How You Can Turn Die-Hard Fans Into Your New Marketing Team
They already love you. They want other people to love you. All you have to do is show them how.
Gone are the days where marketing was all about the company. Marketers unfortunately can’t spend all their time like the advertising gurus in Mad Men do (regardless of how fun that would be). I think the shift in focus toward customers is really a lesson in how to make the most of what we have—a skill set that comes in handy outside of the corporate world too. And while some of us don’t have a large budget, we do have fans.
Fans vs Customers
Not every customer will be willing to shout your name from the rooftops, but you may be surprised to learn that a lot of them are—those are your fans. But the real trick is finding fans who are not only willing to spread the word, but who also have a strong presence within the community. While you may not be able to get Kim Kardashian to start flaunting your stuff along with hers, you can get the next best thing (and no, we don’t mean Kourtney or Kim).
Find the big shots in your industry and try to make them a fan of your product. Give them incentives to spread the word, whether that be through a great product/service or some really awesome promo SWAG, and you’d be surprised how much of a difference they can make. And hey, you never know – maybe someone like Kim will start flaunting your SWAG.
Pens are good, but wearables are better
When someone is wearing your logo, they’re endorsing your brand. It’s just like word of mouth, without the words. While you’re probably picturing someone wearing a t-shirt with your logo slapped in the middle, there are definitely ways to get more creative. Create a wearable that gets worn not just because your brand is on it, but because it’s actually just an awesome bit of fashion. We’re not saying you need to be a fashion designer, just that you need to get away from boring.
If you create an item that they actually want to wear outside of lounging on the couch, then you don’t necessarily need an obvious logo on it. Not everyone wants to walk around in a hat with your company name in huge letters on it, but they may want to walk around with a unique hat that happens to have your logo on the back. See where we’re going here?
Useful has a longer shelf life
If you give people something they will actually use, it’s more likely that they’ll actually use and keep it. Any time they have a need, they’ll be reaching for you. And that’s definitely not a bad habit to create. So don’t think of what’s easy and cheap, think of what’s effective (which can actually be easier and cheaper than you think)
Give fans items they can use at their desk or when they’re walking down the street. Because you can brand just about anything—from USB drives to surfboards and everything in between—we always try to tap into their needs and find a product that fills it. The idea is to get them to spread the word, not throw your lame, never-to-be-seen again promo item in the back of their closet.
Make your SWAG a coveted prize
The world we live in is social and people love to share their opinions online (sometimes too much, but hey, that’s a story for another day). If you’re looking for ways to boost engagement with customers online, a contest is a great way to start. Whoever submits the winning entry gets a super awesome piece of SWAG. This will increase engagement with the fans you do have and attract a whole new pool of people who can become fans. Just remember that social media is a conversation. You should be just as active as your fans.
Flat out ask them
Sometimes it really is as simple as asking your fans to spread the word. Ask them to share your page on Facebook or give them a cool promo gift with a note encouraging them to tell their friends about you. You won’t know the answer until you ask.
The biggest takeaway we have for you?
Use the fans you have to reach the ones you don’t. Customer acquisition can be hard, but who better to promote your brand than the customers that are already loyal to you and love what you do? You may hear this advice and think it’s obvious, but you’d be surprised how few companies really take advantage of the resources that are right in front them – and we mean actually right in from of them.
Think of it as a funnel. If you are able to reach one person in a way that is helpful, thoughtful, entertaining or meaningful in some way, they’ll more than likely share the experience. It works because people only share the best and worst things that happen to them. Just look at your personal Facebook feed. Someone’s either hating their job or documenting their vacation.
When you go out of your way to do something that’s actually meaningful in people’s lives, you can be sure they’ll tell their friends. And BAM! There are the word of mouth endorsements you need. Do that with every customer and you’ll have a team of loyal fans talking about marketing your company.
The bottom line? Use what you have to get what you want. And for more ideas on what items would suit your brand best, send our SWAG Masters a quick note.