load.

Especially with it being reported that Google would look less favourably on slow-loading sites.

My host at the time was Hostgator, and while they’re a great host, my concern was that by sharing bandwidth with other sites, mine would eventually suffer. Step up the search for a new web host.

One of the blogs I read a lot is that of Mark Jaquith, and he had a post about WordPress and how certain hosts weren’t really set up for it (and I’m not saying this is the case with Hostgator, just to be clear).

In the comments of that post, Ronald Huereca mentioned a host called BlogOnCloud9. What caught my eye was the mention that they use Rackspace, who I’d been looking at, and how they seemed perfect for WordPress and were very security-conscious. So I decided to look into BlogOnCloud9. And was very pleasantly surprised.

The guys at BlogOnCloud9 set the service up because they were also WordPress lovers frustrated at how the platform wasn’t always taken seriously by web hosts. They have a rich history with WordPress, with their involvement with ContentRobot, and so decided to set up their own dedicated service just for WordPress blogs.

Reading up some more on them, I contacted the BlogOnCloud9 guys with some questions about moving servers, their service, and just general questions on hosting, etc. They replied the same day, with a great personal touch (something that continues today), and really made me feel like their most important customer. Something that every business should do.

So I decided to go ahead with it and the move was smooth as marble. There was no downtime; the guys had me up on a dummy site to ensure I was happy with everything; and the transfer from Hostgator to BlogOnCloud9 was completed with no drama at all.

Since then, the performance and support continues to convince me I made the right move, and it’s the reason I recommend BlogOnCloud9 for any WordPress blog or site, and for clients that are overhauling their web presence.

Should you check out BlogOnCloud9? Well, here are some features if you’re interested:

  • Custom installation tailored to your needs.
  • Configuration and plug-in installation for security, SEO, performance and analytics.
  • One-to-one support and forum support for all WordPress questions (not just your blog).
  • Nightly back-ups emailed to you in case your blog goes down for any reason (using the awesome Back-Up Buddy plug-in).
  • Easy upgrade options to different plans, depending on your growth/new domains.

Because I have a few domains, I chose the Expert Plan that also gives me five development areas. This is where I can essentially create a clone of my blog to redesign, mess with template, try new features, etc, without damaging my live blog. Then I just flip the switch to set live.

If this post comes across as a bit promotional for BlogOnCloud9, I make no apologies for that. Just like you, I believe in sharing great products and service, and BlogOnCloud9 falls into both these categories and then some.

And like I said at the start, none of the links here are affiliate links (though BlogOnCloud9 does offer that if you’re interested) so I’m not even posting just to make a fast buck…

Anyhoo… this is why I’m loving BlogOnCloud9 and if you’re serious about WordPress and blogging/site host, you could do a lot worse than check them out.

Cheers!

A Quick Heads-Up on Access to the Blog

Hi guys,

Just wanted to give you a quick heads-up on access to the blog over the next couple of days. I’m in the process of switching web hosts from Hostgator to BlogOnCloud9.

While I’ve been pretty happy with Hostgator, I’m finding that as my blog grows (and the other domains that I currently have live, as well as a couple that will be soon) I need a host that can grow with my needs.

BlogOnCloud9 fits these needs, particularly with their cloud partnership with RackSpace.

I’ll be writing a little bit more about the differences I see (or hopefully see, anyway!) shortly. In the meantime, the blog may have some access issues in the next 24-48 hours. If so, I apologize, and hopefully the benefits of the changeover will make up for any inconvenience.

Cheers!