We hear it all the time:
People who are happy with their product or service are happy to help that business grow. They virtually volunteer to market for you!
The idea of brand evangelists, ready to convert everyone in their sphere of influence to your brand is a popular one. Who wouldn’t want hordes of happy customers to take over your marketing efforts, bringing an unceasing stream of new customers to your door?
And, all kidding aside, a happy customer can be a powerful marketing boon for any business. But anyone who’s tried to get a five-star rating on Yelp or iTunes knows that mobilizing your happy customers takes work.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, here at ‘cause Digital, we’ve developed our own 7-step system we use to make it easy. But more on that later.
Why Happy Customers Help Your Business
There’s that old saying: “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” While digital-customer acquisition was most certainly NOT on whoever’s mind when this phrase was originally uttered, it’s still true.
Let me show you exactly why—
01. An existing client is almost always cheaper to up-sell than attracting a brand new client.
Creating a repeat client requires less time, energy and cost than acquiring a brand new client. In fact, there’s a 65% chance of converting a current client into a repeat client whereas there’s only a 13% chance of converting a new prospect. (source)
But why such a huge differential?The answer is simple: relationships.The resources necessary to create trust and to provide an exceptional client experience have already been invested in a current client. Believe me, establishing the foundation for a long-lasting relationship is effort— and anyone doing marketing for your business has an up-hill battle — Which is why having happy customers talking about you to their network, friends and family is so important.It’s also why your current client base is the perfect place to find new customers.
02. Great clients can help you attract new clients to your business more cheaply and easily.
The psychology is simple—when a potential client gets a personal referral to your business, they trust it more. This is why social reviews, like Google, Facebook and Yelp are so popular.
People are more likely to trust a stranger’s online review over what a business says about itself. I know, sounds odd, but it’s true. The latest research shows 90% of people are likely to believe a recommendation from a friend and 70% are likely to believe consumer opinions.When people read what businesses say about themselves on their website or social media, they are distrusting because, in that instance, most think they are being sold to.
REMEMBER: People like buying but they don’t like feeling as if they are being sold to.
When they read a review or hear a friend talk about a product, they are listening to how something can help them as opposed to hearing someone who might be “trying to get their money.”
Getting Online Reviews Is Low-Hanging Fruit
So, if you’re not already requesting, collecting and distributing great online reviews from your top clients, you’re missing out. (If you need a little help with asking for reviews, I recently had the opportunity to share 6 simple steps to getting great online review with Pets+ Magazine.)
Definitely worth the short read.
But What Other Ways Can Existing Clients Help You Generate New Business?
Here are a few simple ways you can leverage existing clients to promote your business:
01. Ask your top clients for help and give them thanks for sending referrals.
Here’s the key: when you ask for a referral, don’t ask for a referral—ask for an introduction. Asking for a referral makes the person you ask work, a lot.
Be specific with your request.
Do you want a name? An email? Do you want just anybody they know or someone specific? There is too much guessing when you ask for “a referral.” Instead, ask your top client if they can introduce you to someone who is X, Y and Z.”
For a Petpreneur, it might look like: “Hey, do you know anyone who lives in the area, has dogs, and doesn’t have the time to take them out on an afternoon walk? Will you introduce me to them?” This eliminates a lot of work for the client you are asking for help.
Remember: People want to help, so when they do, always thank them! That could be as simple as a thank you text or some type of incentive such as 10% off their next purchase.
02. Provide incentives for team members who bring in new clients, or expand your work with existing clients.
The people who work for you want the business to succeed. It increases their job security AND makes them more deeply invested when they see their work paying off. Offering a bonus, extra vacation days, free lunch for a week, or some other incentive may motivate your team to start thinking about who is already in their network that will benefit from what your business offers.
Don’t be afraid of the classic teacher move either: offering a pizza party if the team meets a certain goal such as taking on 3 more clients in a week they personally referred.
People love free food.
Your people know people who should know you too. So ask!
03. Create a list of the companies you’d most like to work for and search LinkedIn for people you know in common.
Ah, social media. Leveraging your connections can create powerful relationships both for your business and the people you connect with. Really think about the brands you would love to work for or the ones that inspire you. Start looking at who works for them and how you know them. If you’ve been in the industry more than a year, chances are you’re one click away from crossing paths. And don’t let their title scare you away—Presidents, VPs, COOs—they all got to their position because they love seeing people and brands succeed. Reach out to them. There’s nothing to lose.
04. Be the exceptional brand your top client was initially drawn to.
Always deliver on what you promise. Always. Broken trust can be deadly to your existing relationships, but building long-term trust and credibility are two pillars your business can stand on indefinitely. Every client, every interaction, every purchase matters.
If people see that you treat Joe Smith with the same care as Mrs. CEO, people will like you. Let’s be real here—likability matters. People buy what they like and they like to buy from brands that are fair, honest, credible and trustworthy. All of these qualities are evident when you make good on your brand promise.
Here at ’cause, we see the power of maximizing our network and building brand evangelists every day—people who are excited to help because they are already deeply invested. We have our brand evangelists and we want our clients to have them too! So we’ve developed a proven 7-step system (we call it StarImpact) for helping brands grow networks of brand evangelists who bring your message to the world, and help you hit your revenue goals while making positive impact at the same time.
Get in touch if you’d like to learn more.