Nothing quite beats the satisfaction of a ping on your phone telling you a freshly drawn-up contract has been signed. I love the thrill of landing a new client. The excitement of getting to know their brand and plotting out what I’ll do for them. The sheer joy of having someone new to write for.
But if there’s one thing that does top the feeling of someone new saying ‘YES!’ to working with you, it’s receiving positive feedback from them.
“I love your efficiency!” a newly signed client told me last week. And I did a little skippy happy dance of joy as I read the email. I’ve honed my processes, I’ve polished my system, and I was rewarded with an acknowledgment.
But when you’re running a service-based business, you live or die on the quality of the services you offer. Truly standout services – the kind we genuinely love, recommend to others, and are undyingly loyal to – are not made of acknowledgments that you’ve successfully done what you promised to do, and done it well.
I know, right.
But it’s true.
Yes, a fabulous service needs to deliver on all its promises. But what makes you shine in comparison to your peers won’t be the speed with which a contract landed in your new client’s inbox. Nor the fact they received Live documents in which they could directly collaborate with you.
No, you need to go beyond the simple efficiencies and deliver a genuine WOW factor.
And that comes in moments.
The kind of indelible moment that permanently lodges in your memory, creating an unshakable glow of positive energy whenever you think about that service.
The Value Of A Signature Moment
We call this type of experience a Signature Moment, and much like Signature Services, they’re very carefully designed to deliver something truly unique and special to your client. Something that makes you and your brand stand out against the competition. Something that puts you ahead of the pack.
Notice I said designed. Signature moments are not serendipitous, the are specific interactions you have carefully planned out and created to leave a positive impact.
These moments, or micro-interactions, are small ways you ensure your brand delivers that little be extra. They can be obvious, but they’re often subtle. And when I say it’s your brand that delivers, I mean it, because these moments should be finely crafted to perfectly encapsulate your brand. They’re touchpoints that are instantly recognisable to clients, both as superior, and as yours.
Only you could have done that.
Only you would have thought to do that in this specific way.
What Exactly Is A Signature Moment?
It’s trying on a new dress, loving it, and then discovering that tiny extra detail you’d never even noticed. A miniature label, subtly added to a cuff, or hem, bearing a crescent moon on the outside, and the words “We are the weirdos, mister” on the inside.
Killstar is an exceptional alternative brand that completely understands its ideal client. We’re a bit goth, a bit witch, a bit weird. We all grew up on The Craft and that line gets us every time. It makes us feel safe, at home, seen, and understood.
There is no earthly reason Killstar needs to add these extra labels to their clothing. They’re not the main label on the inside collar or the washing instructions on an internal seam.
No, they are purely extra. They were very purposefully designed to give their customers a giddy feeling of euphoria when they noticed them.
And the best part? They don’t all say the same thing.
I own so many items of Killstar clothing and, I’m not joking, it’s largely because of the unmitigated JOY I felt that first time, with that first dress, when I noticed that tiny little label.
New arrivals from them are gleeful. I want to find the hidden extra label. I want to see what they’ve written on it this time.
THAT is a signature moment.
May we all be so creative as to think of a means of instilling such snippets of wonder in what we do.
How To Create Signature Moments For Your Brand
Every business leads its customers on a journey. Some lead them on multiple journeys depending on what they have on offer. There is no avoiding the client journey – in order to have clients, they must traverse the path to becoming your customer, continue down the road of working with you or using your products, and then decide whether they will part ways, embark on an extended adventure with you, or (best of all) invite their friends and family to join the odyssey.
As a business owner or manager you have two choices:
- Allow the journey your clients experience to just happen and hope they find the experience positive.
- Actively plan their journey and ensure it’s the most positive experience possible.
Signature moments assume you’ve already done the latter and take it a step further. Your customers are already on a journey with you, one that you’re optimising to be smooth sailing from start to finish.
Now you’re going to build in very specific interactions at set points in that journey – pit stops if you will – to ensure your clients are feeling a certain way, and never forget the experience.
