digital marketing, digital strategy, seo, social media marketing

How to become a ‘Best Friend Brand’ to your customers

According to new research, the average person only has around five companies that they repeatedly buy products and open emails from. Companies may think that they have built up a fantastic brand presence, but unless they are one of these five for their target market, there is definitely more work to be done to become a best friend brand.

The research, carried out by digital marketing software provider Silverpop, asked around 4,000 consumers in the UK, Germany and the U.S. about their shopping habits and communication preferences. Silverpop’s study found that on average, consumers only have five ‘Best Friend Brands’ and that:

  • Over 70% of consumers said that they would be more likely to buy something if a company’s initial email contact was tailored to their personal likes and preferences
  • 64% said that would be more likely to open an email if they already trusted the brand

Trust is everything

Amongst the findings of the study, which have been summarised in a rather nifty infographic on, the major issue that emerged was of trust. For consumers, trust in a brand was the main thing they cared about when choosing where to shop and which emails to open.

Trust appears to be even more important to consumers in the U.S, according to the study, as around 70% of respondents were influenced by it – 5% more than in Germany and 10% more than in the UK.

How to become a ‘best friend brand’

Becoming a ‘Best Friend Brand’ to your customers isn’t easy, and it won’t happen overnight. The key is to take the time to build a relationship with customers just the way you would cultivate a personal friendship, as Silverpop’s product strategist Dave Walters explains:

“Consumers prioritise brand relationships much like they do personal relationships, with some being closer and more important than others,”

“While brands are competing for attention, it’s critical for them to get their correspondence with consumers just right in order to be considered a Best Friend Brand. Brands can no longer simply take the same-for-all approach. Outreach must be tailored to each individual’s needs and email offers a fantastic opportunity for this type of relationship building.”

Relevance and value

Relevance is hugely important, with 58% of people in the study saying that they wouldn’t bother opening an email if they thought it wasn’t relevant to them.

Tied in closely with relevance is a sense of value, which is another strong incentive for customers to open your emails. Over two thirds of consumers said when surveyed that they want to receive information about discounts and special offers, new products and newsletters. If you make your customers feel that they are benefitting in some way from reading your emails, it makes sense that they are more likely to open them in the future.


With trust, relevance and value at the top of your priorities list, you can then start to tinker with strategies for engagement. There are lots of stats and tips on increasing consumer engagement with email and other digital marketing approaches, but you need to find (through research and some degree of experimentation) what works best for your brand.

Do you have a tried-and-tested email marketing strategy that you’d care to share? What do you think makes customers open your emails? We’d love to hear your thoughts. 

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