There’s no clear-cut formula to motivate customers. This is one of the trickier questions that every business must ask: What does your audience actually want?
For every business, motivation tactics may differ. At minimum, we do know customers appreciate the following:
We live in a time where, despite the fact an individual can hide behind an anonymous Internet name, customers want transparency from brands. They want to know there are real people behind the brand and that should anything happen during the purchasing process, they will actually be able to reach a real person.
Transparency is so important that according to the 2014 B2B Web Usability Report, if a site doesn’t have contact information on it, 79 per cent of people will leave.
Great Customer Service
We don’t want to talk to a robot. We don’t want to wait on hold. We want a response online within five minutes. Consumers today want a positive customer service experience, and it’s up to brands to deliver that. If excellent service is lacking, people will go elsewhere. However a company decides to motivate its customers and get them talking is up to each individual company. But remember to tailor your game plan to your audience, your culture, and of course, your brand.
Want to be the company that sends random pizzas or the company that gives lifetime discounts for grilled cheese tattoos? Go for it. Just keep in mind these methods of motivation are how people will remember you and, more importantly, how they will talk about you. Motivating customers isn’t just about giving something away. It’s about making them feel exceptional and making them want to share their story. The next step: strategy.
How to Get People Talking
Word of mouth, like any other form of marketing, requires strategy. Rather than throw a few ideas into the wild and hope people start talking, consider the following tips.
Just three per cent of customers drive 90 per cent of social engagement. Three per cent! While it’s a trivial number, it’s incredibly significant. It means that in reality, there’s a pretty small group of people who will help build your brand for you, saving you time and money. When creating your strategy, start by targeting that three per cent. They are likely the people already invested in your business and perhaps your success.
Along with customers, think about employees. The success of both of these segments is directly tied to yours. What about the brand advocates? And loyal customers who simply love your company? Devise a plan to keep them talking.
Also, don’t forget the press. Look at who has written stories about you or who has mentioned you in blogs or news articles. Consider ways to keep them interested in the company.
We know we want to start by targeting the people already talking. The key is finding them. If you’re a small business, start by setting up alerts for your brand name, product name, and perhaps for members of your executive team. You can also utilize a free tool like Mention, which also sends alerts. Next, set up searches in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to monitor Twitter and Facebook mentions.
Want to go a little deeper? Social monitoring tools like Radian6 will actually monitor your brand for you, scouring the web for brand mentions, product mentions, keyword mentions, and much more. Once you have identified the people talking about you, it’s time to create a list and mark your top targets.
3. Identify Influencers
Sometimes when we think about influencers, we imagine the people with the most connections or the biggest soapbox. However, when it comes to marketing and word of mouth, we don’t want people who just talk to the masses. We want people who speak to our audience.
For example, a company that markets to tech start-ups should identify people who are influential with the tech-startup crowd. Having someone in the farming business spreading the gospel about the tech world probably won’t help drive sales.
When trying to identify influencers, tools such as Klout, Followerwonk and BuzzSumo can be invaluable. Each tool has its own use, but each offers the ability to identify influencers by topic and/or identify the influence of a specific person.
Once an initial list of influencers is set, plug them into these tools to identify who you want to target first. Create priorities, timelines, and an outreach approach, which may vary from person to person.
Organization is really the key to success for most aspects of marketing. The better grasp we have on the strategy in general, the better we are able to adapt and, of course, measure results.
Take advantage of your CRM system. Keep track of who you’ve reached out to, who’s responded, what the responses have been, who hasn’t responded, and so on and so forth. This can help determine if you are in fact motivating your customers to share.
This is an on-going process. You always want your customers and other brand advocates to keep sharing and referring you to others. This is how a brand will grow and this is how a business will grow. That doesn’t meant you have to keep the same strategy, but you should always be thinking about what you can do to keep the momentum going.
How to Encourage People to Talk About Your Brand
Consider ways to keep people interested. Focus on:
- The small number of customers already invested in your business
- The press
- Set up alerts for:
- Your brand name
- Your product name
- Members of your team
- Use social monitoring tools to scour the web for:
- Brand mentions
- Product mentions
- Keyword mentions, and much more
- Create a list and mark your top targets
3. Identify Influencers
- Find the people who speak to your specific audience
- Use influencer search tools such as:
- Create priorities, timelines, and an outreach approach, which may vary from person to person
- Take advantage of your CRM system
- Keep track of:
- Who you’ve reached out to
- Who has responded
- What the responses have been
- Who hasn’t responded
- This is an on-going process
- Assess your strategy and reformulate to keep the momentum going