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By Haseeb Tariq

Think back to the last live concert or sporting event you attended. What made it so magical? Why was it so different from watching the event on TV?

There’s something about being surrounded by hundreds of other screaming fans who love the same thing you do. You can’t help but get caught up in the moment. There’s an energy that comes from being around people who love and support a sports team or musician that you can’t replicate.

The way I see it, brands that have a loyal following online encourage the same type of fandom as major sports teams and musicians. Instead of filling stadiums, they’re filling their social media feeds with news and excitement about the brand and helping to move prospective customers through the marketing funnel.

Why Every Brand Needs Fans

If you can turn customers into fans, you may quickly find that you can increase your revenue without increasing your marketing budget. Fans will do a lot of marketing for you through word-of-mouth campaigns on their own social media platforms. When people genuinely love a brand, they’re often happy to tell everyone they know about it.

Another reason you need fans is that they will continue to return to you again and again. Finding a brand that delivers precisely what you need can be challenging. When a customer finds that magic relationship with a brand that seems to just “get” them, they are more likely to become loyal for the long term.

Finally, it’s easier to sell new products to fans who are already familiar and comfortable doing business with you. Giving your fans exclusive access to new products and product launch events can make them even more likely to want to buy your new products and encourage their friends to do the same thing.

Three Ways To Turn Customers Into Fans And Advocates

So, now comes the hard part: How can you capture your customers’ attention and turn them into fans who will actively advocate for your brand?

It starts by engaging with customers. You’ll need to develop a strategy that actively connects with customers and reaches them on an emotional level. Here are a few ideas to try.

1. Make customers feel appreciated.

Every customer should feel like a VIP when they do business with you. This starts by delivering exceptional service at every single opportunity, from optimizing your website for search engines to having helpful support available via chat or phone when they run into an issue.

You can also make customers feel appreciated by giving them perks and extras. Many companies have loyalty programs that are free and that deliver value to customers regularly. By appreciating your customers through rewards, discounts, promotions and special events, you demonstrate that your relationship is more than just transactional.

2. Give them something to talk about.

Share exciting news, exclusive sneak-peeks and one-time-only discounts with your fans first. Hold special “fans only” shopping events that give them unique access to products. Then, encourage them to spread the word to their networks so their friends can get in on the fun.

Another way to get fans excited is to offer a referral reward for fans who successfully encourage someone from their network to buy your product or service. The reward can be a free product, a discount or cash to use toward their next purchase.

3. Be active on multiple channels.

The more active you are on social media, the more likely you are to reach your fans. You don’t need to be on every channel, but you should be on more than one. Do some testing to figure out where your fans are, and focus your efforts on those channels.

Get creative on each channel by encouraging fans to contribute their own content. For example, ask fans to submit videos of them using your product to your YouTube channel, or to share an image of them using your product in real life in an Instagram story. Immersing your fans in your content makes them an active part of your brand instead of just an observer.

Bottom Line

Getting customers through the marketing funnel is a big undertaking. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your job is done once a customer has successfully transacted. Keeping customers engaged and happy will transform them into fans and brand advocates who will do a lot of marketing work for you by sharing your brand with all their friends. These loyal customers will be essential as your business grows and evolves, so make sure they are a top priority in your marketing strategy.

Feature Image Credit: getty

By Haseeb Tariq

Marketing @ Universal Music Group | Disney | Fox TV | Guess – I help fix large revenue retention & growth issues – haseebtariq.com. Read Haseeb Tariq’s full executive profile here.

Sourced from Forbes