These moments are usually short-lived (hence the name). They’re not intended to be a constant on the journey but a brief flash of brilliance. Don’t underestimate them because of their brief appearance. They are more than the sum of their parts. They’re powerful and influential, and ensure a deeper and more meaningful experience for your customers.
And not only you clients. Signature moments ensure longer lasting and more mutually beneficial relationships for everyone involved – you, your clients, and your employees.
The key to a signature moment is to elicit an emotion. A strong, instant dose of powerful emotion.
This is why they pack such a punch. Get it right and you’ll have created a superfan for life.
The creation of a signature moment takes careful planning and execution but isn’t generally difficult. You need to be clear on a few things before you start crafting these moments, but once you’ve achieved that clarity they tend to be simple to construct.
- First of all, what are your goals at the moment? What is your objective, and what are you trying to achieve?
- Now, consider your brand, what is your ethos? What are your brand values? How do you want people to perceive and remember your brand?
- Next, think back to positive and powerful experiences you’ve had with other brands. Start with the brands you’re obsessed with – the ones you act as a superfan for, as I do with Killstar. What was the moment? What up-leveled them from a brand you liked and happily bought from to one of your favourite brands, one of your obsessions?
- Finally, map out your deliverables – how do you follow through on the promises your services (or products) make? Who’s on your team, what methods and systems do you have in place, and what are your channels?
As your customers interact with you there are many moments. From the point of being a cold prospect who’s never heard of you before; to warming up enough that they subscribe to your list or follow you on social; to biting the bullet and handing over cash; to recommending you to friends and family; to buying from you again and again.
Moment after moment after moment.
Most of these moments aren’t signature moments. In fact, most are fairly mundane. You can ensure they’re as positive and smooth as possible, but that doesn’t make them standout signature instances.
What Makes A Moment Signature?
Originality is the name of the game when it comes to crafting signature moments. The reason you spent time pinning down all those specifics about you and your business is that it needs to align all of them. Draw every point together so the moment becomes a nexus of your strategy and goals, your vision and ethos, informed by your experience of other brands but unique to you, and crafted in such a way that you can effectively deliver it.
For example, when I joined Denise Duffield Thomas’ Money Bootcamp (highly recommended for anyone struggling with money blocks), I received a postcard, delivered by snail mail, welcoming me to Boot Camp. Denise had written on the back herself (no pre-printed stuff here) and I found that little personal touch, that small bit of extra effort on her part, to be just perfect.
Bear in mind this course has thousands of members, she gets hundreds of new signups every month, and we all get one of these postcards.
It would be completely impractical for Denise to do something very time-consuming for each individual, but to pick up a postcard off a stack, pen a brief welcome note, and pop it in the post? Entirely doable.
She lives in Australia, by the way, and I’m in the UK.
That postcard traversed the globe to welcome me to the course.
But it made all the difference. And it was so typically Denise, so typical of the woman and the brand I’ve followed and loved for years. A woman dedicated to empowering women to create the kind of wealth they deserve, who is genuinely excited by the journey of every individual she helps.
That was a perfect signature moment.
I loved it.
My other half recently tried to throw that postcard out, thinking it was rubbish. I nearly lynched him. It’s over a year since I joined but I still keep it around, as a touchpoint. A reminder of the kind of business woman I aspire to be.
To that end, earlier this year when I switched back to working for myself full-time (I spent three and a half years as Head of Marketing at a digital agency, so everything slowed right down on my business), I set about crafting some signature moments of my own, and took inspiration from Denise and that postcard.
It had such a powerful impact on me, I wanted to create that for my own clients. To that end, I had postcards of my own printed. Not copies of Denise’s, but inspired by it. The photograph on it is obviously of me, the message is completely different, but the back is similarly a space for a personalised welcome message.
My strategy and goal in sending these is different to Denise’s. The purchase in question is also different (mine are sent to new freelance clients who have hired me to write their copy, not new members of an online course). I wanted to tap into the relief that many of my clients express when they first hire me.
They know their copy is handled, and it’s a huge weight off their shoulders and minds.
They’re no longer trying to find time to do it themselves, or slaving over drafts they hate because they can’t find the words. Instead, they can relax, knowing it’s all in good hands.
