The term "digital footprint" has been around for quite awhile now, but what exactly does that mean for your business? Basically, it's the digital trail that your business leaves behind on social...
4 Ideas for Encouraging Customers to Promote Your Company to Their Peers
It is important to create a community that will promote your company to their peers. Within every industry, B2B buyers seek considerable input from their peers when researching solutions to business problems and performing due diligence for their future purchase decisions. Since peers are seen as objective sources of information based on real world experiences, their opinions matter and often exert significant influence over buyer decisions. Thus, it is essential for you as a vendor to encourage your highly satisfied customers to become promoters of your brand by sharing their opinions, advice, and experiences through the online channels that are most popular among their peers. As a result, they are inclined to promote your company to their peers.
Obviously, this strategy presumes that your company has a strong base of happy customers (promoters) whose opinions will convey positive impressions of your products, services, and company values. However, if you need to improve customer satisfaction in order to earn more favorable reviews, please refer to our whitepaper “15 Tips to Delight Your Customers and Increase ROI” for specific steps you can take today to raise overall satisfaction among your company’s existing customers.
What can you do to turn your most highly satisfied and loyal customers into promoters who effectively communicate the benefits of doing business with your company? Equally important, how can you ensure that the opinions of your promoters reach the right audience of your target prospects?
To accomplish both goals, follow these four basic steps:
- Familiarize yourself with the Google+ communities, LinkedIn groups, product review websites, and online user forums that are most active and well respected within your industry. These are the places where your prospects are likely to look for information. Use these communication channels as part of each step below to target the messages from your promoters to your potential new prospects.
- Ask your customers to post reviews of your company’s products and services, but be strategic in the timing of your requests. Wait until your customers have seen tangible evidence of the benefits of using your product and/or working with your employees before you ask them to comment publicly. This increases the likelihood that their posts will offer unique and meaningful insights to prospective buyers.
- Facilitate the process by presenting your customers with links that take them directly to the websites and social platforms you’ve identified as popular and credible resources among your target buyers. To get the ball rolling, offer your assistance by conducting customer interviews and then formulating each customer’s feedback into a tweet, blog post or success story for that particular customer to use.
- Motivate your customers to share their honest opinions about your company by explaining how their constructive feedback will inform your future product and/or process improvements, which will ultimately benefit them.
Today’s buyers consider a balanced mix of positive and negative comments to be realistic and more informative than all positive reviews, which are often regarded with skepticism.
Some companies refrain from encouraging their customers to post reviews because they want to avoid the possibility of negative feedback being made public. But full disclosure and transparency are critical for establishing trust; therefore, it is prudent to urge your customers to share their real experiences and true beliefs about your company. A negative comment actually creates an opportunity to demonstrate how your company listens and responds to ensure the satisfaction of every customer. The resulting public interchange builds credibility and strengthens your company’s reputation in the market.
By applying the four strategies above to obtain and share customer feedback, your company will succeed in attracting new customers and will strengthen its existing customer relationships as well. As noted in an article published in Bain Insights on February 12, 2014 by David Michels and Andreas Dullweber:
“Can a B2B customer really promote or advocate for your business? Yes, but not just by saying favorable things or recommending the firm to others. Loyalty and advocacy also can be expressed as the customer's willingness to discuss how you can better serve his or her needs and add more value—critical to boosting revenues and profitability.”
To obtain more detailed recommendations on how to increase customer satisfaction and encourage loyal customers to become promoters of your brand, please download our informative whitepaper “15 Tips to Delight Your Customers and Increase ROI”.
Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of Inbound Marketing services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer on-line. Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow.