There is a saying that great products sell themselves with no marketing efforts. But there is also an even more powerful and truer saying: that amazing products no longer need marketers, because their clients are the strongest advocates and sales force.
Let me explain this a bit. Have you ever shopped for a specific product for the first time? You have no idea what you should be looking for in terms of price to quality ratio, performance, useful life, etc. You read the marketing presentations and then…what did you do? I am 100% certain that you went to the Customers’ Reviews section. And I am also 100% sure that the customers’ opinions strengthened your final decision to buy or not to buy.
This is the power of word of mouth endorsements for products. Now, how can you turn your customers into advocates for your business? Here are five effective ways:
1. Encourage Customers to Review Your Products
This is the simplest form of creating a second wave of sales from existing customers. While it is true that it is human nature to boast about a purchase, be proactive and follow up each sale with a Thank You note and an invitation to the clients to share their shopping experience.
In many cases, businesses organise social media contests with prizes that centre on the best customer review for a product, the largest number of referrals, etc. This is one way to go about it but never, ever, leave your customers with the feeling that they are being compelled to give a review. Product reviews are good as long as they are made freely and honestly.
2. Acknowledge Your Advocates
Whenever you get a good product or company review on your website or on the social media, acknowledge that with a short message. Everyone likes attention, and the fact that you took the time to read that comment and say thank you means a lot to the reviewer. He or she feels important for a few moments and this is one of the elements of the pyramid of human needs (the need for self-actuation).
3. Create an Effective and Unobtrusive Referral Scheme
It started in shops, with gift cards that you could offer your friends. And then it extended to the online world. “Buy this product for a friend” is a widely used and effective way of turning your clients into referral machines.
The basic referral system (which does not involve a direct purchase for someone else) is asking people to recommend your products to friends if they are happy with their purchase.
4. Reward Your Top Advocates
Rewarding the greatest supporters of your company can take different forms. Either you offer them discounts on your products and services, or you provide them with premium customer experience. This means free access to premium content on your blog or website, a direct, no waiting line for customer support, priority in answering their inquiries, etc. Whatever you do, make those clients feel special by giving them the opportunity to enjoy VIP treatment.
5. Always Exceed Expectations
Never fall back on your success and stop giving your customers something to talk about, like and share. You have not won your customers for life, you have only won them as long as you fulfill their needs. And if you also want them to bring you more customers, give them powerful reasons to do so.
Remember that online reputation is crucial for people. They will not become your advocates and your sales force if your products and services do not meet their standards for quality, so that they would recommend them to family and friends without hesitation.