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Could Customers Be Your Best Brand Ambassadors?
Customers these days are sometimes difficult to win over. People tend to shy away at overt, direct marketing and respond more favorably to things like activations and social media campaigns. As a result, marketing professionals all over the world have had to rethink their strategies.
Brand ambassadors have become a focus of marketing plans as a result of these shifts in perception. While celebrity endorsements have been implemented for quite some time, the very nature of those endorsements has changed. Smaller companies don’t often have the budget to attract a big name, and we’ve seen how fragile a celebrity’s reputation can be. Once public opinion surrounding that famous person shifts, your brand could suffer.
So, many organizations have sought out the power of the endorsement from parties that are less likely to summon backlash – their own customers. Opening up the floodgates for reviews and trending social topics may seem intimidating at first, but there are many reasons that your own customers could be your best brand ambassadors.
A Trusted Source
You’re probably more likely to believe a story that you hear from a family member or friend than one you hear on the street, on the train, or waiting online at a coffee shop. That’s because people want to know they are getting their information from a reliable source.
If you and your friend have a similar taste in movies for instance, and they see a new film, you’ll likely give some weight to their opinion. While you may be curious to see what critics say, their opinions won’t sway the likelihood of you going to the theater quite as much as that of your friend.
Therefore, encouraging your customers to spread the word could turn into an authentic, boots-on-the-ground campaign that actually garners more business for you.
People tend to be passionate. So when they talk about something they truly love, they do it with fervor.
This kind of emotional support of your brand can stick with people, even if they aren’t converted to customers right away. They’re more likely to remember your product or service when they need it if they recall an actual conversation they had with someone they trust. This makes a customer’s endorsement potentially more powerful than a traditional marketing campaign.
Customers do not cost nearly as much as a more traditional endorsement. While they respond well to incentive, you typically would not have to pay them outright for their support.
There are many ways to incentivize your customers towards becoming a brand ambassador. You can offer a certain percentage or dollar amount off their next purchase, run a contest, or even give them a free product or service for their influence.
Bringing in new, repeat business will almost certainly outweigh any costs of this kind of program. And besides, some people will spread the word simply because they like your business.
Focused Target Market
You can trust your customers to tell the right people about your business. They know what their friends, family, and coworkers like. Therefore, if the business they frequent offers something members of their social circle would be interested in, they will naturally pass that information on.
And if those people bring the information to their own separate circles, this could cause a ripple effect within your target market.
Additionally, these people may know your target market better than you do. If you’re targeting people of a certain age, race, gender etc. because they are traditionally purveyors of your type of business, that could be effective. But we know that many people fall outside of these norms. Those close to them will have that information, and perhaps spread awareness to someone you typically would not have engaged with.
While some reviews or opinions surrounding your business could be negative, the benefits far outweigh the risks here. Your enthusiastic customers could be your biggest rallying team with the right incentive. And sometimes, all it takes is an ask.