7 Ways to Turn Customers into Brand Evangelists (with Examples) by@nicholasgodwin

7 Ways to Turn Customers into Brand Evangelists (with Examples)

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Nicholas Godwin

Nicholas Godwin is a digital marketing consultant, eCommerce merchant, and technology researcher.

Brand evangelism is off-the-charts lucrative for business.

The only problem?

You haven’t wrapped your head around it.

Think of brand evangelism as word-of-mouth marketing for your brand—but best when it’s your customer's unsolicited promotion.

Voluntary word-of-mouth is the most authentic, most potent type of brand marketing. You'll be right if you consider it marketing nirvana.

Customers that come from word-of-mouth spend 200% more than the average buyer. They’d rather buy two bottles of beer if everyone else buys one.

So we’d agree:

Your brand evangelism goal might as well be to initiate organic, unsolicited word-of-mouth from your customers or leads.

In this article, I’ll show you seven battle-tested ways to turn your customers into brand evangelists who flood your business with organic recommendations. Let’s get started.

How Brand Evangelism Works in the Real World

Picture this.

You're staring at your computer screen, unable to decide what brand of biker shorts to buy for you and your twin brother.

Your trusted friend, Kyle, walks in on you, comparing those shorts.

He’s a biker too.

Kyle uses a helmet from one of the brands you just saw on your screen. You like that helmet. But you’re comparing shorts for now.

To break the deadlock, you ask Kyle’s opinion.

He replies, “I won’t think twice,” pointing his finger firmly on one of the brands on your screen.

Kyle continues, “They do quality stuff. Remember that fall I had?”

“Uh-huh,” you nodded.

He says, “Their helmet saved my life. I’ll recommend them any day.”

You’d planned to buy one short each for you and your twin brother. You ordered four pairs of shorts.

That’s brand evangelism at work.

Your friend nudged you to choose a brand he prefers. The brand never asked your friend to recommend them—it’s organic.

Let’s unpack that a bit. Here’s what happened for that brand:

Zero or near-zero customer acquisition cost

Buyers buy 2X what your average customer would buy

The buyer is recruited to recommend other buyers too

Buyers trust the brand right off the bat and are open to buying more of their products

The brand enjoys a shorter sales cycle because of the recommendation

Brand evangelism is profitable, low-cost marketing, that wins your brand instant trust.

7 Ways to Turn Customers to Brand Evangelists

I know what you’re thinking:

Brand evangelism is organic, unsolicited marketing, how do you induce it?

Grab a cup of coffee and let me show you seven ways to turn your customers into evangelists.

1. Offer Outstanding Customer Service like Starbucks

Quality customer service equals frequent patronage. Frequent patronage equals loyal customers.

And who is your best candidate for brand evangelism?

You guessed it—loyal customers.

Loyal customers are more willing to send buyers your way than other customer categories. And offering impeccable customer service is the only reliable way to gain a bastion of loyal customers.

Brands that pay attention to customer service enjoy a line-up of evangelists.

Take Starbucks for instance.

They pay attention to every customer service detail—from lighting to furniture, even to the precise look of a caramel macchiato.

The result?

They sell eight million cups of coffee everyday around the world.

So what’s Starbucks' strategy?

Invest in customer listening: Starbucks generated over 300 profitable ideas from their customers by listing to them and also deepened their customer relationship in the process.

Create a welcoming environment: Starbucks mastered their environment. For example, they use round tables because it made single customers feel less alone.

Incentivize customer loyalty: The Starbucks Reward program offer customers perks to buy.

Charity: Starbucks and Closed Loop Partners collaborated to create biodegradable cups to replace plastics that would have ended up in landfills.

These efforts plant warm and positive images of the Starbucks brand in their customers’ memories. In turn, customers recommended friends and talked fondly of the brand.

2. Overdeliver On Your Products or Services

Customers want to feel proud of what they recommend. So, live up to their hype if you want them to tell other people about you.

Always overdeliver.

If you don't understand the concept of 'over delivering', ask Google.

They know the importance of delivering quality. New features are added regularly to improve the search experience for customers.

During the pandemic year until now. Google added a feature, enabling customers to get valid updates on the virus. 

This was not all.

They added more value by sharing a list of common symptoms, coping mechanisms, vaccination updates and more.

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The result of their thoughtfulness is more traffic to their website. With all these and more, Google is able to remain on the minds of customers. Recommendation from them is also guaranteed.

