Marketing has changed with the growth of the internet and the advent of social media.
Marketers are no longer in charge of their brand, customers are and customers are overwhelmed with information and content.
Given the overwhelming amount of information available, a number of studies affirm that consumers no longer trust corporations or advertising.
While word-of-mouth may be down in frequency due to the economy, it’s still rated the highest for trust with 90% of customers identifying word-of-mouth as the best, most reliable and relevant source of ideas and information about products and services.
Consumers trust their friends, their peers, people who have provided objective reviews on websites. They look for people with relevance, objectivity, integrity, authenticity and honesty as sources or information.
Given this, marketers need to institute strategies and execute tactics that will enable customers to convey messages, create influence and personal leverage. Marketers must create active advocates whereby customers have a personal emotional engagement with the brand that goes beyond satisfaction to loyalty whereby they ultimately become “raving fans” on your behalf.
Raving fans represent the highest level of customer involvement and commitment. They are connected with the brand on an emotional level and are committed to it success since they see the brand as an extension of themselves.
What brands are you a raving fan of?
Raving fans will proactively and voluntarily communicate their experiences to friends, relatives and colleagues.
In order to create raving fans, brands need to create a relationship with their most loyal customers. Engage them in a dialogue to enhance the relationship and to promote reciprocity.
Here are seven things you can do to convert loyal customers to raving fans:
- Deliver a consistently positive customer experience and occasionally given them an experience they can rave about
- Send personalized, handwritten thank you notes, birthday cards, anniversary cards, etc.
- Provide unexpected freebies or gifts. Amazon used to provide a free bookmark with an order of books. Guess this went away with the success of Kindle.
- Send an email inviting feedback on their last experience or what you can do to improve your product or service. Let them know their feedback is important so you can keep improving your product or service.
- Provide relative, free bonuses. For example, a hotel chain for a frequent business traveler won’t charge them for high-speed internet access.
- Ask your loyal customers to tell you stories about your brand and how its made a difference in their life. This can be great audio or video testimonials as well.
- Let them see behind the scenes so they get to know you and your business better — they’ll become even more invested in your success. Zappos has guided tours of their two distribution facilities.
What do you do to convert loyal customers to raving fans?