The following is an excerpt from an article written by Mike Michalowicz, author of The Pumpkin Plan, and published on AMEX's Open Forum. The excerpt points out ways you can convert your customers into walking and talking word-of-mouth advocates for your brand. Take a look at just a few of Michalowicz's ideas below then view the full article for even more!
Having raving fans isn’t enough. You need to arm your customers with easy ways to advocate for you, because if handled right, your happy customers can become your strongest marketing force.
I recently bought a pair of Vibram FiveFingers shoes for myself. You know, those crazy shoes that look like finger-gloves for your feet? I knew my family would have a lot to say about them. When my wife started in about the shoes, I was not only able to defeat the “attack,” but I was able to convert my wife into a fan. The company had armed me with so many marketing resources in advance that I became a natural spokesperson.
This is precisely what you need to do: Convert your customers into advocates for your products, even (or especially) if you don’t sell funny looking foot apparel. Here’s how:
Sell after the sale. Once customers buy from you, congratulate them on picking your stuff. Then educate them again on why the product or service they bought was a smart choice. Give them confidence after the purchase. The goal here is to do more than fend off buyers’ remorse. The goal is to arm them with enough information so they can tell others why they should buy your product. After all, they are real live, out-there-in-the-world mannequins showing off your product (or talking about your service) to everyone they know.
Reward the customer. Give your customers credit, discounts or gifts for referring you to others. And don’t forget the most important thing you can give: your sincere thanks and recognition. Call them personally to thank them for any referrals; no one else does, so it goes miles further than a preprinted thank you card or form letter email.
Make referring and liking easy. Tweet and “Like” buttons on your site have a huge impact because they’re so easy to use. Easy’s good. So put links that are easy to use and easy to promote next to all your products and services to make it, dare I say, easy for others to spread the word for you.
Make it about them. Make your product “all about the customer.” Encourage customers to submit photos and stories of themselves and their friends and family using your product. Use and promote all the photos on your website, because they’ll send their friends the link to “their” photos! (If you have toddlers, you know that nothing makes people want something more than seeing someone else having something they don’t.)