Is there anything better for your company than having highly dedicated fans who will spread their passion for your brand? Not really.
It should come as no surprise that word-of-mouth marketing is a potent tool for businesses of all sizes. Companies often spend a lot of resources on increasing brand awareness through traditional marketing. However, while brand awareness is important, it’s not the only thing you should be focusing on. Simply having customers be aware of who you are is only the first step in creating a successful and robust marketing strategy. In 2021, it’s all about creating those passionate brand evangelists.
What Are Brand Evangelists?
Brand evangelists are your incredibly loyal customers. In marketing, brand evangelism is a subcategory of word-of-mouth marketing. Here are some characteristics that define brand evangelists:
- They will promote your product and brand for you. They will offer glowing recommendations for your product to their family and friends.
- They love your product and don’t use competitor products. They found the perfect fit, and it’s your company!
- They buy your products regularly and often spend more money than your other customers.
- They are active on social media and will jump to your company’s defense without being asked.
- They openly share feedback and constructive criticism with your company without being asked.
- They will give a very high or even perfect score in customer satisfaction surveys.
- They will forgive breakdowns in service or subpar experiences. They tend to view these negative experiences as a one-off event that is very unlikely to happen again.
- They buy your products to gift to their friends and family. They believe in your product and think more people should be using it!
- They feel a strong connection to your brand and the community and culture you create. Being a brand evangelist is fulfilling to them – they feel like they are a part of something larger.
Who Uses Brand Evangelism Marketing?
Lots of companies! Apple is an excellent example of a company that successfully employs brand evangelism. Fans of Apple products tend to be passionate about them. They will often jump to Apple’s defense on social media if someone points out that some competitor products have better specs. But why?
Here are some of the reasons Apple has managed to create so many evangelists:
One of the primary reasons people choose Apple devices is because “they just work.” This gives the impression of high quality and reliable products. Apple conducts extensive testing to ensure their devices have low failure rates. This helps avoid disasters like Samsung’s Fold phone, which, while innovative, has experienced widespread failures that have harmed the reputation of the product. Apple also tends to market the materials they use in devices, focusing on tough glasses and metal finishes that add to the high-quality image.
One of Apple products’ main negatives for many consumers is the lack of customization and control. However, for brand evangelists, it’s a plus. By limiting what users can do or what they can download, Apple can ensure that apps work seamlessly across the board. Developers have to jump through more hoops to get their app on the Apple store than the Play Store. This is reflected in the statistics too. There are 1.85 million different apps available on the iOS App Store and a whopping 2.56 million available on the Google Play Store at the time of writing.
So, why do Apple users prefer having fewer options? Probably for the same reason that you get suspicious when you go to a restaurant with too many options on the menu. It makes you think, “hmmm, can the chefs really be experts at cooking all of these things?”. In truth, they might be great at every meal. Unless you’re a chef yourself or have worked in that restaurant, you have no way of knowing where the chefs’ expertise lies. Maybe the recipes are simple and easy to execute, or perhaps the chefs have extensive training.
But there will still be that part of your brain that doubts the quality of the food. High-end fine-dining restaurants know this. You’ll never see a fine-dining menu with tons of options, and you can bet they have some of the best chefs available working there. It’s more about the perception of quality than quality itself…and also, the experience.
The Apple Experience and Ecosystem
People who buy Apple products don’t just buy the product; they buy the Apple experience. They often buy into the whole ecosystem, getting many Apple products that all work together. Apple stores also play a part in creating this experience. People like to visit Apple stores just to play around with the latest gadgets.
Is Brand Evangelism Just For Big Companies?
No, absolutely not. Brand evangelism is essentially word-of-mouth marketing on steroids. For companies of any size, word of mouth marketing is both essential and effective. Here are some word-of-mouth marketing statistics you should know:
- According to the Nielson report, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family more than advertising.
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews.
- Brands that create positive emotional connections with customers receive three times more word-of-mouth customers than those that don’t.
- Consumers are four times more likely to buy a product when referred by friends.
- Customers that come from word-of-mouth marketing spend 200% more than the average customer.
