People are inundated with content across their devices on their news and social media feeds. Naturally, this content is full of advertisements, free trials, and email subscription sign-ups, – all driven by lead magnets. It is becoming increasingly more difficult for companies to stand out among all of the noise.
While these forms of marketing still work, nothing is stronger than having customers as brand ambassadors for your organization.
What is a Brand Ambassador?
Entrepreneur Magazine defines a brand ambassador as “a person who’s tried your product or service and loves it — loves it enough to say amazing things about it”.
An endorsement from a brand ambassador carries much more weight than paid endorsements or internally created sales copy because there is no monetary motivation involved. A customer must truly love the brand if they are taking the time to share it with their friends and peers without being paid to do so.
Why is it Important to Turn a Customer into a Brand Ambassador?
A study from the authors of The Effortless Experience found that a customer with a bad experience is more likely to create more negative word of mouth (65%). Compared that number to the amount of positive reviews a customer with a good experience will create (25%). Statistically, good reviews are harder to come by, but are going to be much more effective.
Take into consideration this statistic provided by Nielsen: 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.
There probably isn’t a company that exists that doesn’t have at least a few negative reviews.
By creating a customer culture that fosters loyal brand ambassadors, a company can combat the inevitable dour reviews from customers that companies can never seem to make happy.
So How Does a Company Turn Customers into Brand Ambassadors?
There are many ways to do this, and a blend of any or all of the techniques below seems to work the best.
Ask for Feedback
Customer feedback serves two purposes when creating ambassadors from customers. First, it allows companies to see what customers like and don’t like about a brand. Secondly, it makes the customer feel valued, and when customers feel valued, they are more likely to endorse the company that has their needs in mind.
Deliver a Top Notch Customer Experience.
A CX (customer experience) that is enjoyable, effortless, and effective can pave the way to happy and vocal ambassadors. McKinsey recently surveyed 27,000 customers across 44 industries. They found that companies that focused on providing a superior customer experience realized a 10-15% increase in revenue. More importantly, those same companies enjoyed a 20% increase in customer satisfaction. A smooth CX leads to more satisfied customers, and more satisfied customers leads to more brand ambassadors.
Create Personalized Experiences
According to AdAge, when asked to prioritize one capability that will be most important to marketing in the future, 33% of marketers answered: “personalization.” Personalization should be considered throughout the entire customer journey, not just the initial marketing and customer acquisition phases. One way to level-up personalization is to use high-touch channels to communicate with customers. While email and chatbots can be powerful channels, the power of personalized interactions can be leveraged by using channels like video chat and CoBrowsing.
Strive to be Customer Centric
Customer Centricity involves collecting customer data through surveys and other channels, analyzing that data to determine who a company’s highest valued customers are, and creating experiences and offers that fit those customers. A high value customer (meaning one that continues to use a company’s product or service) will be more likely to share their appreciation of a brand than a lower value customer. Also, customers who use a product on a more frequent basis are going to provide an endorsement that is strong and genuine.
Use Social Media and Loyalty Programs
By engaging with customers on social media platforms, companies can create personal conversations with customers that don’t seem scripted while allowing free flowing conversations to happen. Social media channels are also the most likely manner in which customers will recommend a brand. Loyalty programs can also be an effective way of turning customers into ambassadors. The Hustle, an email newsletter, built a subscriber list of over 100,000 thanks mostly to their ambassador program, which has a count of over 2,000 people. These ambassadors get rewarded with company swag and a private forum when they reach benchmarks for sharing the newsletter.
Prospective customers are becoming more difficult to acquire through traditional digital marketing strategies. People are more likely to trust a Yelp or TripAdvisor review than internally created marketing messages.
With the amount of competition online in almost every industry, the voices of satisfied customers ring louder now than they ever have before.
A top-notch CX with a personalized touch, along with the strength of Customer Centric best practices can turn happy customers into valuable brand ambassadors.