In Reviews We Trust
The tactic I want to share today is pretty simple.
It’s the idea that you can use your customers to generate more value for your business. For a lot of small businesses referrals are the lifeblood of the business, so it’s not a new concept.
With bigger companies a reference can really help close a deal with a skittish prospect. In your personal life sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor help you make decisions based on their review systems.Reviews are becoming a big force in every area of the economy as buyers trust people like themselves more than corporations. It’s never been more important to enlist customers to become your advocates.
We’ve pioneered a community oriented approach as opposed to being transactional by giving to our customers as much as possible. With our approach we’ve put our best customers in a community so they can network with people who are like themselves, and as a result you can get a lot more value from your customers.
Building exclusive tribe of best customers / advocates…
A lot of times restaurants will ask you for a Yelp review or a referral, but those exchanges are often very transactional.
It’s like those restaurants are simply trying to rack up positive reviews online.
What I learned was that advocacy is incredibly important to earning sales but it was hard to develop a systematic approach to creating those relationships at scale.
It was almost by accident that we discovered that if you can make this advocacy-primed group of customers feel really special with an amazing experience, then they are going to return that goodwill in dividends back to your business.
Now instead of asking for a referral we offer them an invitation to our VIP club. We use some technology to manage our community but you can also do this in an extremely low-fi way with a simple email list or a WhatsApp group.
We then ask these folks for feedback on how we can improve our business. That’s a very common way for an advocate to start a relationship with your company, these are people who care about what you’re doing enough to want to give feedback.
We ask all our advocates to help us build our business, not through buying more stuff from us, but from talking about us with their circles of influence.
We’ve found that people love meeting others with the same interests as they have.
Bringing people together in a group and making them feel like they’re taking part in something bigger than themselves, along with showing them what they’re contributing to that greater mission, works wonders.
Using this tactic we’ve been able to supercharge our advocates to do ten times the amount of advocacy work we’d have expected otherwise.
- Create a VIP community for your best customers and most loyal Advocates.
- Invite your Advocates to join this group and ask them for feedback.
- Show the community that they are greater than the sum of their parts.
- Ask them to spread the word about your business to “other people, just like them.”
Result You Will Achieve
Bigger reach and rapport through the word of mouth by loyal customers and advocates of your business.
This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.