While consumers and clients are the heartbeat of a brand, many marketers spend too much time on finding new consumers and not fostering the relationships they already have.
Consumers enjoy feeling part of a brand and when they feel included, they are more inclined to vouch for brands they love albeit online or offline. This simple fact empowers marketers to make a strong plan to focus and foster more brand referrals via their current consumers.
When influencer marketing meets brand advocacy, wonderful things happen!
Step 1: Audit Customer Experience
This should go without saying, but just to be safe and encompass all marketing levels, start at the top. Are you giving your customers a reason to love and talk about your brand.
I’m not talking just a good product, you need to create an experience. Providing a plethora of resources that align with your brand’s message and fostering a community where customers can interact with each other and your brand is key.
Step 2: Create Master List of Happy Customers
Create a list of all the customers you know that are happy with your brand. Make sure you house it somewhere easily accessible to everyone on your team and have a process for gathering key points of information. Being able to edit this list and keep up with it in real time is easier said than done.
From an excel spreadsheet to a CRM tool like GroupHigh, make sure you identify which pieces of information you need to track for your happy customers and that you can easily email your masterlist!
Pieces of common information points that brands keep:
- Influencer name
- Influencer contact info
- Influencer sizes (for fashion brands and such)
- Influencer Birthdays
- Links to all social channels
- Metrics to see social and blog reach
- Links to earned media from influencers
- Last contact date (with the right CRM tool the email can me tracked in this column)
Step 3: Nurture Master List
Finding ways to communicate with your list of customers on a continual basis without annoying them is key.
Rule of thumb, every costumer should be communicated with about once a month.
Here are some creative ways to integrate consumers into your brand, stay in touch with them and make sure your brand is on their minds.
- A check in email. Just a sincere, “how are you?” or “do you need anything from my end” sort of email. This can open up new collaboration and conversation opportunities.
- Newsletter. Keep it monthly or quarterly but create a newsletter full of new and exciting information about your brand that would be relevant to your influencers and their audience.
- Infographic. Create an infographic that displays new or entertaining information in a visually appealing way. This is something awesome your bloggers can include in a post with your branding on it.
- Survey. Your network of influencers represents your consumer base so occasionally survey them with questions about your brand and upcoming projects. I always suggest offering a Starbucks gift card in return for them filling out your survey.
- Research. This is especially effective for B2B brands. Using a survey or other channels of information gathering, publish new research and distribute it to your network of influencers before you give it to the rest of the world.
- Exclusive information or an interview. Influencers want to be on the edge of great content production. If you can give them information first then they can create exciting content.
- Birthday gifts. I think it’s a great idea to mark everyone’s birthdate in your network so that you can send your top influencers gifts. It’s a fairly small gesture that can produce fireworks for your brand.
- Simple question. If you have a question about releasing a new product, have a link you want to share or something of the like, it is acceptable once in a while to send out a simple ask.
- Consistent product. Send your influencers free product each season, quarter, etc. so they can consistently do product reviews and selfies of them experiencing your brand.
- Events. If you are a local brand or have the ability to host influencer events, these are great ways to stay in touch and build a strong and personal relationship with your network.
Step 4: Deliver Sharable Assets
In order for consumers to say and share cool things relating to your brand you need to equip them with actual assets.
From photo opps to free surprise products in the mail to guides written for their own networks to discounts exclusively for their audience, you need to always make sure you are giving your customers an actual asset to share.
Step 5: Incentivize Referrals
Many brands incentivize their consumers to refer new people to the brand. This can be as detailed as a full blown affiliate program to giving your consumers coupons and gift cards for new contacts they refer to your brand.
This is a whole strategy in itself so if you want to incorporate affiliate programs or send your consumers unique tracking codes so you can monitor how much business they bring your way, make sure this strategy isn’t implemented until you’ve done all the previous steps.
Do you have creative ways of working with your consumers to get word of mouth shout outs and referrals for your brand? Please share in the comments!