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Learn what is a brand ambassador and a few tips on how to transform your customers into brand ambassadors.
It’s a customer-centric market out there, making customer loyalty a major strategy for brand growth. Wooing customers to retain them with rewards, referral benefits, and soliciting user-generated content from them over and above their purchases, can help your brand thrive. After all, who better than a happy customer to popularize your product/service better? So, if you can turn your loyal customers into brand ambassadors, your product/service’s value will multiply manifold.
But it takes a lot of effort to wow your customers. And, you need to get every step of your customer success strategy on point to gain loyal customers. So, converting customers into ambassadors is not the ultimate goal; the goal is to always give the customer a mind-blowing success journey with you – at every single phase!
And once you achieve this, you can achieve your ‘real goal’ – which is converting the happy customers into free brand ambassadors – customers who are so delighted with your product or service that they publicize your business, products, or services all by themselves.
It’s just like your friend telling you how happy she is with the washing machine she has brought – and that she thinks it’s the best out there! Won’t you trust her and go for the same brand, model, too?
You might think it takes so much effort even to convert one sale, how to get the customers to work for you for free! How to find brand ambassadors among your customer data? Let’s discuss a few strategies that could work for you. But before that, let’s briefly discuss the term ‘brand ambassador’.
They are very happy customers who have the potential to form the spine of your marketing campaign – free of cost, of course. They are so happy with your offering that they flaunt your adoption and sing your praises to many of your potential customers – their family members, friends, colleagues, and others with whom they might meet and interact. Quite literally, they are your flesh-and-blood marketing campaign.
And now, for the million-dollar question: How to transform your customers into brand ambassadors?
It isn’t easy to turn your customers into brand enthusiasts and ambassadors. Armed with a wealth of information, people are smart enough to see through if you try to pull a fast one on them. So, the best way to hook them is to provide them with the very best product or service. Don’t cut corners with CSM. Convincing them is the hardest part – meeting customers’ needs, exceeding their expectations, and rewarding them for being loyalists. Over and above that, heed the following ten tips:
Don’s stop at selling them your awesome product or service. Romance and woo them after the sale is made. Ask for feedback regularly – keep them interested in your wares with interesting additional resources that go beyond just using your product but may help them find success in their business. Offer discounts, include them in sneak peek previews of your new products. Keep the interaction going by personalized after-sales services. Personalize your customer’s experience at every stage of their journey with you.
Be ready to correct yourself if needed. Be genuine in asking for feedback and acting on it – handle grouses with alacrity. Include a rating scale on your site or emailers, and add a ‘how likely are you to recommend question. Those who rate you a 9 or 10 are your potential ambassadors. Always say sorry when you realize you’ve made a mistake and go out of the way to rectify it ASAP.
Implement a cracking referral program. It should incentivize customers to promote your brand. If done correctly, it can even increase your customer acquisition strategy and turn them into brand advocates. Sometimes, a push is all that customers need to promote your brand. The referral program should be flexible enough to give access to all customers, with added incentives to loyal ones. These days there is readymade referral marketing software available. Build in an attractive reward so that your referrals also convert. Discount codes, cash prizes can top up freebies. It depends on the target audience of the product/service you are selling.
Utilize the power of User-Generated Content to market your brand and create a pool of brand ambassadors. It’s valuable feedback; it’s free. It’s an honest testimonial that can sway potential customers in your favor. In short, it’s priceless when it comes to validating your business to potential customers. In a way, you are creating your social media influencer.
Ask your customers to showcase their creativity by creating content through contests and other incentive-driven challenges. Send out puzzles or quizzes that challenge their intellect and make them feel important. Or, depending on your business, go for a completely off-course contest – like asking their kids to draw something topical or create something else. If you have a B2B business, you can feature their business on your website as an incentive. Once you do this, they will be willing to promote your website, too! Cross-promotion is a great brand-building tactic – especially if you have worked with big brands, it’s a big plus for your portfolio.
Most referral software have this inbuilt affiliate tool. All you have to do is activate it for your website. An affiliate program will allow your customers to promote your service/product because they will get cash benefits or ‘cut’ as many call it, for doing so. This makes becoming a brand ambassador beneficial for them. Usually, it’s a percentage of the sales they affect – meaning they’ll get an amount for every sale they refer to you. They will automatically have to be your brand ambassador for this, as, without that, they cannot sell your stuff. Mostly meant for marketers, customers can become great affiliates as well.
Building a community of your customers is a great way to ensure traffic to your website and draw attention to your products on social media. It will help build a network of your loyal customers who can draw in more potential customers – they can interact with each other and spread the word.
The alternative is to offer memberships with perks – once they buy the product, make them a member. You can ask them to upgrade to a premium paid membership later. It could entitle them to special product discounts, exclusive invites to offline events, and other compensation depending on your target audience. You can help them meet influencers or to a pop-up retail event for their family and friends. This offline-online hybrid model of doing business is increasingly being seen as the future of brand-building.
Ensure that from the moment they log in, they’re blown away with your flawless service and support. From onboarding till achieving the desired outcome, the customer must see and feel the continued value in your product/services. Checks to do regularly: Is your site up to speed? Is it easy to navigate? Is the checkout process done with minimal steps? All these go a long way in making them happy, and ultimately, brand advocates. If you have a shopping site, personalize their experience as much as possible by offering suggested products based on their shopping history, special discounts, etc. And keep that return policy easy.
Help your customer understand your product without bearing down on him; educate, inform, empathize. Repeat. Say ‘thank you’ as often as possible, make a product that needs you to say ‘sorry’ as little as possible. Nurture the customer, build a long-term relationship with him, and you’ll have a brand endorser.
You do not need celebrities to be brand ambassadors. You need loyal customers. One happy customer influencing his friends and family to opt for you is better than an influencer with millions of followers because he can convert them. You need to earn the customer’s trust so that he can share his personal experience with your brand in a compelling narrative.
You can ditch customer automation if you want to and enjoy a one-on-one rapport with your customers. Please get to know them better, win them over with personal touches that reach their hearts, and take personalization to such a level that you never need to do another sales pitch with them.22
Agreed that there’s no guaranteed way to turn a customer into a brand ambassador, but you must always look for ways to leverage the power of brand advocates, and the above ten tips will help you do just that.
Rakhin has over 10 years of experience driving business development and client services. In his prior roles, he stayed close to customers to understand their requirements and help them achieve their business goals. He is passionate about customer success.
Published 11 Nov 2021, Updated 11 Nov 2021
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