To be successful, a brand must fit into the lives of customers and make that fit feel as natural as possible. As a result, customers are more likely to mention their good experiences to family and friends.
An evangelism marketing strategy looks for the best way to fit a brand into people's lives. Another, more common, name for evangelism marketing is word-of-mouth marketing.
This type of marketing exploits the potential of customers to spread the name and fame of a brand. Anytime satisfied customers share their good experiences they become 'customer evangelists'.
Another factor that attracts people is the number of brand ambassadors. Brands like Apple, Nike, and Harley Davidson have many satisfied customers who are not afraid of voicing their preferences.
This article gives tips to businesses on how to create a loyal customer base. It discusses too how to convert these loyal customers into product evangelists.
It takes some work but the benefits are endless.
What a Product Evangelist Is
A brand evangelist is more than happy with a product or a service. They are much more involved in the brand than the average customer.
They strongly believe in it and speak with enthusiasm about it to others.
They defend a business or a product on their social media. They will also often share content from their favorite label.
Usually, these brand ambassadors are private individuals that like something. Some large companies hire people to act as product evangelists to promote the brand or a product.
A famous professional product evangelist is Guy Kawasaki.
Apple hired this software evangelist to spread the company's name. Their main goal was to create followers for the Macintosh computers.
The philosophy and motivation behind evangelism marketing are that people want to improve their lives.
When they see something good, they want to help others improve their lives. People that feel that a product improved their life want to share that with others.
Product evangelists are great tools for spreading the word. Many use social media and share their experiences with others through these channels.
The reach that these individuals have makes them very interesting targets for businesses.
There is a big difference between a salesperson and an evangelist. A product evangelist acts out of interest for the other person.
Salespeople work for their own interests.
Both consumers and employees can be brand evangelists. Consumers are passionate about their experiences and how a product affects their lives.
In many cases, these consumer evangelists are among the early adopters of a brand. Often they will give testimonials about that.
Employees too can be very passionate about the things they help to make. When they speak about the product's value, they also become very effective evangelists.
Some preaching of the product gospel occurs by word of mouth. But the larger share of it occurs through the power of blogs and social media.
These outlets are becoming more and more important every day.
The Importance of Product Evangelism
One of the oldest marketing techniques, product evangelism is enjoying a revival. Evangelism is a very natural form of boosting sales.
It goes beyond making customers happy. It aims to create an inspired movement of people that want to be associated with a brand or product.
From the perspective of the company though, it is more than increasing numbers.
Brand evangelism is very powerful because of its strong influence on people. It makes customers want something and the company has to put very little effort into it.
Its power stems from the individual evangelists. It is down to their strong belief in the product and the benefits it can have for other people.
Within the company itself, brand evangelism has a strong effect as well.
Employees that feel they are working on a good product are more motivated. This leads to improved performance.
There are different kinds of brand evangelists.
Some are paid, others are not. Some have an aggressive approach, others are more laidback, and so on.
Whatever the individual characteristics are, these evangelists are valuable marketing assets. There is, however, a big difference between brand evangelism and celebrity endorsement.
Brand evangelists are everyday customers. They are part of the target audience and enjoy the product.
They do not look for marketing opportunities on purpose. They take the opportunities they have to talk about the product.
They use channels like Facebook and Twitter, or places like the subway and check-out lines.
What makes product evangelism such an effective marketing tool?
- Brand evangelism brings out everything natural and positive about marketing
- It is a personal approach. There is no acting or posing involved
- People like to follow the crowd
- It is free. True passion is not for sale
- It is contagious and exciting
- It is attractive. Evangelists are honest and authentic
- It is unstoppable
- The effect is exponential
No wonder that brand evangelism has been such an effective form of marketing.
However, there is a challenge. Brand evangelists must convince people in an unforced way.
So they must share their message in an organic and honest way.
Not every brand or product is suitable for marketing by evangelism. This could be because the quality is not good enough or because the market is full of the same products.
People will not pick up on those products and they will not get excited about them.
Also, companies cannot influence people and their conversations. For example, a person may enjoy their treatment at a nail salon very much.
That does not mean that they will talk about it with others. They may have other more important issues to talk about.