3. Use Customer Feedback to Drive Brand Evangelism

Hear what your customers have to say always. Their experience with your product. What makes it great, and how it can be better than the competition.

Uber is one company that takes customer feedback very seriously. Their App has a feature where customers get to rate every ride they take. 

Uber's Feedback System

Uber took the idea of ratings to create a feedback loop that benefits both drivers and customers.

It's one of the first transport services to connect drivers with customers through a mobile App. 

The feedback works both ways. Customers rate the drivers and drivers rate the customers.

This system works efficiently because Uber gets responses from both parties.

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Why does Uber do this and what difference does it make?

You can serve customers better, when you know their opinion of your brand. Uber takes these responses and uses them to create experiences that suit each customer.

These experiences enhance the customer service and get customers talking about Uber.

Customers like to know you take their feedback seriously. It gives them an air of importance which leads to future patronage. And to them spreading the word.

4. Respond to and Engage Customers on Social Media

Be quick to engage customers on social media.

A study showed that 78% of consumers expect a response from brands less than 24 hours of reaching out on social media.  

The Nike brand does not disappoint on socials. They have one of the strongest customer service accounts on Twitter. And are available 24/7. 

Customers believe they will get immediate replies once they reach out to #TeamNike.

Nike's strategy, engagement.

Nike uses social media and hashtags to create a community and connect on another level with customers.

With amazing contents and twitter posts, Nike is dominating the social media scene. The brand has the most followers and subscribers on all social media channels.

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Nike has a very good chance of turning their customers to evangelists. The kind of following and engagement they have gives them an edge.

Create custom hashtags for your brand as Nike does—statistically, 5 to 10 hashtags will do.

5. Turn Buyers to Evangelists with a Brand Loyalty Program

Some customers may feel comfortable as long as their family and friends are using their brands. Others however, want to be recognized. 

A brand loyalty program works that magic.

Check out Amazon and their premium loyalty program, Amazon prime.

Members of the program receive benefits, which include free fast shipping for eligible purchases, streaming of movies, TV shows, and music, exclusive shopping deals and selection, and more.

Amazon has experienced huge growth due to the value generated from this loyalty program. They've added new customers and retained old ones.

Customer retention would be easy at this point, because of the benefits attached.

You can use help from customers who are also influencers. This strategy can drive outsized results for your business.

Also, those influencers can help you turn buyers into evangelists yielding 11 times higher ROI compared to other digital marketing channels.

Spreading the word about your brand would also come naturally to customers.

6. Make Customers feel Welcome and Appreciated

It's the little things that make customers feel unwelcome and unappreciated. Many customer service personnel are clueless when it comes to this.

That rude stare. Strange comments. Slow attending to. You need an up-to-date knowledge of best sales practices.

Once customers feel like you don't need their patronage, they flee. That business is out the window. 

The team at Starbucks are great at this! From compliments, to smiles, to kind gestures and attention to detail. Their warm reception keeps customers coming back. These customers easily become evangelists.

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Employees should be trained on how and why it's important to create an environment or culture where everyone feels welcome.

7. Incentivize Brand Evangelism

Who doesn't love a good reward for their hard work? Whether or not they did the work consciously.

Zoom is one of those brands adding value to customer service. Besides making it easier for companies to carry out remote work, they're equally providing free training sessions.

Their training sessions and videos keep their customers loyal. These loyal customers, in turn, find it easy to recommend Zoom to others.

Uber is equally great at incentivizing with their User Referral Code. Anytime someone uses and .downloads the App from an existing user's referral code, both users receive a $20 free ride.

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Offer faithful evangelists a reward for their hard work. Let them know you see them. You care. And appreciate their evangelism. It would make them want to do more. 

It would also make customers who were not previously evangelists want to be evangelists.

Loyal Customer vs. Brand Evangelist—What’s the Difference?

A loyal customer would choose your product consistently even if the competition starts handing out their products for free.

A brand Evangelist would buy your products and make sure to spread the word for others to buy as well. 

Turn Your Employees to Brand Evangelists

What better way to create evangelists than to start from your doorstep?

Let your employees be the first to sing praises about your brand. Then others can join. 

Start Turning Your Customers to Brand Evangelists

Customers won’t become evangelists overnight. Start laying the foundations today, and you’ll harvest a field of loyal customers who can.

Treat them like people. Do the little things. Pay attention to their needs and watch the magic happen.

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