What makes one of your favorite brands or businesses so great that you’re ready to sing their praises from the rooftops? Maybe you have found a brand you just can’t live without, or feel like you’re betraying them if you walk into their competition's establishment. Every brand or business wants to be the next big thing for its customers, but how do you top the competition? How do you get people to genuinely like you?
Well, for starters, your brand isn’t just a reflection of your marketing efforts. In fact, a brand is what you make others feel, believe and think of you. So, how can you successfully develop an image that turns your customers into brand evangelists? Here are five simple steps that illustrate the journey from customer to brand evangelist.
- Turn lust into love with consistency.
Brand lust is when a business delivers a product or service that gets you excited. Maybe this feeling lasts a week or two, maybe three – but eventually it will fade. When you love a brand, you’re attached; you feel like this is it and nobody will ever replace it. The difference is when you’re in lust with a brand, it’s because they managed to catch your attention and make you feel something. However, it never went beyond the initial lust phase because that feeling eventually faded away since the brand didn't work to make it last.
When you truly love a brand, it’s because it caught your attention, delivered you something that made you feel great, and continued to stroke your ego. A great way to make your customers truly fall in love with your brand is through consistency – from blog posts, content offers, emails, or even a phone call to check in on how they’re feeling about your efforts. Consistency is key. If you want your customers to become brand evangelists, you need to work for it and prove your worth.
- Deliver amazing customer service.
For some brands, their “customer service” isn’t actually customer service at all. Not only are they hurting the relationships with customers, but they’re creating a group of people who aren’t afraid to share that negative experience they had. And, these things can spread like wildfire. In order to avoid this disaster, you need to educate and delight your employees on customer service, what it means to your organization, and what you expect from each of them. Customer service is the single most important thing you can do for customer retention. Customer service and great customer service are two very different things. To become great at providing service to your customers, you need to take each interaction as an opportunity to connect with them, solve their problem, and, most importantly, make them feel special.
- Differentiate yourself from the competition.
From this point on you should stop trying to emulate the competition. It’s healthy to research other companies for inspiration or to see what they’re doing right and wrong, but directly copying will get you nowhere – especially in the eyes of your customers. Finding unique ways to set yourself apart from your competitors is the key to turning your customers from followers into brand evangelists. Once you find your niche, embrace what makes you unique and try to prove to your customers that, even though you're different, your organization is the right one to choose. From there on, it will be up to your team to deliver on those promises, which will create a stronger sense of loyalty with your customers. And, loyalty will lead to brand evangelist in time.
- Give them something to talk about.
If you’re not excited about your brand, why should your customers be? Successful brands love what they do and they want everyone to know it. If you want your brand to start exuding passion, you need to fill your office with passionate people who love not only what they do, but what your organizations stands for. If your customers can feel and see your passion, they will have something to talk about. Better yet, you’ll give them even more reason to become a brand evangelist.
- Go beyond the sale.
This final stage is the engage stage. The underlying premise of inbound marketing is that it never stops delighting customers. You want your customers to feel special and know that they aren’t just a sale to you, but an ever-lasting relationship. If you can successfully delight/engage your customers overtime, they will feel closer to your company and, of course, feel more apt to share their experiences with their networks, ultimately becoming your brand evangelist.
These five key steps will take the customer relationship to the next level – the level every brand hopes for: making your customers brand evangelists. When people truly love what you offer them and what you stand for, they’re happy to spread the good news. People trust these genuine feelings of their peers and there’s really no better way to enhance your brand than with the support of your brand evangelists. Treat your customers right, follow up, instill meaningfulness, and they’ll both notice and appreciate it. And, the feeling will be mutual in time.