If you are reading this, I like to assume that by now, you at least have a favorite artist, hangout, restaurant, style of music, clothing brand, or even anything pretty much that you consider to be of prime preference in favor of another. In normal interactions, we do hear statements like let’s say you wished to go town to shop a pair of sneaks, your buddy would be like yiyi, man no worries, let me give you my plug’s contact. Usually this plug would be someone who your buddy has bought from before or their friend has, and do trust the quality of shoes they sold to them. The same could go for one’s motorist, maybe this one handles clients well, has good conversation/ small talk during rides or is hygienic/has a good sense of humor etc. The list goes on and on.

I for one had this one rolex place I went to for a whole one and half years, and my rolex guy and i really had a good consumer – buyer relationship till they shifted; same story for my favorite barber, though I knew the ‘hair guy’ a little as early as 2015, and the rolex place in 2018.  Same goes for cooperate brands I have been loyal to for years.

All the above examples all have one thing in common; something we people who study and practice marketing like to call ‘Customer retention’. The fact that they create happy customers who in return bring in new clients by either word of mouth or references. Therefore as a business owner, entrepreneur, or creative it is always important to work on ‘YOU’ because at the end of the day, your service delivery to people, your level of customer care, your character, financial discipline, and values (respect, being time conscious, hygiene, honesty) play a big part in how successful or a decline in your discipline may happen to your business.

This is not just limited to business people but to us individuals as well. Most times you find that we spread the gospel of supporting each other’s’ hustles but the thing they never tell you about SUPPORT is that there is a silent letter ‘E’ at the end of the word support. That ‘E’ stands for ‘Effort’, ‘CourtEsousnEss’, ‘HonEsty’, ‘Engagement’, ‘ConsistEncy’, TalEnt, and Explorer. Here’s how:

Effort: this is what I could primarily refer to how much energy you invest in when it comes to spreading word about your business, your music, your blog, your poetry, your art to the people who could be potential customers, readers or even subscribers. People, I inclusive are drawn to effort, because it does not really cut it, when you as a personal brand or creative are not showing as much commitment to pushing your content/ business. we are blessed to have various networking channels such as social media (Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp) and more where you can share links to your works, photos of them. Mailing lists too are a tool you could employ to send regular updates to regular readers/ viewers.  There used to be a common saying that we used while in school when it came to exam time, that “God helps those who help themselves.” Which implied that as you prayed to him for an exam to go your way, if you had earlier done some revision/ reading (effort), he’d somehow help you recall what you had studied and hence excel at the test or exam.  So, would be the case in this scenario, people offer support where they see someone putting in individual effort. Again, it comes back to You. The more effort and commitment you put in to supporting your self will attract more external forces to help you along the way. It could be friends, or work mates, and well-wishers. Could be any one.  Show interest in supporting yourself, and external energies to tag along and help push your content/ brand shall tag along, along the way; – because support is not something we are entitled to, but rather earn.

Still about quality, make it your habit to produce quality products/ offer great services, because no matter how much energy you invest in advertising your products, your efforts will be futile, since customers will be leaving your business as fast as they come to buy/ support it. As those rooting for you, we shall push your products but if they are mediocre, that’s a real problem, because like happy clients can even recommend you or refer you more clients, disgruntled ones can do their part as well. Therefore, endeavor to deliver quality.

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Courteousness: i like to approach this from an angle of charging fair and honest prices for your products, and for the case of content creators- being true to yourself, and your audience, putting yourself in their shoes, treating them the way you too would wish to be treated. Much as I agree many people get into business to make profit and returns but charging exorbitantly for your products/ services ain’t it. Yes, you’ll make profits and all, but will lose out on potential customers because of your unfairly priced and exaggerated cost of your products; – and this is not about someone being the target market for what you are offering. It merely calls for honesty when doing business. There is also a trend of many online businesses to merely post their products, minus including the prices and telling those interested to inbox in order to be given the pricing details. Remember,’ customer is king.’  And therefore, do not feel like they are the ones putting in the work to support you/ buy from you, as a business, it is you who needs them.

Talent: This can cover one’s natural ability to execute a task, perform excellently at a given task/ activity. To some it is in born well as others it takes years of practice, learning and re-learning. By nature, it is easy for us as humans to be attracted to and support people who exhibit talent at high levels, not because of what they do, but how they do it. For example, I will take you back to my point I laid out in my introduction of this article, at least each one of us has a favorite someone, something, brand etc. That is why say when they say so and so artist has dropped a new album, we will rush to look for it, stream it, share or even recommend our friends to check it out. A similar case could include a merchandise they are attached to, or endorse (reason most products and brands like to employ celebrities as brand ambassadors;- because they do have an appeal they make to people hence sales) This love sometimes causes some of us to shift when our favorites leave, and we are compelled to go with them wherever they go; case example the way it was in primary or high school though in rare cases that a certain student would leave that school because their favorite teacher had left it, and join the one where they had transferred to. However, in case you do not feel like you possess any talent, there is always room to:

Explorer. This is a stage of self-discovery at what you are good at. While in this one, one is free to try out as many things as they can get their hands on. During this trial time, it is good to consult from people you feel are superior or already good enough at this particular field that you wish to get into. Still under exploring, you could polish on what you already know. For example, as a writer, you could join writers’ communities online, as a visual artist, you could make use of social media to connect to fellow artists to grow together as you learn more from them, ad them from you. Again, I’ll say, – The internet is a great source of information and resources to learn more from. So, make use of it.

The second last E is for ConsistEncy. Just like you wouldn’t wish to date or become friends with someone whose feelings and moods are indecisive or inconsistent, same would be for a business or a YouTube channel/ podcast whose owner posts like one episode in 9 months or nothing at all even. Know why? Because there are other people who are doing the same thing, or maybe even better but you choosing to be loyal to this one person and their content yet they are on and off from time to time may break your spirit of supporting them in terms of watching/ listening to their content and you  move on. Similar scenario may be for a business, consistency includes being reliable in terms of having different sizes, flavors, variants for your products and etc. so as to suite everyone’s needs, because man, us consumers are perfectionists and being the person who tells us that haa, I do not have that, all the time may cause us to distance from supporting you in the near future and instead buy from an alternative supplier. Same for artists, it is important to at least keep your fast in the loop on say the new music you are working on, sharing your older songs and engaging with your people, because to be quite honest, we as humans tend to move on really fast, so it is your duty to keep your audiences in the know.

The very last E being Engage. As a business owner, or personal brand/ content creator, it is always important to engage with your customers, potential clients, or audiences. This can be you closing your video/blog post/podcast by telling viewers to share their personal experiences about a certain topic discussed in that episode. In a similar way, always make it a point to get feedback from regular buyers if your products to gauge on where to improve, or perfect in terms of service and product delivery. All in all, make it a point to create a bond/ relationship with your listeners, viewers, customers, because like I said:

‘We Do Not Listen to Programs, we listen to presenters (people)

‘We Do Not buy products, we buy people, customer care

‘We Do Not Listen to songs/albums, we listen to artists, lyrics, emotion.

‘We Do Not watch vlogs/videos, we watch people, personality, topics.

And many other examples. So, all in all work on YOU. I am not saying you should change who you are, NO, rather improve on certain aspects, so as to create happier customers, subscribers who will in turn spread word for you, hence you’ll get that support you deserve – effortlessly. Offer value, and reaping big shall be unto you.