As inbound marketing has evolved, certain elements have become more specific and personal. The sales funnel has evolved into more of a sales journey. Interactions have replaced attention-seeking efforts. Perhaps most importantly, the connection between a company and its customers and prospects has been redefined in the context of a relationship.
In this sense, you’re not just trying to accumulate customers, per se. Your goal is to convert prospects into customers and, in turn, elevate those customers into fans and advocates of your company. The defining methodology for doing business today is to truly put your customers at the heart of everything you do.
Of course, you want to serve your customers better. But use the knowledge you’ve gathered about your customers to create new strategies aimed at delivering what prospects want, where and how they want it. Use what your customers have expressed in your campaigns, and they’ll recognize you’re putting their needs at the forefront.
How to create fans out of your customers
Many of the articles we’ve posted in this space have something to do with this concept. We’ve discussed how you can begin to convert customers into fans by making these tactics part of your strategy:
- Provide the inbound content your target customers want to see
- Keep your content interesting, relevant and dynamic
- Listen to their needs and start honest conversations with them about those needs
- Use those conversations to make real, human connections
All this builds a meaningful relationships with customers and fosters loyalty. When they feel you’re fulfilling their needs and rewarding their loyalty, they develop a fervent support of you and your products or services. Give these ardent customers—your fans—a little more attention and reward for their fervor and watch the relationship grow.
How fans help spread your message
The big boost you get from having customers who are also fans is their advocacy on your company’s behalf. If they have a positive experience with you, they’ll earnestly recommend you to the people they know. By winning over the hearts of a few, you’ll gain early and positive traction with prospects through them.
Fans carry some of the workload in this way. Their fandom results in valuable peer-to-peer recommendations (which are far more effective than anything a company can do on its own) and multiplies the efficacy of your marketing efforts. They’re more willing to share and spread the word already, and using some modest incentivization can turn their social media reach into a powerful inbound marketing echo chamber.
How fandom is contagious
The fervor your fans have for your company has a glorious knock-on effect. Their positivity, coupled with genuine peer recommendations, results in a potent, reliable means for bringing prospects closer to your company.
When customers who have the greatest familiarity with you only have positive feelings to share, their fandom becomes contagious. Prospects want to have the same relationship with a company that these fans do with yours in particular. By reaching them through your fans, you can bring them into the fold with less guesswork and effort.
Give your fans a sense of ownership in the dissemination of your company’s message and a platform or community to belong to, and then they’ll feel the exclusivity and prestige of being an influencer. By doing so, you motivate them while enticing prospects and less frequent customers to get to know your company more intimately. The combination of these efforts uses your fans to exponentially improve your inbound marketing efforts and, in turn, create new fans to join them.