For small and medium-sized businesses, word of mouth marketing can help save costs on marketing. Typically, smaller companies don’t have big marketing budgets, but that doesn’t mean they can’t continually attract a steady stream of new customers. They just have to make their customers do the work for them by offering great experiences!
With that in mind, here are our top tips for creating brand evangelists in 2021.
Top Secrets For Creating Customer Evangelists In 2021
There are two elements to creating customer evangelists. Firstly, you need to create loyal customers. And secondly, you should encourage these loyal customers to market your product for you. Some of this will happen naturally – loyal customers want to talk about their experiences and the products they use. However, you shouldn’t leave it all up to chance. Instead, you can use these tips to boost your chances of success. We’ve split this section into two parts to reflect these two essential ingredients to customer evangelism.
Tips For Creating Loyal Customers
Make Customer Service a Top Priority
Did you know that 90% of Americans are willing to spend more money if they believe a business provides excellent customer service?
When you prioritize customer service, you’re telling your customers the following things:
- We care about your experience with our company.
- We’re always here when you need help.
- We are committed to solving any problems you have.
- We value your custom.
The critical thing to take away here is that your customers want to feel valued and validated, and you can give them this through excellent customer service. Here are some quick tips on how to offer excellent customer service:
- Respond to customer queries quickly – The longer customers have to wait, the more frustrated they become. They might even believe that you’ll never get back to them, and you’re hoping they’ll go away. This is a recipe for bad reviews.
- Give your agents the right tools – Omnichannel platforms and AI and automation supported software like smart inboxes go a long way. They allow your agents to work faster and multitask more effectively so they can talk to multiple customers at once.
- Provide consistent service – If you want your loyal customers to recommend you to their friends, you have to ensure that their friends will get the same experience. Excellent customer service is for everyone.
- Employ chatbots – Chatbots transform your customer service function into a 24/7 operation. They ensure that customers can get an answer any time and don’t have to wait around.
- Wow your customers – Every now and again, you need to give customers something to be passionate about.
Personalize Customer Experiences
If you’re collecting customer data (and you should be), you need to use it to offer personalized experiences. According to research, 74% of marketers say personalization boosts customer engagement. This doesn’t have to be a complicated process – you can start by sending personalized emails complete with offers on products that your customers already buy.
Streamline the Buying Process
It’s challenging to create loyal customers when the buying process has a lot of friction. If buying your products is needlessly tricky or time-consuming, even customers who love using your products will hesitate to recommend them. Customers have to be confident that their friends and family will have a good experience with your brand, and that means the whole end-to-end experience, not just the experience with the end product. Here are some tips on streamlining the buying process:
- HTTPS – Make sure your site uses a secure connection. If it doesn’t, potential customers may be wary of buying from your website.
- Be transparent about costs – Companies that are upfront about costs and don’t add hidden charges at checkout tend to have a better reputation among consumers.
- Ensure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors on your website.
- Reduce the number of steps it takes to go from browsing a product to buying it. Customers shouldn’t have to click through multiple pages anywhere on your website to get what they want.
Tips For Improving Word of Mouth
Offer Unique Experiences
For your word-of-mouth marketing efforts to be successful, you have to give your customers something to talk about. This means giving them memorable experiences that they can’t get elsewhere. It can be fun gifts, quirky offers, unique hashtag challenges, and much more.
Encourage User-Generated Content
This is a strategy that has really taken off in Asia but is gaining traction in the rest of the world. User-generated content is any content created by users for other users. For example, when customers make video reviews of your product, do live sessions where they tell other users how to get the most out of it, and so on. You can encourage this activity by sharing posts by users who do this. Customers trust other customers.
Share Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are a great asset to your business. If you have a high number of positive reviews, then it’s a good idea to share these reviews or testimonials on your website or social media.
Offer Rewards For Referrals
If you want to attract more customers, it’s good to start a customer referral scheme. You can give customers free products or coupons for referring people to your business.
Be Active in The Industry and Create Compelling Content
An excellent way to get people talking is to talk more yourself. This means creating blog posts or videos about current hot topics in your industry. There are several benefits to this strategy:
- You establish yourself as an authority in the industry.
- You attract other industry professionals to want to talk or collaborate with you, which boosts your authority.
- Your customers will share your interesting content with their friends, family, and followers to spark discussion.