How to Create Brand Evangelists

Creating loyal customers online

‘Love your customers, love what they love’ – sage advice and the title of Idea #36 in Jim Blythe’s book ‘100 Great Marketing Ideas’.

But, it’s not just a catchy phrase, it’s a nugget of truth and in the world of digital marketing, a perfect approach to creating fans, followers, subscribers and loyal customers that will help spread the word, and that will just keep coming back for more.

If you’re serious about creating ‘brand evangelists’ or truly loyal customers, then you need to remember that it’s all about what you can do to help THEM. There is no ‘I’, no ‘we’, no ‘me’. The best thing you can do to get your customers or clients to like you is to focus on solving THEIR problems. Find out what they need, what interests them, what makes them angry, what fills them with immense joy. Put together a list of questions they might ask and answer them before they even have the chance to breathe the first word. You don’t need to do this in a FAQ page, you simply need to think of a way to incorporate all the answers into the structure of your website, into your business values, into your slogan, into the slideshow on your homepage, into your marketing, into the way you talk to them…simple, but hard work.

After all, your customer IS your business. What they love/like brings in your business as they buy it or spread the word. Which means…you need to make them love YOU and what you stand for.

To help you, we’ve come up with a few things you can do to create brand evangelists.

Create your evangelists on social media

  • Share the things your customers love/would like to share themselves. This might mean you’ve got to do a bit of ‘stalking’. What are your customers talking about? What interests them? What do they do from day to day? Once again, I’m going to be terribly unoriginal and reference ‘Innocent Smoothies’. Take a look at their Facebook page and you’ll see what I mean.
  • Be a person they love. For example, if you’ve got a Pinterest account, pin the things they love (obviously you’ll at least have to like them too). Do they like seeing pictures of cute animals? Or perhaps it’s trendy technology that does it for them, or even…tips on going ‘green’. Whatever it is, be the person they want to engage with and recommend.

Create your evangelists via your blog

Don’t just write about the things that YOU think are important, write about the things that your customers/clients will find useful. Think about how you can help them. Ultimately, if you can provide value, you will be far more respected that if you simply sing your own/your company’s praises.

A good way to go about doing this is to write down all of your customers’ questions. Listen to what they are looking for and provide the answer in written form.

Create brand evangelists using Email

  • Give discounts on the things they love or provide coupon codes because they are such ‘loyal customers’. Even if it’s just a 5% discount on something, people are more likely to stay subscribed to an email list where they feel they get something out of it.
  • Share news in your emails – make your subscribers feel like they’re on the inside track. Tell your email subscribers about something before it happens if you can. This is the incentive that will keep them coming back for more.
  • Be a real person. There’s nothing more comforting than knowing the company you buy from / deal with is comprised of real people.

Create loyal customers with a carefully thought out website

  • Ensure your website is user-friendly and easy to navigate. It should be designed intuitively and to your customers’ personas. For example, someone used to buying from an ecommerce company will expect to find the link to the shopping basket in the top right hand corner of the screen. Keep it that way. There’s no need to be super clever and do something that will force your customer to have to look for your shopping cart elsewhere.
  • Make sure the copy on your service or product pages answers your user’s questions. Make it easy to read and to the point.
  • Make your website content and products easy to share, save for later, bookmark, etc. You can do this by including sharing icons next to products or along the length of the page. Our Xanthos blog is a good example of a page that does this. Make it easy for people to give you ‘Google juice’ by including a +1 button on every page of content. Google does this for all of their pages, you may as well do so too. Besides, if enough people +1 your site/page/product, it may see a boost in ranking.

Great customer service = super loyal followers

  • Don’t try to catch them out. Help them. Have clear policies, make returning/exchanging items easy. Don’t add additional charges in the checkout. Half of the battle is won by streamlining the process and by following best-practice web design / ecommerce guidelines.
  • Pick up the phone, respond to emails, make them love you. Zappos is an example of a company that does just this. Instead of being encouraged to get off the phone and onto the next phone call, Zappos employees are encouraged to stay on the phone for as long as it takes in order to build great rapport.
  • ‘Glitches’ may be golden opportunities. If something goes wrong, do something to make it right. Have you seen the ‘Tiger Woods Walks on Water’ video? It’s EA Games’ response to a video game ‘blip’ and it is a good example of how a mistake can be turned into marketing material in order to create positive, viral engagement.

Use personalisation for positive brand positioning

  • Remember your customers. On the first of February it was my birthday. And you know who remembered? Pizza Express and Reading Park Run. While Pizza Express gave me a full free bottle of Prosecco (of course I had to buy 2 full price meals to claim it), Reading Park Run just said ‘happy birthday’. While the latter company only send a simple message, both companies made me feel a little bit special. It just goes to show that you odn’t have to give something away to get people to like you, you simply have to acknowledge they exist or let them know you remember them when it counts.
  • Occasionally you may hear that one of your customers has done something special, been awarded for something or achieved something. Take this opportunity to reach out to them and to congratulate them. I can guarantee that you’ll receive nothing but positive feedback.

How about a free persona report?

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