A word of Reference goes a long way; from getting you a Job, to selling or up-selling your product. Even while purchasing a mobile, 48.8% of people make a decision based on a referral by a colleague, a relative or a friend. This trend is not only limited to mobile purchases but is ubiquitous for the whole market.
There are various ways to proceed your customers into the Sales funnel, but nothing seals the deal like a glorified word of mouth (the opposite is dangerous too!).
Difference Between a Customer and a Brand Promoter
Amassing a Customer is great but gaining a Promoter is a Home Run for companies! The thin line of difference between a customer and a promoter lies in the individual’s efforts to proclaim their love for your product.
A customer is someone who buys your product, uses it and forgets all about it. He might be a regular customer too, but he won’t be a Promoter. Not until you make him one.
On the other hand, a Promoter is someone who genuinely believes in the Good that you are spreading. He goes out of his way to encourage his fellow community to use your product. He raves about you on his social media platforms and writes glorified reviews. He even defends you in a war of critics.
You love the Promoter more, right?
Any Customer can easily be your Promoter with a little push in the right direction.
To get loud proclamations of affection for your product, you first need to spread that love. Unmatched product quality, presentation of the product and stellar customer service are different ways to profess your undying commitment to the customer.
What to do to turn your pool of Customers into Brand Promoters?
Online Social Media Network
- Connect with your existing pool of customers on Social Media Platforms. Include various CTAs (Call-to-Action) during purchases to encourage social media likes and sharing. Encourage your users and new buyers to share their purchases and experiences on the social platform.
- Use Facebook Connect to acquire more data about your users and understand customer pattern. Facebook Connect is a single sign-on application which allows users to interact with other websites using their Facebook account. With Facebook Connect, websites can directly acquire user credentials from Facebook, thus eliminating the need of sign up every time. With this, websites also get info about social media profiles of the users.
- Display and share the customer’s testimonials on various social media platforms and product pages on your website. Online experience for your customers is crucial for creating an impression. Customize the page for visitor’s experience to have an immediate impact. Using taglines which are crisp (don’t make it too crunchy to chew!) and clear, along with logos and mission statements will help you make a place in your consumer’s mindset. Proper identification and target of the customer database easily transforms an occasional sharer of information to a full-time brand promoter.
- Do not ignore branding. Connect with your customer base on certain human values and principles. Stay true to your values: be it online/offline advertisements, email marketing, blogs, videos or any other form of marketing. Pseudo promises have no value.
Online Consumer Survey
- Invest in some online surveying. This will help formulate an insight regarding the demographics. It will help you to know the type of your targeted audience.
- From the survey, you will be able to know about the respondents. Their behavior will separate them from a Promoter or a Passive Shopper to a Detractor. This survey guides the course for corrective actions.
- Repeat customers easily adopt to be promoters. Customers who have previously clicked on CTAs for social media links for sharing your emails, discount codes, or content are also quick to adapt to the promotion of your product.
Offers Personalized Touch or Rewards
- Follow up with your shoppers. Provide some incentive to your promoters. Feature fans on Brand’s social media pages. This helps to encourage participation and create a natural buzz among the users and the community of brand promoters too. You can also provide your promoters with exclusive offers, VIP deals, or loyalty rewards.
- Also, create a platform for open-ended feedback. ( positive or negative; both help you grow ) Reply to all feedback with a friendly approach. This instills confidence in the users as he feels that his complaints are being heard and addressed to.
- To maintain your presence in the customer’s life you can surprise them with friendly promotional emails. Draft and send customized monthly/bi-monthly promotional emails to make sure that you are not forgotten after a single purchase. Make them feel appreciated.
- To make it an ‘IT-thing’, use Branding, audience targeting, ethical email practices, relevant content, and effective re-marketing strategies. These strategies will also help you to turn a static email list into a dynamic fanbase which is eager to promote and rave about your product or services. This word of mouth is ought to acquire a lot of traction.
- When deploying email marketing, use open-rate data from A/B testing to avoid getting unsubscribed from your customers. With A/B testing you can give your audience what it wants.
- To acquire more brand promoters, one can consider inviting existing users to join a VIP list where they receive special offers or to become the first to know of any upcoming events or sales. The idea of exclusivity will drive them to promotion. Sometimes, a personalized video message or an entry to a cool event is all that can keep your promoters happy.
- Another way is to increase a brand promotion is to provide customers with post-sale support and information through content. Useful content in form of blogs, videos, DIYs, etc. about the purchase, usage, maintenance or service will keep the customer engaged and to build trust.
- Try predictive marketing for all your strategies. Predictive marketing helps to achieve foresight into the customer’s mind and promotes informed decisions.
What not to do?
- Never believe that all customers are the same. Individually, Customers see themselves as distinct identities. They expect the same from brands. Automated machine responses are a big put-off for the users. The machine responses lack a personal touch which every customer wants. (And, you better give, what the customer needs !)
- Never greet a customer without a background check. With Marketing Automation, one can get to know and keep a track of customer identities and their preferences. These tools allow you to track what customers are buying, blogging, sharing, reviewing, commenting and doing anything related to your products. With such details in your system, interaction with the users can be personalized easily.
- Some social media channels DON’Ts include:
- Never close a talk. Always leave some room for a reply.
- Don’t take user’s credits.
- Don’t tag/mention without their permission.
- Avoid desperate moves like #tagforlikes.
- Don’t bombard your User’s feeds. Set an appropriate frequency.
- Don’t be biased or filter fans based on their Klout Score. Each fan has an untapped pool of friends and community. Respect that.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Avoid spending all the money with on one marketing strategy. Diversify your marketing strategies and their budgets. Others can be your backup when one goes south.
- Do not neglect the existing pool of promoters in search of new. They were the first to adopt you when there were none. If you do so, then there will be none.
- NEVER underestimate any customer. Word spreads around. Your negligence can make you a sinking ship. All brand promoters abandon a sinking ship.
How to do it?
Zap it like Zappos!
No one creates a loyal brand promoters like Zappos. The online shoe and clothing shop in LA treats their customers like family. It surprises them with overnight deliveries, flowers and free pairs. The employees will be happy to stretch boundaries for their customers. Here are some heart touching stories of their empathy and benevolence:
- A lady’s husband had died in an accident. She called Zappos to return a pair of boots. Next day, the firm delivered flowers to her doorstep.
- A best man got his shoes delivered overnight at no cost. Apparently, the courier had routed his package to a different location.
- An ailing customer got lifetime free shipping, flowers, and a get well soon card. She had a medical surgery on her feet and was trying out different shoes.
Walt Disney has said it best, “Do what you do so well that they want to see it again and bring their friends.”
Flaunt it like Starbucks!
You buy coffee from Starbucks to drink it and flaunt it. Starbucks’ loyalists carry their cups around wherever they go. This is an excellent example of finding the correct target audience and creating a brand worth promoting. Making your brand desirable even post-purchase ensures the loyalty of users and envy of the non-users!
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” -Mark Twain
And when it comes to brand promotion, it is best to breathe this quote! Your customers are sure to hear, see and speak about it.