There is a big difference between a happy customer and a brand evangelist. Satisfied customers are simply satisfied with your product. Yes, they like your brand and yes, they would probably recommend your business to a friend if asked, but that’s all they will do. On the other hand, the evangelists of the brand are at a whole new level. Not only are you happy with your purchase; they are excited about it. These people are so pleased with your brand that they are ready to announce their virtues to those who want to listen to them, nobody needs to ask them beforehand. Cultivating a group of ten evangelists is difficult but, evangelism marketing is definitely worth it.
Create a list of possible Brand Evangelist candidates
Most companies have a list of satisfied customers looking for referrals. Depending on how your business works, either your management or sales and service representatives should be able to provide you with a list of potential candidates.
Narrow down your preliminary list based on two key questions.
- Refine your preliminary list based on two key questions. Ask your nominating team to weigh whether candidate evangelists would be willing to give their praise online through social media, written or video credentials or as part of a written or video case study that discusses the solutions of their business, working with your company the advantages and solutions of your company at personal events. Refine your list based on the team’s responses and how the potential evangelist’s skills fit into your broader marketing goals.
Reach out to top evangelist candidates to gauge interest.
- Ask salespeople or customer service representatives (or executives, if applicable) to address the applicants to confirm their willingness to actively support your brand. They should try to get a general idea of the degree and form in which the potential ambassador might feel comfortable acting as a respected evangelist. With feedback from your employees, a member of your marketing team should answer the conversation on a follow-up call. Their goal is to determine where (written testimonies, social media, video, case studies, opportunities, trade shows, spotlight corporate events, etc.) and how often would they be ready to sing praise.
Develop a brand evangelist optimization strategy.
- Depending on the size of your organization and the resources available, you can promote one or more evangelists. Your strategy will also be guided by where and how your evangelists will agree to sing your praise and the time they have. Obviously, full-time employment of the evangelist takes precedence over promoting your business. Consider this a great score if you can persuade an evangelist to work with you on an initiative (example a video testimonial) or for the duration of a personal event. Any commitment beyond that is a cherry on top.
Execute and promote your brand evangelist strategy.
- Whenever possible, your marketing team should craft a turnkey strategy that equips both the evangelist and members of your team to execute any evangelist activity with ease (keep in mind, brand evangelists are often busy executives). At the same time, don’t forget that the more visibility you can garner for your brand evangelist initiatives, the bigger the impact the strategy will have on boosting marketing ROI. Promote significant brand evangelist activities at every turn, to get the biggest bang for your buck. For example, if your evangelist will be joining you at a trade show to meet with attendees at your trade show booth or participate in a panel discussion, feature these “appearances” prominently on social media and in pre-show marketing initiatives.
Analyze the effectiveness of brand evangelist activities.
- Any marketing tactic or strategy worth pursuing should be measured for effectiveness. Conduct post-evangelist-activity surveys when possible (i.e. following a panel discussion) and include any evangelist activities in your lead management tools, so prospects can easily identify the event, video, testimonial, case study, etc., that prompted them to contact your company. Once you determine which brand evangelist strategies do or do not work for your organization fine-tune your approach. As new promotional tools, tactics and strategies become available, consider integrating those resources into your brand evangelist marketing plan.