Let’s say you’ve just thought about purchasing a new smartphone for yourself, and have begun browsing the internet for popular brands that match your budget and lifestyle.
It’s no surprise that within minutes, you’ll be bombarded with a long list of benefits and features for different models from numerous brands.
Now, would you choose to confuse yourself with these sleek, tempting advertisements, or rather opt to explore video reviews of similar smartphone brands on social media, made by customers who actually own and have tested the product?
I would ‘hands down’ choose the reviews of ‘real’ customers. Who wouldn’t? After all we’re all looking for ‘social proof’, or an assurance that conveys more ‘authenticity’ through valid, concrete experiences, ratings and testimonials shared by our ‘fellow customers’.
And it doesn’t matter how ‘poorly captured’ or ‘shaky’ the videos may be, it gives the customers more value into their research, and for the marketers, it’s ‘word of mouth’, the most ‘persuasive’ form of marketing!
For 86% of consumers, ‘word of mouth’ is considered as the most trusted form of marketing, whereas 90% of them search for reviews before making a ‘buying decision’.
This is where ‘Brand Evangelists’ come into play. Brand Evangelists are similar customers who are ‘highly satisfied’ with your products, and can’t wait to sing your praises, any way they can, all for ‘free’, all for the love of the product and the brand.
A customer buys your products and moves on, A Brand Evangelist not only buys your product but ‘believes’ in your product and service with such intensity that he/she aggressively promotes it to others.
The following are some tips to help nurture your customers into becoming raving ‘Brand Evangelist’s:
1. Listen to and act on your Customers’ feedback
Nobody will tell you with the sincerity and honesty about how they perceive and ‘feel’ about your products, than your customers.
All customer feedback should be taken as an opportunity to learn about your customers’ experience and convey their comments regarding the pros and cons of your brand, product and services.
‘Listening’ is a great practice, if you make a habit of taking on the feedback and do something about it, your customers will feel they’ve been ‘listened to’, their problems have been taken care of and their ‘voices’ valued!
Customers whose feedback is taken to make positive impact, will immediately find the urge to spread the good ‘feeling’ within his/her circle of friends and families, or by putting out a good word for the brand in the social media. These are your new Brand Evangelists, who can be nurtured further with more recognition and acceptance based on their feedback/opinion.
Similarly, customers sharing bad experiences and complaints can equally be converted as evangelists by addressing their concerns. By alleviating their pain points immediately and effectively, you will be providing them with exceptional customer service, which will help change their initial perception about your brand and nudge them to choose you over your competitors.
2. Leverage the ‘Convenience’ factor
You may have a great brand and product that many like and adore, but if you want to amplify your reach, in this digital age it’s essential to create ‘content’ that’s simple, clear and immediately ‘shareable’ by your ‘happy customers’.
For those evangelists and promoters of your brand, it will be a huge deterrent if they have to dig around your site to find the right content to tweet, share or post. They might as well take your competitors similar content and share it, just because it was quick, snappy and easy on the fly.
Whether it’s a nifty ‘share to social media’ button for your eBooks, articles or product campaign,; access to your product page with one clear and ‘inviting’ button, or a simplified ‘sign up’ process,; the ‘convenience factor’ can play a huge role in keeping your customers engaged and leveraging ‘brand evangelism’.
Sharable content such as; infographics, quotes, celebrity testimonials, gripping event campaigns and company taglines/messages can help induce an evangelism movement in many platforms ; blogs, videos, podcasts, forums and social media channels.
Here’s an example from Coke, which inspires its followers/customers to share their experience with coke on Twitter:
3. Offer ‘Loyalty’ and ‘Referral’ Programs
Loyalty Programs can help to convert customers into brand advocates and evangelists. The customers, who would otherwise make a single purchase and scoot off, will have the incentive to stick around and avail something of value for engaging longer.
For example, take BTO Sports who rewards customers with a chance to win a free product, if they tag BTO’s Instagram feeds:
As the customers participate in the loyalty bonuses, they get accustomed to using the products regularly and tend to talk about it and share it with family and friends, thus turning into evangelists and avid fans of the product.
Similarly, another idea is to provide incentives on referral. Many brands do offer a ‘referral fee’ as incentive to putting out a good word, but the same can be also obtained with incentives with the ‘social responsibility’ or the ‘philanthropic’ card.
For instance, instead of offering a ‘referral fee’, customers can be assured that a small percentage of proceeds from the referral business will be donated for charitable cause. It’s even better if you can confirm how much money goes to which cause from each sale.
A great example of such practice is carried out be TOMS shoes, who practices social responsibility and encourages customers to be a catalyst in their noble philanthropic cause:
TOMS idea of making every customer a donor who is helping a child to cover his feet, immediately resonates with customers and encourages them to spread the word as passionate evangelists for the brand.
To Wrap Up…
Brands need to realise that customers are an integral part of their marketing team. You can build great products, but in order to sustain its growth and to assimilate it within the masses, the nurturing and cultivating of brand advocates and evangelists, will go a long way!
Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Website is element7digital.com.au