The value of a new client to me is also considerably higher than Denise – her course is currently about $2K USD, while my clients bring in anything from £2K to £100K+ a year in revenue. So, I went a step further than a postcard, putting together little welcome hampers including some posh tea and biscuits (to aid in the relaxation!), the personalised postcard, and one very nice piece of marketing – details of my blogging services, or website services, or SEO services, depending on what the client has already signed up for.
My clients love these packages. They rave about them.
The trick is to look at what you’re trying to achieve with your signature moment. In my case, I wanted to give all my new clients that warm glowy feeling of being special, and ensure they had a moment to take a breath, relax, and relish the fact that a good chunk of their marketing was handled.
I also wanted to make them aware that there were other areas of marketing that I could likewise handle, should they need me to.
Sure, I could have just sent a flyer on its own, but where’s the comfort in that? Where’s the personal touch? Where’s the sense of confidence in your new writer? Where’s the unburdening?
Sidebar: my purchase of Money Bootcamp took place about 8 years after I first encountered Denise online, subscribed to her list, and made low-ticket purchases from her in the form of her books. Never underestimate the power of your email list; it’s not there to convert instantly, but to ensure when each individual is ready they buy from you.
Key Points To Remember
As you’re crafting your signature moments, be sure to infuse them with a few key elements:
- They need to be original; borrow from the ideas of others but make them your own!
- They must be impactful; make the recipient feel something, and ensure you stand out next to your competitors.
- They should be memorable; this is a thing they should recall regularly as a wonderful thing you did for them.
- They should be immortal; give people positive juju that lingers long after the moment has passed. (I still get warm fuzzies every time I look at that postcard from Denise!)
- They need to be extra; something that goes above and beyond what they actually paid for (although you will obviously deliver that to a high standard also!).
- They should be shareable; if people aren’t snapping a photo and popping it on the ‘gram, firing off a Tweet, or filming their reaction for TikTok, you need to step up your game.
- They should be repeatable; whatever you’re doing you need to be abe to do it for everyone, not just a few people, or the ones living locally.
- They should be scaleable; your business is growing, and these moments need to grow with it. That might mean delivering them to more people, creating them more often, or both.
A Few Things To Avoid…
Before you start running off and trying to turn every point of your customer journey into a signature moment, stop. Don’t. For one thing, you don’t need to. For another, it will have the opposite effect – those moments won’t stand out as special or extra. They will either blend together to create something that’s delivered to a high standard, but doesn’t have a distinct WOW factor at any point; or they will be overbearing and create overwhelm or irritation in your customers, rather than the positive energy you were aiming for.
They also don’t need to be big and flashy. Small things are usually far more impactful than overblown gestures. A small extra label with a fun quote, a simple postcard, a cup of tea and a biscuit. Stay humble.
Don’t Emphasise Your Faults
You might also want to consider the current level of satisfaction among your clients. If there are issues in the delivery of your offerings, or you have clients who have had a bad experience, a signature moment can (if poorly timed or thoughtlessly crafted) simply heighten their negative impression of your brand.
For example, imagine you just hired me as a copywriter and I’d sent you a draft you absolutely hated (it’s never actually happened, but it could, touch-wood it never will!). And just as you’re riled up and irritated that the service that was supposed to make everything easier has actually caused you more stress, a cheerful postcard lands on your doormat screaming ‘RELAX! Your copy is handled!’.
You’re not going to feel relief.
It’s just going to piss you off even more.
Let Them Evolve
What works now may not work six months or a year from now. What works to create an epic signature moment at the start of your client’s journey may not have the same impact later on. If you’re creating more than one, make them distinct. And revisit them every now and then to ensure they are still fully aligned with your business, brand, and goals.
If you’re struggling to focus on the pivotal points in your client journey, don’t be afraid to actually ask your clients. Run a quick survey with some straightforward questions that will tell you which points in their journey are positive, which are less so, how you can improve, and where there’s space to create that kind of WOW impact. Use this as an opportunity to overhaul your customer journey as a whole.
And of course, if you need help crafting clever copy to create those signature moments (or any other marketing efforts), you know where to find me. There’s a gift hamper in your future…
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