flying customer

Word of mouth is great. It is marketing’s pot of gold. But one step beyond good customers talking about your business, are customers that become crazy, enthusiastic fans of your business. The ones that tell everyone about you and your product, the ones that sing your praises.

Call them champions. Call them evangelists. With a little help from you, more of your best customers can rise to that next level. Shouting your good deeds from the rooftop (or Facebook even).

Having a quality product is of course step one (let’s hope you have that one covered). Being remarkable in some way can create plenty of word of mouth on it’s own. And many of the steps below can be summed up as “building real relationships with your customers”. Still, I am thinking 44 concrete examples might help a little.

Please feel free to reblog this if you want, just please link back 44 Ways To Help Your Customers Fly.

Make Customers Feel Special

  1. Create a reward program, allowing customers to accumulate points, earn discounts/prizes
  2. Allow customers to influence your products/services (see Dell’s IdeaStorm)
  3. Have contests that require very little action by the customer (“100th customer of the summer gets a free reward”)
  4. Have customers give away swag for you (see @MommyBrain at Blogher)
  5. Create official champions that believe in your company, that can help you hold events, educate other customers, and create content

Simple Steps

  1. Start internally, look to employees, relatives, and friends for your biggest evangelism opportunities (see IBM’s employee blog network)
  2. Teach Employees to spot potential evangelists
  3. Create tags/hashtags/keywords that allow your customers to signal when they are discussing your company online
  4. Take surveys of your customers, display the results (on and offline)
  5. Encourage customers to check in on Facebook, Twitter, etc. (see Jet Blue at SXSW)

Connect and Educate

  1. Hold classes, webinars, seminars to teach customers relevant skills (see Hubspot’s webinar series)
  2. Provide content that helps customers that are parents teach or entertain their children
  3. Find customers that are using your product or service in a unique way and feature them for others to learn from
  4. Create a meetup group around a topic relevant to your business (discussion group,  monthly book club, health/fitness club)
  5. Build communities online around existing social networks (see Graco’s Flickr group)

Content Creation

  1. Interview happy customers on video (case studies, testimonials, reviews, unique use of products)
  2. Quote customers as often as possible. Other consumers will trust them before they trust you
  3. Customer submitted product photos (see Threadless, Carhartt)
  4. Customer submitted video contests (see Late Night Jimmy Fallon Dance Challenge)
  5. Feature customers on blog posts, give faces and personality to your community

Customer Service

  1. Use unique feedback channels (Facebook, Twitter, Online chat)
  2. After resolving customer complaints, ask them what else you can do to improve their experience
  3. Suggestion box, online or offline, reward customers who make suggestions (see My Starbucks Idea)
  4. Forums, allow customers to help one another, answer each others’ questions
  5. Monitor blog searches (Google Blog Search, BackType) for comments and posts that complain about or suggest improvements to your business (and respond to them)

Be Creative

  1. Photo opps, bold visuals for customers to share online (see Dominos)
  2. Interview current evangelists about what they love about your company
  3. Give your customers business cards to give out (discounts would help of course)
  4. Ask customers to help hold an open house, or anniversary event
  5. Give away swag (customers wearing t-shirts, hats, bags, etc. are strong reminders), especially to return customers (see free Gmail stickers)

Blogging

  1. Exchange discounts for part time bloggers
  2. Let customers decide between two coupons that you will offer each week or month
  3. Feature vendors/partners and how they help you offer a better product
  4. Make it easy for your readers to share your content (Sharethis, Addthis, Tweetmeme)
  5. Create a podcast where your customers are the stars

Facebook

  1. Feature photos of your customers with your products and at your events (see Zappos photos on Facebook)
  2. Wish your customers happy birthday – simple and easy – we all like birthday wishes
  3. Help promote community events and events hosted by your customers
  4. Hold contests for your Facebook fans, give them riddles, ask them to write haikus, celebrate the winners, give them prizes (see Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice)
  5. Become a fan of and participate on community related pages, for your city, your neighborhood, local philanthropies

Twitter

  1. Link to your customers – again, feature them as the stars (see Trader Joes)
  2. Use Twitter Search to look for links to interesting stories relevant to your niche. Share them and give credit to the source (see Whole Foods)
  3. Ask questions of your followers and write a blog post that quotes the best responses
  4. Study and respond to your critics, or better yet, study and respond to the critics of your competitors

Be creative, have fun, invest in your customers – and they will invest in you.

Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments. The more the merrier.

Photo Credit: Anirudh Koul

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  • http://friendfeed.com/ Jermaine Alloso

    Lots of great suggestions here. Love the Dominos photo opp idea. What an easy action. Same goes for the Jet Blue pilot asking passengers to check in on Twitter. Great stuff, and so easy.

    Of course, all this should reflect a larger plan/movement from within a company. Just going out and doing a bunch of little things without a larger plan backed up by goals, branding, and a central message can cause much of it to get lost.

  • http://jasonkeath.com jakrose

    Completely agree Jermaine. Forgetting the company message and how to carry
    it through with some of these tasks can reduce the impact. I will plan on a
    follow up post that speaks to that very issue, staying on message, or
    creating your brand identity within social media. Thanks for the reaction.

  • Pingback: Beyond Word of Mouth | THIRSTY FISH:

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