Customers, as purchasers of your products or services, make the best salespeople. But we don’t mean in the traditional sense as they are not paid company sales representatives. What we mean is that through interaction with peers and contacts, they promote the goods and services you provide. They offer the best feedback as users of your products and services and so with the most effective endorsements, loyal customers become brand ambassadors. Consequently, they are your most valued asset.
Here is a look at the most common strategies implemented in converting your best clients or customers into valuable salespeople.
Customers only continue using your products and services if they genuinely feel that your offering is better than the competition. This means that you should ensure that your clients are able to see the product/service benefits. You should take advantage and utilise every opportunity to publicise the fact that your offerings are among the best in the market. This means gathering testimonials from satisfied customers.
Sharing the benefits of the offerings is important, yes, but so is trust. Nowadays, more people seem interested in what their peers have to say rather than what the brand says. By inviting or posting customer testimonials, you can convey that trust to potential customers. In other words, by incorporating valuable evidence into your digital platforms, i.e. website and social media profiles, you are using the positive feedback to reach new clients.
Let’s put that in context with a real-life example. Help-desk software provider, Groove, discovered over the years that website and email marketing testimonials over the years contributed to a 15% conversion increase.
Encourage user-generated content
User-generated content is content created by a third-party user, such as a customer, social media follower or influencer. The source of such content could comprise a customer review, blog, podcast or video, typically shared by the brand on its own website, social media pages, customers’ own social media. This content can be used as a means of creating engagement.
User-generated content can create a significant impact, increasing engagement by almost 30%, inviting consumers to share content with friends and family.
Such a platform can be used to even encourage customers to share their own stories or articles. For instance, providing guest blogging opportunities is one way.
Actively engage your clients
Taking every opportunity available, you can engage your clients and customers by encouraging them to share your content, review and even endorse your products/services. By making this process as easy as possible, your clients or customers can reach out to a wider audience.
Ideally, you should consider asking for feedback, acknowledging positive feedback and thanking the authors via the same platform they have used. Even a less than outstanding review should be acknowledged; your response should be more accommodating, assuring them that you will investigate the reasons of their dissatisfaction with a view to taking any corrective action. This reassures them of the importance of their views and opinions.
Social media can play a crucial role in providing credibility to your brand, products and services. It’s not as expensive as more traditional forms of advertising (e.g. TV). Corporate website testimonials may not be as convincing, sparking some suspicion. Therefore, posting such content on social media sites would shape this as the most highly valued form of endorsement since people are more trusting of recommendations from people they know.
The best ways to optimise social sharing would be to:
- Create visible share buttons
- Request likes and shares in your social media posts
- Link social media pages on your website
- Drum up testimonials from highly satisfied customers
- Create a comments/review area on your site where positive feedback from customers can be shared
Identify and encourage your most influential advocates
Reviews and testimonials from customers can prove to be valuable but even more so when the sources are influencers and brand ambassadors. Endorsements from clients considered to be experts in the field provide valuable information, praising the benefits of your products and services. Word-of-mouth is the best way to advertise.
Social media channels such as YouTube are dominated by product review content, inspiring interested customers to make a purchase in response to the information they receive from influencers. Identifying and connecting to the right influencers not only promotes your products and services but can potentially increase sales.
How your website can be helpful
In the first instance, your website needs to host very useful content which would enable clients to select the most appropriate product according to their needs.
A knowledge centre or resources section on the website would convince customers and clients of the firm’s integrity.
Prospective clients and customers will benefit from a visible email address whereby they can seek assistance on products and services you provide. An online chat facility would provide immediate help. Other means include an online blog or forum whereby customers and clients can give feedback.
Establish a referral program
Customers are happy to promote your products and services when provided with an incentive to do so. A structure within which this can take place is through a referral program whereby valued customers are rewarded with for example gifts, cash and discounts for referring friends and family members.
A referral program is considered as one of the simplest options available in gaining new business from a network of people sharing similar interests. It is a way of letting your customers sell on your behalf.
Adopting an affiliate program
One alternative used by some firms is affiliate marketing. Although similar to the above referral program, an affiliate marketing program is not as direct. Affiliate marketing usually involves direct compensation for each sale completed by the associate and is generally seen to be a cost-effective scaling method avoiding overpayment.
Satisfied clients or customers will be happy and willing to share their thoughts about your products and services if provided with the right incentives. If you encourage them, they have the potential to become your secondary salesforce, praising your brand at a fraction of the more traditional advertising platforms.
Word of mouth appears to be the best way to advertise and so this should be exploited. When your brand is fortunate to have loyal customers, you should ensure that you take advantage of this powerful and cost-effective means of advertising. This ultimately means utilising your customers with very little investment required on your part.
In the meantime, if you want to respond to the need for relevant content by increasing your social media presence, why not read our 10 best practices for compliant social media. You can download a free copy here.
Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.