Your Existing Customers Are Your Best Marketing Weapon

Think Street Will Show You 5 Ways to Make This Happen for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, you have invested plenty in drawing some amazing customers through your doors. Now, including your existing customers into your marketing strategy is a smart move, as they might be the best marketing weapon you have – if you know how to leverage this relationship.

Think Street Customers as Marketing Weapons
Using Your Customers as Marketing Weapons

The top advertisers in the United States spent a staggering $163 billion on advertising collectively in the last year alone. Sure, your overall market expenditure may be nowhere near these colossal figures if you run a small business. However, it’s likely that marketing still accounts for a significant percentage of your budget. Currently, the average U.S. business spends 11 percent of its overall company budget on marketing. 

But is there a way for marketers to win more customers without spending too much money? The simple answer is yes. Any company can attract new customers and make tons of sales while spending next to nothing on paid advertising.

How?

The trick is to get your existing customers to do the marketing for you. Your clients’ views and opinions carry massive weight with new prospects, whether these opinions are posted online or delivered face to face. Ninety-two percent of all consumers trust suggestions from others more than they believe paid advertising. 

In this comprehensive post, we tell you why your customers are the greatest marketing resource you have at your disposal. 

It’s a Low-Cost Approach to Increasing Sales

Over the years, customer acquisition cost (CAC) has gone up significantly. Running a marketing campaign can set you back thousands of dollars or more, depending on the marketing approaches you adopt. 

The best thing with word-of-mouth advertising from your clients is that your customers don’t charge you for it. As long as they’re happy with your product or service, most customers will naturally tell others about their positive experience. And given how powerful word-of-mouth advertising is, you should start to see an increase in your client base without necessarily spending any money on marketing. 

It Boosts Brand Credibility

We’ve already pointed out that the vast majority of consumers trust recommendations above other forms of advertising. That’s because people assume the individuals giving the referrals are happy with your products or services and are providing an unbiased opinion. 

When your existing clients advocate for your brand, it helps break down any trust barriers between you and your prospects. This alone can drive massive demand for your product or service. The result, of course, is more sales and higher revenue for your company.

Think Street Customers as Marketing Weapons
When your existing clients advocate for your brand, it helps break down any trust barriers between you and your prospects.

It Helps Multiply Your Social Capital 

Having a strong social media presence is one of the hallmarks of effective online marketing. One of the surest ways to boost your social capital is by having your customers talk about you in their social networks,

If customers love your products or services, chances are they’ll like and share your posts on their social media platforms. Some of them may even review your brand on social networks. The more they do so, the more recognizable and credible your brand becomes. 

If your social media marketing strategy hasn’t been bearing the best results, it’s time to start tapping into your customers’ social influence. When clients promote your brand on their social networks, their spheres of influence automatically become yours. This amplified brand awareness can significantly power your entire marketing campaign.  

There are several steps you can use a small business to encorage your existing customers to share their experience with your company on their social media.  Let us show you how.

It’s a Sustainable Marketing Strategy

When you’re creating a marketing plan, you need to consider how sustainable the model you intend to adopt is. One of the most significant benefits of customer advocacy as a marketing model is that it’s an evergreen strategy. It’s a gift that keeps on giving without necessarily costing you a penny.  

What your company needs is a way to nuture each happy customer into the type of customers who become rainmakers – those who recommend and refer their friends to you.

A single, widely shared conversation about your brand can skyrocket your company’s popularity and reinforce your trustworthiness for a long time. As news about you spread like wildfire, you get more referrals. Even better, happy, referred customers will also tell others about you, making the value of the first referral grow exponentially.

You Get to Rank Better On Search Engines

Getting your business website to rank highly on major search engines is essential in boosting your online discoverability. In an increasingly competitive digital space, earning that top spot on search engine result pages is easier said than done.

Among the most ways to rank on Google is through online customer reviews. Sure, Google considers many factors to determine search engines, but online reviews are among the most potent signals about a brand’s authority and trustworthiness. 

