I promise you, I haven’t gone stark raving bonkers when I say that the most powerful goal of digital marketing isn’t just about getting more customers. Read on and you’ll see why lead and customer acquisition are obviously very important – but should not be the only deliverable’s that your digital marketing should strive to reach.
You see, brands that are able to withstand the test of time – your Apple’s, Facebook’s, Manchester United’s and Coca Cola’s – do something far more poignant than just close the sale. Their marketing strategies foster an army of brand evangelists who are keen believers and promoters of the brand and its story.
In this article, we’ll talk about how we can turn a complete stranger into someone who is intrigued by your brand, buys your product and then eagerly prompts others to do the same. It’s for those looking to achieve more than just lead generation and one time sales – it’s for those looking to create a brand legacy that will still be standing after both of us are just dust in the wind…
There are three pillars to this process:
The First Pillar Of AWARENESS – Making Your Prospects AWARE Of Your Brand & Products
Before they can love you, blog about you and recommend you…they first have to find you.
This is where the staple digital marketing channels come into play. You can reach your potential customers through SEO, paid online advertising, content marketing, social media, video and PR. Done right, these are all crucial techniques that will put your brand in front of the people who are looking for the things you’re selling. This is your opportunity to excite and intrigue people, by showing them why your brand solves their problems.
Once potential customers are aware and excited, that should be just the start of their customer journey with your brand. Next, you’ll have to convert them.
The Second Pillar Of INTERACTION – Exciting Prospects To Pick Up The Phone & Click On “Subscribe”
It would be wonderful if all your customers purchased from and recommended you as soon as they heard about you. The real world rarely works like that – so the next step in creating our ultimate goal of the brand evangelist is to create lead magnets that facilitate interaction and enhance your brand credibility.
Examples of lead magnets include:
In all these instances, the prospect has to interact with your brand to some extent, and this starts the process of building rapport and credibility. For example, when they sign up for your newsletter, it’s a grand opportunity to grab their attention through superb content marketing. You have their inbox, and you can tap into the problems they typically have and present superb solutions.
Ok, so now they’re loving your content, warming to your brand and starting to trust in your capabilities. They’re now ready to make that leap into customers.
The Third Pillar – Happy Customers Who Become Brand Evangelists
There’s a big difference between a customer and a happy customer. There’s a difference between a product that just kinda sits there unused, and a product that benefits the purchaser or even better changes their lives (for the better).
The best way to excite existing customers into becoming brand ambassadors so that they talk about your company and products with enthusiasm is to have them use & enjoy it. Ideally even incorporate it into their daily lives.
Now this is somewhat industry specific of course – you’re far more likely to breed brand evangelists if you’re marketing LASIK laser eye surgery than something less life altering. After all, if you’ve perfected someone’s eyesight, they’re more likely to talk about it to their friends and family. They’re more likely to blog about their experiences and recommend you on Facebook. They’re unwittingly promoting you, giving you swathes of positive and priceless PR. So, it sounds like a statement of the bleeding obvious, but the first rule in creating brand evangelists is to MAKE SURE YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE ACTUALLY FILLS THE CUSTOMERS NEEDS.
Now, some people will just gratefully promote you once they’re a satisfied customer. However, as lovely as word of mouth is, we want to get as many people championing your brand as possible – and some of them might need a wee push to do so. So here are some more ways to get your customers to become brand evangelists:
Incentivise Existing Customers To Promote The Brand. You can do this through an online affiliate program (eg Family & Friends Referral Schemes) that can be digitally tracked. There are all sorts of ways to get your existing customers to promote your brand – a percentage of each sale they bring in or a fee per qualified lead are two obvious ones. Family & Friends referral schemes can be quite powerful, because the potential new customer gets a recommendation for your product from someone they trust.
Introduce Loyalty Programs. Depending on your industry, loyalty programs can help create brand loyalty in quite a big way. Examples include Costa Coffee where enough purchases gets you a free drink, or Hilton & Starwood Hotels who offer complimentary stays after you spend enough dough with them.
Keep In Touch. After making the sale, don’t go cold. This is your chance to turn the customer into a brand evangelist by communicating regularly and ensuring they are benefiting from your product or service. Your online funnel will inevitably have their email address, so a well written and insightful series of autoresponder (automatically delivered) emails can help establish rapport. Ask for their personal experience and feedback on making things even better.
Be Personable On Social Media. Social media is a good place to connect with your customers. It’s an opportunity to talk about the wider industry your company operates in, share news/insights and softly showcase your products.
Of course, not all your customers will end up being your staunchest promoters and followers. But, in a ruthlessly competitive marketing world where getting your message to your target audience is getting increasingly complex and costly – the brand evangelist might just be your best bet to build your brand into cult status.