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How to turn your customers into brand ambassadors
by Startacus Admin
How to turn your customers into brand ambassadors- Our friend Sophie Turton, digital and content marketing specialist at creative digital agency Bozboz shares 4 simple and effective ways to turn your customers into brand champions!
"You are not in control of your brand. However, by harnessing the power of your customer, you can create a strong brand identity and significantly differentiate yourself from the competition, no matter what your size.
In an age of high transparency and consumer empowerment through social media, reviews, recommendations, forums, and more, the user has never had a louder mouthpiece, and more opportunities to use it.
The number of peer reviews on Airbnb has risen by 70% in the past year. Mary Meeker, the oracle of the internet, has crowned User Generated Content (UGC) as a key focus of clever marketing strategies for 2015. When a site makes the most of customer reviews, visitors are 63% more likely to convert into paying customers.
So why are so many businesses still not taking advantage of this opportunity?
Here are our top four tips to help you turn your customers into your top marketeers:
1. Put your customers centre stage
People love to see themselves, or their pals, in the spotlight. Burberry tapped into this trend particularly well withThe Art of Trench campaign in 2009. Users could upload and comment on pictures of people dressed in Burberry trench coats; the concept went viral and soon people from around the world were posing in, and actively engaging with, Burberry.
Burberry usedTumblr, a free blogging site, to create the campaign, and linked to their website and trench coat section. Their ecommerce sales increased by 50% year-on-year and the site is still very popular, creating a great deal of brand engagement and a huge return on investment(ROI).
“Today’s smartest brands view their customers as co-creators,” said Apu Gupta, CEO of social media marketing platform Curalate. This is particularly useful for small businesses and startups who often don’t have the budget to put into large marketing campaigns - the real price of UGC is ingenuity.
2. Incentivise customers to sell your brand for you
No-one reacts well to being force-fed, but make it worth their while and you’ll create a much more loyal customer base. A simple referral system is a great way to encourage customers, new and old, to get their friends involved.
SoConnect, a business telecoms provider, has a pretty impressive referral scheme. They offer 50% of the profit from a new client for the first three months of their subscription and, best of all, there’s no limit to how many people their customers can refer. For small businesses, this level of payout is not always possible; other incentive schemes include vouchers, money off your product or service, or points - think loyalty stamps in a coffee shop.
There are no rules on what incentives you can offer and the rewards doesn’t necessarily have to relate to your business. Doing a little bit of market research will help you understand what your customers are most likely to react best to, but make sure you consider the Return on Investment before you launch your referral scheme.
3. Give your customers the chance to develop your product/service
If your customers feel emotionally invested in your brand, they are more likely to engage with it, shout about and be loyal to it. Get them involved in how your company evolves by giving them some input into product design or service development.
There are many examples of brands that have done this well. Starbucks’ White Cup Contest, which launched in April 2014, asked customers across the US to doodle on their cups for the chance to design the new limited edition Starbucks cup. This was a great opportunity for Starbucks to prove they listen to their customers, and to include loyal Starbucks coffee drinkers in the development of the brand.
4. Prioritise testimonials
Testimonials are an age-old trick that’s been working in marketing for decades. Why? Because it gives potential customers the extra reassurance they need to believe in your product or service. However, only ? of businesses are actively seeking and displaying customer reviews.
Recent research shows that customers are 218% more likely to convert into a lead when they land on a testimonial page than any other page on a site, and those leads are 190% more likely to convert into a customer.
So how can you make the most of word of mouth?
Ensure you have a clear review page and, importantly, make sure it shows up on Google. Customer reviews are 12 times more trusted than descriptions that come from manufacturers, so rather than waste valuable resource on cleverly worded straplines, get your customers to shout about your brand for you."
Thanks for the thoughts Sophie - we look forward to more great advice soon!
If you like this post care of Sophie you might also want to read her other musings on: