I never imagined I would take part in a scarf-styling workshop and I certainly never predicted that turbans would become my new fashion addiction. But that’s what value-added marketing and customer engagement can do – turn strangers into loyal supporters of your business. As the name implies value-added marketing is all about finding ways to add more value to your customers and incorporating your product in the process. Let’s take a look at how and why this works.
Understanding brand relevance
Ever heard someone say: “I couldn’t live without my…iPhone/ghd/car…?” The foundation of a brand or product’s success is determined by how relevant the product or service is to the customer. The below diagram illustrates this. The amount of overlap between your product and people’s needs ultimately determines the likelihood that they will keep your product as part of their lives.
Rifqah used her personal experience to craft a product that is highly relevant to her community. Rifqah, the owner of Rif-Wrapped, comes from a Muslim background where covering your hair is a necessity. She found that there was a lack of affordable, high-quality scarves available and decided to do something about it (with a little nudging from her mother). She started creating her own head scarves that did not require pins or clips and gave women like her more variety and style options.
Increasing brand relevance through value-added marketing
To increase your chances of long-term success, you need to focus on increasing the amount of overlap between your brand and your customer’s needs. This can be done by improving your product, increasing your product range or improving the supporting services (for example offer same day delivery).
Another way is through value-added marketing. This is where you offer customers something extra that relates to your area of expertise and speaks to a need of your customer. Some businesses will offer free e-books, webinars or tools. Shopify does this well with their ‘free tools’ web page that lets users build a logo, and create invoices. As you can see in the diagram below, the goal of value-added marketing is to entrench your brand into the customer’s life.
To get this right, you need to invest the time and effort in understanding your customers and finding ways where you can help them. Rifqah sells her scarves at markets and uses that face time with customers to her advantage.
Using the insight she had gained from customers, Rifqah decided to take a value-added marketing route by offering video scarf-styling tutorials as well as in-person workshops. Sharing this knowledge and expertise allows her to play a more significant and more valuable role in her customer’s lives.
How has this marketing model worked out for Rifqah?
The video tutorials have been a great hit with customers and helped Rifqah take her social media marketing to the next level with some of her Facebook videos reaching over 4 000 views.
We were lucky enough to have Rifqah, the scarf charmer, come to the Yoco offices to give the women of Yoco a quick tutorial. As someone who has never work a headscarf, I always wondered how they stayed up and assumed they take hours to put on.
It turns out I was very wrong. Within a few minutes of the workshop starting everyone had managed to do their own turban (and I learned how they stay on your head).t
After many laughs and selfies, Rifqah got her Yoco card reader out and sold a number of scarves to the turban novices.
“Yoco has played such a big role in my business, and it has guaranteed more sales. When my customers see that I take cards, they tend to take more than 1 or 2 scarves. I love how efficient it is and how much easier it is now to keep track of sales as well.”
Making time for value-added marketing
For many entrepreneurs, finding the time to try new marketing avenues in addition to running your core business is probably the biggest challenge. Rifqah manages this by having a rigorous weekly schedule and getting in help where she can.
“On Mondays, I do a stock check and then buy in the colours and prints that are low. Tuesdays will be spent cutting and the lady who sews it for me will spend a day or two sewing it depending on the amount. She finishes about 100 a day. Thursdays and Fridays are then spent cleaning, rolling and folding it getting it market ready. So that’s the prep that applies to both workshops and markets.”
She also admits that knowing when to say ‘no’ and understanding your limits is essential. “I try not to have more than one event a weekend as it would mean double of everything,” she says.
And, lastly, sometimes it’s just about fitting this in whenever you have a gap.
“The video tutorials I film whenever I have a chance. Filming is fairly quick, but the editing takes time.”
One of the best things about value-add marketing is that the content produced remains relevant for a longer period and can be reused more times than other forms of marketing. For example, Rifqah still gets views on one of her first ever videos. This makes the upfront time investment more than worthwhile in the long run.
Getting the word out about your business and finding new customers is a difficult task. However, changing your mindset from “how can I get people to buy my product” to “how can I play a more relevant role in peoples lives” can open up a whole new world of possibilities and help you differentiate your business.