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The Power of Godly Witnesses — Charisma Magazine

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“You are a hopeless case.”

“You will never change.”

“You will be as drug addict until the day you die.”

These were the messages spoken over my life again and again. In the natural, these dire predictions concerning my life and prospects for the future had a ring of truth to them. However, the Lord was raising up His witnesses around me to bring a message of hope and deliverance.

After wasting all of my teenage years on drugs, alcohol and a party lifestyle, I found myself facing five years in the state penitentiary. Even worse than that, at 20 years of age, I had been shooting narcotics in my veins for 5 years and had absolutely no hope or vision for the future. I was surrounded by teachers, doctors, counselors, pastors and random people who were declaring death and defeat over my life.

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Thankfully, the Lord spoke His Word over my life: “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17a). He used His people to do it. God displays His power and produces freedom in hopeless people through the boldness of godly witnesses. The most powerful tool you possess to promote change in the lives of others is your testimony. Specifically, your story of how Jesus Christ has brought victory and hope to your life.

Proverbs 18:1 puts it this way: “The power of life and death is in the tongue.” When I was a troubled, addicted and confused young man, I had people around me speaking two distinct messages. Some of those people were declaring death and destruction, while others proclaimed life and deliverance. The Lord used the message of hope to transform my life into a testimony for His glory and kingdom.

You can hear the rest of my story and discover how the Lord will use your story to encourage hope in people around you on this episode of Conquer Addiction on the Charisma Podcast Network. You can find more resources at omainc.org.Torch1

Ken and Sonya Pounders are the hosts of the Conquer Addiction podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network. They serve as directors of Outreach Ministries of Alabama Inc., a Christian discipleship training center for young men overcoming addictions. OMA Inc. recently celebrated its 50th anniversary as a ministry. Ken is also a 1983 graduate of Outreach Ministries of Alabama.

Ken and Sonya have devoted themselves to church planting, missionary evangelism and residential discipleship ministry in the USA, Eastern Europe, Asia and Central America for 37 years. They reside in Valhermoso Springs, Alabama, and have five children and three grandchildren.

Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.

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4 Ways to Build Brand Loyalty as the Economy Opens Back Up

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5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Despite the economy starting to open back up, many businesses have not been able to survive the the events of the last year or so. However, there are many others that have kept their doors open. Although it is commendable that your business remains, there is no time to celebrate. 

Instead, you need to stay focused on efforts to build brand loyalty. With the reopening of the economy, those who had previously shuttered businesses may try to open a new one and fresh entrepreneurs will also step up to compete for the attention of today’s consumers. 

The unprecedented times over the course of the last year changed many things, including consumer preferences, expectations and purchase behaviors. To maintain and add more loyal followers, consider these four tactics. 

Related: Why You Should Use WhatsApp Business in 2021

What’s to love?

Start by identifying why your best customers love you. Is it the value they perceive from your product or service? Does their demographic profile (age, income, location, and other factors) draw them to what you offer?

Once you determine the factors that make you attractive to others, then you can leverage those factors in your marketing materials. You will want to share those attributes across all channels in a consistent way. 

Once you have the messaging ready, it’s time to reach out to those in your target audience so they see your offer. Put together testimonials and lean into what makes your business great within the messaging. You may even want to ask current fans of your brand to serve as ambassadors to share what they love about your products and services with their social circle. 

Related: How Taco Bell Proves Old-School Marketing Tactics Still Work

Rewards for referrals and ongoing use

The last thing you want is to make your customers feel they are being taken for granted. If you never return the love they are giving your brand, then they might not believe you truly value them.

You can build brand loyalty with your existing customers by showing them regular appreciation when they share your products and services with others. That means rewarding your current customer base with some type of monetary incentive, discount or exclusive product/service so they feel special. 

Two ways to implement a rewards system are to incentivize referrals as well as the continued purchase of your products or services. Both are clear “thank you’s” to your customers. That appreciation will most likely compel them to remain loyal. 

To offer these rewards in a consistent way, you will need to develop and oversee a formal referral program. Creating a structured program not only makes it easy for customers to refer their friends, family and colleagues, but it also facilitates your tracking of those referrals. Doing so will give you the data that shows the return on investment (ROI) of these reward programs. 

Related: Make Sure to Ask Yourself These 3 Business Questions for 2021

Creativity on the edge

With ever-changing expectations, needs and perspectives among your customer base and target audience, you can’t become complacent and just stick with “what has always worked.” There will come a time (sooner, more likely than later) where what worked no longer does. 

To continue building brand loyalty, you will need to be creative, push the limits and take risks. This includes challenging all your assumptions about your business and your old ways of interacting with your customers. Stretch the boundaries of what you develop as new products, services and workflows. Over time, this daring approach will be one of the only ways to stand out and continue adding value for customers and your audience, especially as competition intensifies. 

You can encourage your team to take creativity to the edge by hosting brainstorming sessions and contests to reward the most innovative approaches to product development, marketing, and customer interaction. Cultivating a culture that thrives on continual change can also inspire everyone to seek different messaging and unique products and services that keep customers coming back for more.  

Related: 8 Content Marketing Ideas to Strengthen Your Bottom Line

Sooner is better

If we have learned anything from the past year, it’s that we do not have the luxury of time to decide how to change. The faster you can pivot to address evolving customer preferences and experiences, the better opportunity you will have to retain as many customers as possible. 

If you do not start building brand loyalty immediately, you will only face greater competition. Recent increases in job postings and loosened restrictions point to more businesses opening up. Thanks to economic stimulus and increasing confidence that the economy is set to fully open across the country, entrepreneurs and small business owners will be inspired to take action. As an organization that made it through the past year, the time to make a move is now. The newly opened businesses are eager and hungry, so they will do whatever it takes to win over customers, including those you have counted on for years. 

Although there is urgency involved in addressing brand loyalty, it is also important to take a thoughtful and measured approach to implement a results-based brand loyalty strategy and accompanying tactics. Before getting started, check in with your customers and find out what’s on their minds, including listening to anything that has changed for them. Not only will this inform how you select brand loyalty initiatives, but the act of reaching out to them to better understand what it takes to retain them can have a positive effect on your loyalty efforts. 

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