This post is by Elisa Abbott from Openview Labs
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Your customers are your most valuable asset in more ways than one. Not only do they create revenue by making purchases, but they can also help you with leadership development, marketing and sales. Every customer you connect with has the potential to be a brand ambassador, and ultimately a source of sales revenue. Even better, they do this work without demanding a paycheck or health benefits. As with any other asset, your goal should be to maximize your returns. Here are five ways to convert customers into a powerful sales force.
Create a Referral ProgramOne simple way to get customers to promote your products is to provide them with an incentive for doing so. That’s why so many companies have created referral programs. Through these, they provide valued customers with discounts, rewards points, gifts, cash and even special access for referring friends and family members. In many cases, customers
provided with a personalized link or referral code that they can pass along to others. When a referral visits the company website through that link, or keys in the referral code, credit is given to the referring customer. This shouldn’t be confused with affiliate programs where compensation only comes after the sale is made. Referral programs are an excellent option because they are simple and straightforward. Customers know how they’ll be rewarded for providing referrals to their friends and family members. This is a great way to get new business from customers with large networks of people who share similar interests.
Use customer testimonials to build trustIt’s a big accomplishment when you draw a potential customer to your website or one of your landing pages. Still, you know your work isn’t done yet. You’ve still got to get them to take the final step of answering your call to action, and make a purchase. This is where you’ve really got to convince them to keep moving forward. Of course, your primary focus should be on sharing the benefits of your product, but trust is important as well. Remember that when customers make a purchase, you’re asking them to hand over personal and financial data, and to trust you to handle that information with utmost care and discretion. To complete sales, you’ve got to inspire confidence and trust. Customer testimonials are one way to do that. Now more than ever consumers are more interested in what their peers have to say about products and services than brands. 84% trust people more than brands. By soliciting and posting customer testimonials, you can broadcast that trust to potential buyers.
Identify Influencers and Brand AmbassadorsCustomer reviews and testimonials are valuable. When these come from influencers and brand ambassadors, they are absolutely priceless. There’s a reason that YouTube and other channels are full of product review content. Interested customers are inspired to make purchases by the information they receive from the people that are influential to them. You know those posts you see on Instagram that are tagged #Spon, #Sponsored, #Ad, #Paid, etc.? Those are all examples of influencer posts promoting products and services. These along with the aforementioned YouTube videos are usually the direct result of companies sending influencers and ambassadors free products so that they can talk about them through their own social media channels. If you connect with the right influencers, this can lead to a real boost in your sales figures. The key is identifying the influencers that can truly connect your brand to networks of interested customers. It’s not enough for them to have extensive networks. In fact, you may get more value from an influencer with a smaller, but very active, audience with a proven interest in your niche.
Get Customers to Share User Generated ContentUser-generated content is any brand-relevant content that is created by your followers or customers. Examples of user-generated content include:
- Customer reviews
- Tips and advice generated by ‘power users’
- Customer stories
- Pictures and videos of customers using your products and services
Simplify And Encourage SharingEven the most satisfied customer is only going to go so far in advocating for your products and services. It’s your role to encourage them and to make the process as easy as possible. You can do this by taking every opportunity you can to encourage customers to review your products, share your content and otherwise let people know about your products and services. Take friction out of social sharing, and you’ll see more customers doing your outreach for you. Do this by:
- Placing social share buttons in conspicuous places
- Asking for likes and shares in your social media posts
- Linking to your social media pages on your website
- Send order confirmation emails with links to review sites
- Use tools like Click to Tweet to encourage customers to share your content without much effort at all
- Solicit customer testimonials from highly satisfied customers
- Reach out to customers directly on product review sites