As long as you have happy, loyal clients, you stand a better chance of earning their reviews on Google, which can go a long way in boosting your online business. 

Think Street Customers as Marketing Weapons
What your company needs is a way to nuture each happy customer into the type of customers who become rainmakers – those who recommend and refer their friends to you.

Getting Your Customers to Be Your Marketers

Now that you’ve seen how your clients can elevate your marketing efforts, it’s likely that you’d like to know how you can encourage them to become your brand advocates. Below are tips guaranteed to develop, engage, mobilize, and sustain an army of active customer advocates. 

1. Create a Plan for Your Client Marketing Campaign

The first thing you’re going to need is a good plan for your customer marketing campaign. 

Start by assessing the state of your current marketing strategy. Are there any problems that you need to fix? What’s working well that you can improve on to optimize the results?

Identify any gaps and challenges that you need to work on. For instance, you may want to lower the cost of acquiring a new customer if it’s currently too high.

Then determine what you hope to achieve with your new marketing campaign. Some goals to consider include boosting your overall brand awareness, encouraging a fresh brand narrative, and increasing your presence in a specific subset of your target market.

Make sure that your goals are measurable and driven by specific numbers. 

2. Prepare the Stage for an Effective Customer Advocacy Strategy

Small businesses can foster customer advocacy in a variety of ways. One way is to provide a great product. 

If your product is of low quality, no one will want to advocate for it. That’s unless you’re paying them to do it, which would defeat the entire idea of customer advocacy.

The best way to develop a great product is to first validate your idea by doing thorough market research. Is there a market for the product? Are you targeting the appropriate people?

The second way to enhance customer advocacy is to offer stellar customer service. Customer-centric companies have mastered the art of providing an unforgettable customer experience. In 2020, customer experience has overtaken product and price as the most important brand differentiator.

Customer experience has overtaken product and price as the most important brand differentiator.

3. Identify Your Ideal Customer Advocates

What qualities make a perfect customer advocate? Consider their reach. Generally, you want to focus on clients that have sufficient following to make an impact.

Think about consistency too. Can you count on your advocated to promote your business consistently? If not, they won’t create trust among their network that is necessary to bring results. 

You also want to consider authority. If your customer advocates can’t influence their followers to action, they won’t be helping your marketing efforts. 

One of the best ways to determine whether a customer fits the above profile above is to monitor their social media activity.  

4. Engage Your Ideal Customer Advocates

After you’ve made a list of your perfect customer advocates, take the time to engage them. The idea is to get them to champion your brand in their networks. There are many ways to do so.

For instance, you can encourage your loyal customers to review you and leave personal testimonials online. 

Another way to supercharge your advocates to promote your business is to provide them exclusive or early-bird access to your offers. Consider allowing them to share these deals with their close friends and relatives.

Invest in an advocacy program that makes it simple for your customers to promote your business. For instance, you can provide helpful tools that make it easy for your advocates to access and share useful content about your brand.

5. Reward Your Advocates for Good Results

Customer advocacy should, of course, be organic. You shouldn’t pay customers to say how happy there are with your brand. 

However, it’s vital to reward your advocates if they’re bringing results to your business. There are creative ways to do this, including:

  • Holding exclusive events for them
  • Giving advocates merchandise that’s branded
  • Featuring them on your websites or social networks
  • Giving your advocates a sneak peek of your new projects
  • Implementing a point system that rewards advocates with special prices for reaching a certain number of points

Rewarding your advocates for their work communicates that you appreciate them and motivates them to continue championing your brand.

Let Your Customers Do Your Marketing

When it comes to growing your business, your current clients are your most powerful marketers. As long as you’re providing them with a great product and outstanding customer service, they’ll want to promote your brand in whichever way they can.

Are you interested in boosting your online marketing strategy? Please contact us today to see how we can help you.

About Sean O’Bryan

Sean O'Bryan is the owner of Think Street Media, LLC, a Michigan marketing agency. He has practiced estate planning law for 30 years and has helped hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses succeed through creative marketing strategies.