In today’s internet-centric world, there’s no equivalent to going viral. However, even if your small business doesn’t have a viral-worthy video, you can still benefit from having your customers and employees spreading the word about your products. By turning loyal customers into your own team of brand champions, you can take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing.
What are brand champions?
Brand champions are the people who feel so strongly about your product that they want to share their experience and joy with everyone they know. For some brand champions, this might mean a few friends and family members. For others who have a big social media following, their support could mean significant exposure for your brand.
What are the benefits of having brand champions?
Consumers are more likely to buy products from people they know who can vouch for the quality. Having your already-loyal customers act as brand champions can help build trust with prospective customers and help your business get your foot in the door with a whole new subset of potential sales. Plus—and this is the best part—marketing by brand champions usually costs your business very little. In fact, it can actually be 10 times more cost-effective than traditional marketing tactics.
How can you turn your customers into brand champions?
Of course, brand champions aren’t something that can simply be built overnight. It requires a level of loyalty your business will need to build over time. Here are a few things you can do to begin establishing the type of brand loyalty that leads to champions:
- Empower your employees. In addition to working for you, your employees can also serve as brand champions to their friends, family members and the customers with whom they interact. Since your employees are on the front lines of customer service, they are important for creating the quality of customer service that leads to brand loyalty.
- Use your social media platforms. Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube channels can all act as miniature communities to bring your most loyal customers together. Utilizing your social media marketing to identify and unite potential brand champions gives them a collective space to discuss what they love about your products. As they feed off of each other’s enthusiasm, they will become even more supportive of your brand.
- Offer incentives. While finding and establishing brand champions can often be accomplished by spending little to none of your budget, you may want to consider offering incentives to motivate brand champions and keep them happy. Even something as simple as sending them a mini orchid to thank them for their loyalty can go a long way toward showing how much you value their influence.
Remember, the most important elements you need to create brand champions are great products and great customer service. Without those two key features, you’ll have a tough time finding anyone to wax poetic about your brand—so make sure you aren’t forgetting to focus on what’s really important.
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