Imagine living in a world where a significant portion of your marketing efforts was driven by your customers. Not because you’re incentivizing them with money or external benefits, but because they love your product, your service, and what you stand for. This is the proverbial “holy grail of marketing” that marketers all over the globe search far and wide for. It’s not uncommon for today’s businesses to pour so much focus into signing contracts and filling funnels that the post-sale customer journey suffers as a result. So how do you bridge the gap from customer to advocate?
Enter customer marketing.
The sole focus of customer marketing is to win over customers to bolster retention and reduce churn. A direct result of a successful customer marketing program is increased revenue, increased engagement across your marketing channels, and louder brand advocates. How? Customers that are successful with your product are more likely to renew their contract. The more successful the customer, the louder the advocate.
1. Tapping into Your Influencer Network
The first step in building a successful customer marketing program is identifying who your power users are. These are the people who have been thoroughly using your product for years and know it inside and out. They’ve established them as subject matter experts and are a reliable source of information for you and your customers alike. These power users are able to leverage their network to share your product and your vision.
Influencer marketing has been one of the hottest topics for marketers in 2018, and all the data points to why that is. Digital advertising is becoming increasingly expensive and as a result, marketers are looking to new methods for generating leads. Not only is it expensive, but recent studies show that 30% of all internet users are using ad blockers, which is fueling the rise in ad blindness among customers.
With advertising on the decline, word-of-mouth marketing is back on top in conjunction with the rise of influencer marketing. In fact, brands are generating a 650% ROI for every dollar invested into their influencers and advocates. Now more than ever, there is a failing trust in internet and advertising credibility among consumers. People are now seeking for best practices and success stories from their most trusted source, their peers. Cultivating a group of power users that can serve as the foundation of your influencer marketing strategy is the first step to building a successful customer marketing program.
2. Creating a Community
I can’t preach enough about the benefits of building an inclusive community for your business. The goal is to encourage public discourse to create a community of dedicated problem solvers and ultimately, an external support system. If done well, your community will become a multi-team resource that will fuel decisions made by sales, marketing, and support teams alike. Shared knowledge is incredibly valuable for marketers and practitioners, which comes as no surprise as we already know the value of word-of-mouth is rising. By creating a community, you’re creating a place to discover best practices, increase the amount of expertise associated with your product or service, and ideally nurture customers to grow roots into your brand.
Too often, support teams are inundated with tickets and requests. A community allows you to crowdsource your support team by encouraging your customers to engage with their peers and provide roadside assistance when someone hits a bump in the road.
It’s a rare atmosphere where you can truly apply an “outside-in” perspective to observe:
- How your customers interact with each other
- What questions they have
- What their pain points are
- What they like most about your product
In short, a community allows you to incorporate the voice of the customer into everything you do
3. Using Advocacy to Drive Adoption
This is where your customer marketing program begins to come full circle. Customer adoption is the furnace that powers your customer marketing team. In order to reduce churn it is vital that you take a look at your adoption programs and the systems you have in place to support it. As with anything you do, it’s important to have strategic goals set in place that benefit your long-term business plan. customer marketing is no exception.
Advocacy is a fantastic source for high-level content that showcases how your most successful customers leverage your product to its fullest potential, but acquiring it is only half the battle. The second half is all about utilizing your advocacy content to help your customer base as a whole be as successful as your top influencers. For this reason, it’s vital to incorporate a variety of business sizes, verticals, business units, and more to cover as many use cases as possible. The more your customers resonate with your content, the easier it will be for them to realize value in your product (which is crucial come renewal time.)
Maybe it’s producing a video that leverages one of your influencers and how they’re innovating nurture programs or showcasing how they turned a direct mail campaign into a revenue-generating machine in your next newsletter. There are endless opportunities to provide all of your customers with the tools they need to become an advocate for your brand. Advocacy fuels adoption. Adoption fuels revenue.
I want to hear more about your customer marketing programs! How are you driving adoption while inspiring advocacy? Have you had a different experience with the topics outlined above? Do you have an additional tip that helped you build your all-star customer marketing program? Shared knowledge is the best knowledge!