Gaining loyal customers is just the first step in an effective growth strategy. For many companies, the hunt is on for individuals who are so taken by their products or services that they are willing to serve as brand ambassadors for that business. Such individuals can have a dramatic effect on how a business is perceived, and on its efforts to boost brand awareness and spread the word about its offerings to an ever-widening target audience.
Do you know of customers who might be happy to contribute time and effort to becoming brand ambassadors for your business?
Here are tips to keep in mind:
Earn trust, loyalty and a willingness to evangelise on your behalf.
These days, it’s not always enough to create and distribute a superior product. Sales should be accompanied by outstanding customer service and support—or you could risk losing business to a competitor who has similar offerings.
That’s because, for many customers, “the thrill of a new purchase rarely lasts long,” AllBusiness notes. “What stays with the buyer way beyond the purchase is the way you make customers feel.”
Quality products and services are just the starting point. The true differentiator is a company’s interest in maintaining a positive relationship with their customers—a relationship that serves as the foundation for budding brand ambassadors.
Identify your biggest fans.
If you’re not aware of who your “superfans” might be, it’s time to take a closer look at social media conversations that touch on your brand. Who’s talking about your company on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites? What about highly positive mentions in blogs and other web content? Among your own social media followers, there may be individuals who consistently praise your company—and are therefore eligible candidates for becoming brand ambassadors.
You can also reach out via customer surveys and recommendations from your sales team and others in the organisation. They’re likely to have people in mind who have expressed great appreciation for what your company does.
Reward customers who become brand ambassadors.
Once you’ve identified likely candidates, make contact with these individuals and start the process of building a brand ambassador. Always remember, there should be something in it for them—not just promoting your brand.
Offer attractive incentives that heighten enthusiasm for participating in promotional efforts. Invite brand ambassadors to test-drive a new product, have lunch with the CEO, or take a tour of your facility. Other incentives can “range from membership programs to discount pricing to referral programs,” notes Nextiva. The goal is “finding a strategy that works for your business and that excites your customers.”
Offer resources to help spread the word.
Fervent brand ambassadors deserve all the support you can provide. Invite them to post testimonials on their social media platforms or to blog about a favorable experience with your business. Offer product samples for them to review and then write about. Is it feasible to post photographs of them using your product or service?
Another winning approach is sharing fresh content you’ve generated for your own marketing purposes (articles, infographics, blog posts, etc.). If this content resonates with your selected brand ambassadors, encourage them to share it with their own followers—thus, exponentially growing the potential audience for your business.
Communicate on a personal level.
You may already be sending a regular email newsletter or some other form of communication out to customers. With brand ambassadors, consider raising this to the next level. After all, these are individuals who are going out of their way on your behalf. Look into sending personalised messages from the CEO or business owner, or offering a sneak look at changes in your marketing strategy. Let these prized customers feel involved.
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