How to Generate More Leads With Brand Evangelists

You’ve done a great job. You’ve converted visitors into leads, leads into sales and sales into brand ambassadors. These brand ambassadors, or “evangelists,” are ready, willing and able to shout from the rooftops about how great your business is. So, where do you find your brand evangelists and how exactly can you utilize them in your inbound marketing plan?

A brand evangelist is one of the best marketing tools you’ll ever have — and the best part is, they do their work for free! They’re people who are happy with what your business is doing. They love your product or service, they love your company and they share that information with people in their circle of influence. Online, brand evangelists are the ones who step in to answer questions, provide solutions and offer commentary, often before your staff even realizes that there’s something going on. Most of the time, these are individuals who are aggressive (in a good way!) in their promotion of your brand.

How Do You Find Your Brand Evangelists?

In some cases, brand evangelists will make themselves known. They’re the ones who show up on your social media pages and forums on a regular basis — liking, commenting on and sharing your posts. They’re the ones who are filling out your surveys, answering your email requests for information and taking advantage of all of your special offers. Brand evangelists are often long-term customers or members of your internal team who believe in the brand and are willing to go the extra mile for it. Several key steps will help you identify them:

  • See who is regularly sharing and following your content on social media. Whether you see one name across several channels or a specific individual lighting up one social media channel, you’ll know it’s someone who genuinely cares about your brand.
  • Discover who’s sending new customers your way. Ask new clients how they found you and who referred them.
  • Look for blogs that have a wide outreach and mention your brand on a regular basis.
  • Talk to the employees who are most enthusiastic about your company and the products or services you offer.
  • Look at your blog comments and online industry forums to find out which customers post regularly.
  • Keep an eye on customer reviews. Customers who take the time to leave positive reviews, instead of negative ones, are excellent brand evangelists who clearly care about your company.

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Using Brand Evangelists in Your Marketing Plan

Once you know who your brand evangelists are, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using them effectively. They are essentially a free marketing tool and one of your best resources for increasing the number of new customers coming your way. There are several ways to make the most of them:

  • Create content that brand evangelists are eager to share with everyone around them. From educational blog posts to fascinating podcasts to interesting infographics, content creation will drive evangelist appreciation and give them a regular source of material to share.
  • Encourage your employees to remain positive. In many cases, your employees may be the best brand ambassadors you have. Give them the tools they need for grassroots marketing and reward that behavior with incentives.
  • Ask for their input. Brand evangelists will get passionate over the things they really want your business to provide and they’ll be even more invested when these things finally appear.
  • Gather testimonials or endorsements of your brand. (Hint: Loyal customers are often more than happy to provide them!) Use these in ad campaigns, on your website, on landing pages or any other place you want to drive lead conversion. Hearing from a real, satisfied customer is powerful stuff.

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Keep Delighting Your evangelists or You’ll Lose Them

Brand evangelists care fervently about your company. They believe passionately that the products and services you’re offering are better than those offered by your competitors and they stand behind you vocally — even when you make the occasional mistake. The trouble comes if you stop delighting your brand evangelists altogether. If you start taking them for granted, you’ll quickly discover that they eventually turn away from your company. They might find someone else who is offering the same services, or they might choose to go a different direction with their needs. Keeping your brand evangelists interested, therefore, is a critical tool in your marketing arsenal.

  • Touch base personally with your dedicated brand evangelists. This doesn’t have to be especially frequent, but adding that special personal touch will keep your brand evangelists on their toes and advocating for your brand.
  • Offer discounts or prizes for sharing information. This can be anything from a contest based on social media comments or shares to a discount based on referrals.
  • Let them help with the creation of new ideas. Your brand ambassadors often know more about what your customers want than you do — so listen to the information they’re giving you, then provide them with what they want.
  • Remain trustworthy. Your customers are more likely to remain brand ambassadors when they know that they can trust your company to continue offering the service, content and products that they need.

Brand evangelists are one of the most valuable resources your company has. After all, free marketing is hard to come by these days! Using your evangelists effectively will give you an extra boost in the growth of your business and keeping them happy will keep that growth going for a long time to come.

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Originally published on THINK blog

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