Customers buy things. Brand evangelists preach the things that they have bought.
Brand evangelists are highly satisfied customers who just can’t wait to sing your praises from the tops of mountains. These people go far above and beyond the “customer” role of just buying your product and disappearing, never to be heard from again. Instead, they make sure that everyone they know knows that they love you.
As far as they know, your products and services are the best! The best part? Brand evangelists don’t cost you a single cent! They’re spreading the love on their own.
While some brand evangelists will become so passionate on their own that they jump forward, there are things that you can do to encourage customers to take that next step to evangelism.
Follow these rules to help increase your brand loyalty and support your evanglists.
Customer Feedback and Service are Gold Mines For Potential Evangelists
If there is just one thing we can tell you to do to transform customers into evangelists, it’s this. Talk to and listen to them. It really the best ways to create brand evangelists.
Customer feedback is essential to learning what your audience experiences as the best and the worst aspects of your product or service. They will tell you what makes your product great, but they will also share what you need to do to make your product better than the rest of the competition.
Taking this feedback to heart and doing something with it will show your customers that you care about them–and their needs.
A study done by McKinsey and Company found that 70% of purchase experiences are based on how your customer feels that they are being treated.
If your customers see that you actively turn their feedback into positive, they will be eager to spread the fuzzy good feelings with everyone they know! This is especially true in cases where you have provided a solution to a customer who is none too happy with you or your product.
Remember: customers who have nothing but amazing things to say about your product are probably already brand evangelists.
But, on the other side of the coin, don’t discount people who do have trouble. Customers with problems or concerns aren’t roadblocks to your successful brand evangelist program. Instead, see customer problems as a huge opportunity for conversion to brand evangelism. You must sooth their fears and alleviate pain points quickly and effectively. Doing this will certainly help them choose your brand over the competition, because how often do you really experience exceptional customer service? (Answer: not often enough.)
Your Brand vs. Their Brand
Brand evangelists will only become so if they feel that they are using the crème de la crème of products!
When investing in market research, always dive deep into what people are saying about your competitors. Find out why some people choose your competitors instead of you, and turn that information into actionable feedback.
Maybe there’s a niche that only your product can fill. Or maybe, there are tweaks that your product needs to make it stand out from the crowd. Take this feedback as seriously as you would if these non-customers had chosen you.
Once you do make adjustments to your product, marketing, or brand messaging based on feedback, don’t be shy! Put it out through all your channels, again Facebook and Twitter being the biggest ones, but Google+, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Instagram can also be amazing channels with which to connect to your potential brand evangelists. You’re showing that you’re listening.
Social Media Is Only a Vessel, Give Them Something to Fill It
To get customers talking about your product, you have to give them something to talk about. No one is going to want to be your brand evangelist if they think you or your product is unnecessary, unreliable or conforms to your competitors too closely. You must be unique, innovative, and show that you are different!
You can do this in a number of ways, the easiest way is to make yourself available in a non-intrusive fashion through social media. This is especially true in cases of complaints on social media. A study from Maritz and Evolve24 found that 83% of the customers who complained that received a reply liked or loved the fact that the company took the time to respond.
The more you interact positively with your customers on social media, the higher the chances are that their friends or followers will get involved in the discussion. According to a study done by Hubspot, 71% of people are more likely to purchase something based on social media referrals and one done by Sprout-Social says 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions.
If you can get their friends and followers involved in the discussion, you can make your original contact a brand evangelist because their friends are there, too!
Another way of becoming less like your competitors and increasing the amount of time someone may spend on your website is to use a tactic called gamification. That is, using things like “Bug Catcher Awards” and badges for completing tasks likes watching tutorials, or commenting on them to increase your customer’s interest, and often their loyalty. You can add a “Share to Social Media” button for when these events occur, spreading your name, and your brand.
The happier, more interested your customers are in your product, the bigger the chance they will want to share their experiences with their friends!
In the Digital Age, Convenience Can Have Huge Pay Offs
If you want people to share your content, make it as simple and streamlined as possible for them to do so. This can be in the form of a “Share to Social Media” button on your tutorials, or articles, or email blasts that include relevant information and easy access to important features so that they can press one button and then bam!
In this world of technology, we have also created the expectation that things on the Internet should be easy. Easy to find, easy to read, easy to share.
If someone has to dig around your website for something that on your competitor’s website is upfront and center, they’re going to go to your competitor simply for the ease that they found there.
Simplifying processes like signing up, learning about you and your product, and getting help can have a huge impact on customers becoming brand evangelists, purely because of the convenience factor! There isn’t anything more convenient than quick, easy and friendly service, both relative to sales and customer or technical support.
Your employees interact with your customers every day, and this can hugely influence your customers’ conversion to brand evangelism.
Never Forget, Happy Employees Make Customers into Brand Evangelists
Employees are the core of any business. They are the ones who interact with customers on an every day basis.
This means that they have a huge impact on the level of satisfaction your customers will have with your product. Employees and their happiness should therefore always be one of the top priorities of your business plan.
If a customer who is unhappy interacts positively with an employee of the company that they are dissatisfied with, they will turn their view around, and quickly.
Brand evangelism stems out of the feeling of being cared about, and listened to. It is this feeling that will cause your customers to go to all of their friends and tell them exactly how awesome your product is, simply because their interaction with your employees made their perspective spin a full 180 degrees.
This also ties back into the study by McKinsey that we mentioned earlier.
Customers purchase products because of the way they feel when they decide to buy it. You can tell when an employee of a company is unhappy, it shows.
But you can help mitigate that by keeping open lines of communication throughout your chain of command. Provide helpful, not hurtful feedback that inspires employees to do better. You can also offer benefits in line with what your employees want.
While this tactic is more difficult to implement that some of the other suggestions on this list, just remember the free advertising you’ll receive from happy customers.
Final Note: Brand Evangelists have High ROI
They used to say that you had to spend money to make money. The best part about brand evangelists? They dig your product so much, you don’t need to spend anything more to get them to share your message. They want the whole world to know about you – free advertising!
By being good to your customers, acting on feedback, and ensuring employee happiness, you’ll be able to pump up your return on investment because brand evangelism is proven to be at least 10x more cost-effective than traditional marketing tactics according to a study done by Zuberance. Not only do brand evangelists help lower your costs by acquiring new customers for you,they lower the cost of that acquisition by up to 50%.
In conclusion, brand evangelism is by far the most cost-effective form of marketing available to businesses today. It will save your company tons of money, while generating sincere relationships within your business community. It will grow your social status, both online and off.
Starting a brand evangelist marketing program is inexpensive, and the returns are enormous. This is not something you want to put on the back burner!
What do you think are the some of the key factors in the transformation from consumer into brand evangelist? Let us know what you think in the comments below!