Loyal Customers are frequently called 'Evangelists' of your business. Not too different from being indoctrinated promoters of your business. This is the most effective method of social promotion and advertising available and the best part is that you don't have to pay customers. It does work and here is why:
- The customer becomes your 'volunteer' salesperson. When a salesperson is a friend and advisor that someone trusts, you buy from them.
- This customer 'advises' their friends and peers - as an independent source lending immense credibility.
- The message almost akin to 'preaching' is genuine and even if there is hype, it is believable hype because it comes from heart and there is sincere concern.
- For the recipient of the message, the value is extremely personalized because they give and the receiver of the message know each other.
- The value is explained in a way that is understood by the recipient.
The job of Marketers is to help your clients become your ultimate salespeople. You need to nurture the relationships so that they spread the word about your product and services. You need to focus all external and internal activities on this common objective.
To do this, you need to have three things:
1. A Superlative product and/or service
2. An Absolute Fanatical focus on Customers (service).
3. Understanding that you are in a business where People Matter more than products.
How to create Word-of-Mouth Marketing with the help of your own Fans and Evangelists even when you have next to Zero marketing budget?
Here are some steps you can follow. They look deceptively simple, but you will need a lot of discipline and a commitment and drive from the top down. Of course, nothing is free but the return on your commitment will we well worth it. I have helped several companies achieve astounding results.
- Understand Your Customers. Why they buy from you, why they continue loving you. But also, find out and understand their issues, pain points. You will also learn without any fee what the market needs. You must have a systematic process to do this; not just ad-hoc surveys. How organizations act on the free advice of customers differentiates them from competitors.
- If you are focused on creating true fans and evangelists from your customers, you must be willing to share your knowledge with customers. Not just selling software, but using your knowledge to help clients build templates, and optimal workflows.
- Spreading the word - building the buzz. Sometimes you need to start off by 'seeding' this buzz internally. Even the likes of Paypal and Reddit 'faked' their way to traction before real buzz took off. Plan it with 'internal seeding' if you have to. Encourage behavior you want to see of your clients by incentivizing (which does not always have to be monetary incentives)
- Creating Community and sense of belonging. Cultivating a sense of 'tribe' that leads to evangelists. You must figure out creative ways of bringing customers together. You can do this by conducting In-Person Events, User Groups, Online bulletin boards, email newsletter, 'Fan' websites, etc. Here are some other methods you can use to create a community by putting people in marketing.
- Use pictures - not stock - of customers on your website.
- Feature extremely satisfied customers in your marketing literature and advertising
- Make contact information for your key people easily available on your website. If you feel they will be misused, you are mistaken. Don't let senior managers hide from customers and prospects. You only want to hide from customers if you have something to hide from, and you feel customers will call to complain. Look at the earlier point of 'understanding your customers'. They will give you great feedback money just can't buy.
- Feature portraits and bios of your company people on your website. Not just a police mug shot, humanize it. Write in personal ways.
- Humanize your company email. Adopt a more conversational style of writing. Correspondence should come from a real person, not 'management'.
These steps should get you on the way to Great Evangelist Marketing.