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Customer champions are an enormous asset to any company. In most cases, people are much more interested in reading about your customers' experiences than they are just marketing materials. Customers are more reliable and credible. People want to hear from their peers before they buy your product or service. This "social proof" is the power that drives decision making on sites like Yelp and Amazon.
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Why customer champions are exceptionally powerful
Trust is an important role in any marketing platform as people do business with those they know, like, and trust. A solid customer champion program will help you build trust and credibility. After all, you find it easy to talk about how good your product or service is, but you are not exactly an objective third party. This is why customer references, testimonials, and success stories are so powerful. They offer potential customers insight into the results of your product or service in a real context.
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Six ways to drive customer success
An effective customer reference program gives your company more than just trust and credibility. It can also boost media coverage, deliver great marketing content, and help close sales faster. To achieve this, your customer champions have many different formats and ways to describe the experiences and results they have had with your product or service. The best choice for your business depends on your target people and the interests of client advocates.
1. Online Reviews – Customers can share their experiences with your company with these free opportunities on sites like G2 Crowd and Gartner Peer Reviews. Soliciting and receiving customer feedback helps in two ways. First, it reminds these customers why they enjoy working with you, which leads to customer loyalty. Second, positive customer feedback encourages prospects to pull the trigger and choose you.
2. Case Studies – Case studies that bring the customer story to life are an essential tool for marketing and sales teams as they generate demand and interact with leads. They can be especially effective in the viewing stage of the buyer's journey. A visually engaging document or video demonstrating how you are helping customers solve their real-world problems and get a ROI can help potential customers make their purchasing decision. Case studies include not only social evidence, but statistics and other measures that demonstrate the value of your offerings.
3. Media briefings – Just like prospects, media must be validated by a third party. Tech and business journalists often ask if you have a client who can speak. Setting up interviews between your clients and industry journalists to provide real-world anecdotes for articles can add tremendous credibility and visibility to your brand. It also gives your customer champions the opportunity to present themselves as future-oriented industry leaders and look good in front of their colleagues.
4. Press Releases – A well-put together announcement that publishes your customers' success story, the new skills they have acquired with your offering, and the results they see is a huge asset for marketing and sales teams. Press releases not only provide positive coverage for you and your customers' innovation. They can also be promoted across channels – including social media and email contact – to drive targeted leads back to your website.
5. Awards – There are numerous award options available to show how customers are doing with your offering. By recognizing your excellent work, awards can help move business forward for both your company and the client who participated in the story or case study on which the award is based. Award recognitions provide third party validation that can help create competitive differentiators, build reputation, and generate advertising.
6. Communal Opportunities to Speak – Whether online or (possibly) in person, joint presentations provide a platform to bring customer stories to life in interactive formats, both verbally and visually. Enabling target audiences to hear your customers' stories from their point of view through webinars, fireside chats, roundtables, and virtual office hours is a great way to build affinity and trust.
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This is how you identify and bring customer references on board
Your customers' working days are just as busy as yours. Even if they love your brand, promoting you probably isn't important to them. Because of this, you can't be arbitrary when collecting customer testimonials. Be intentional; Identify and track your trademark attorneys. Focus on those whose success stories inspire others to work with you.
Ensuring customers are ready to participate can be difficult. It can often be much more difficult to get an open yes to participation. A better approach is to give the customer specific opportunities that will benefit both his and your reputation. For example, a customer might want to gain market share in a particular industry. In this case, it would be a strategic way to leverage editorial opportunities from relevant vertical publications to align with their goals and encourage their participation.
Success for everyone
At a time when the average American sees 4,000 to 10,000 corporate news items a day, trust is the difference between mere ad generation and lead generation. Customer stories resonate with potential customers because they provide hard evidence that your value proposition is tangible. So find your champions, find win-win opportunities, and create the brand differentiation that attracts potential customers.