The Benefits of Product Evangelists
Product evangelists can help a business in various ways. Here are some of them:
Finding the Competitive Edge
Being competitive is very important in today's market. Finding the competitive edge is therefore vital.
That is where the brand supporters come into play. On the one hand, they promote a brand and on the other, they help to identify what elements make the brand stand out.
Knowing this will boost marketing and sales.
Employees dealing with customer complaints may find it hard to stay motivated. Dealing with problems all the time may make them feel underappreciated.
Cultivating enthusiasm for the brand causes positive energy to flow among the workers.
This applies at all organizational levels. Especially the marketing and sales teams, and contact agents.
Evangelists are big fans of the business they promote. As such, they will likely give productive and valuable feedback.
That can be the basis for improvements to a product. This specific feedback shows exactly what the company must focus on.
Evangelists Start Trends
Evangelists are often pioneers. They do not mind being different and they often love a product with a passion.
What they are endorsing may not have caught on yet but they will continue to promote it.
The way that people mention a brand is also very important, especially on social media. Brand evangelists make sure that the overall tone of those conversations is positive.
A brand ambassador can do much to influence others to speak positively about the brand as well.
Product evangelists can provide others with information and technical details about the products. But what makes them exceptional is that they inspire others with their passion.
The influence of genuine enthusiasm is a powerful tool. It is much stronger than a viral video, a successful Twitter campaign, or a long article in a magazine.
These forms of marketing do not have the same personal touch and human conviction.
Most businesses will go through some sort of crisis at some point. It is good then to have loyal supporters on your side.
Brand evangelists can help to soften or avert a big crisis. They will continue to share a positive message about the brand.
An effective evangelist is a great support in crisis management.
Strong Customer Base
A group of brand evangelists is the foundation of a strong customer base. A strong customer base, in turn, helps to establish a brand.
Thus, it’s unlikely that other customers will defect to another brand.
Different Marketing Methods
Brand evangelists will use any kind of marketing method they can. They are not limited by a Marketing department or CMO.
They have the freedom to use any channel they want. Some use Facebook, others a TED talk, a blog, a webinar, or a conference.
How to Evangelize Your Product
So far, this article has looked at the concept of brand evangelizing and its benefits. Now, the focus shifts to finding brand evangelists.
This is a specific strategy and calls for a specialized process.
Sitting and waiting for brand evangelists to present themselves does not work. It takes more than that.
Still, the cost is quite low and well worth the investment. Below is a list of the best ways to engage brand evangelists in a company.
Make Something Great
Evangelizing something meaningless is impossible and no one wants to do that. So the first step in product evangelism is to make something different and valuable.
Knowing who the mainstream customers are is another important part of evangelizing marketing. Then, target this main audience to get as many people talking about the product as possible.
Knowing the customers means understanding their demographics. It means knowing what they stand for and what is important to them in a brand.
The purpose of market research is to get a complete, honest, and open idea of how people perceive a brand.
That does not only include the positive aspects. The negative side is also important and informative.
Market research might reveal that a company offers great products but that customer service is bad. That information helps a company reinforce its strengths and correct weaknesses.
Create a Slogan
A slogan can communicate in a few words what a brand stands for. A slogan, sometimes called a mantra, is repeated often and is easy to remember.
When hearing the slogan, stakeholders will immediately think of the product or brand. So will the consumers.
For example, a slogan for an appointment scheduling application could be 'Planning Ahead'. It is short, simple, and very memorable.
It helps employees and the target audience remember the purpose of the product.
Make the Effort to Interact
Establishing an evangelist marketing strategy means connecting with customers. A good way to get other people to talk about the product is to start the dialog yourself.
These conversations in themselves are very insightful. They give feedback on the company's performance, its products, and services.
An approach that some have used with success is featuring a customer on a blog or profiling one in a case study. Others have personally thanked customers for their investment.
Sharing should be easy and accessible. Facilitate channels where people can talk about the brand or product.
This will get people engaged in sharing the good news.
Take a look at the brand’s current online presence. See if it is possible to expand opportunities for engaging brand evangelists.
Motivate Employees to Promote Evangelism
The best brand evangelists are not difficult to find. In fact, they are the ones that are closest to the company, the employees.
Engaging them as brand evangelists means motivating them to be positive when they speak with customers. When they are enthusiastic, they will pass that on to the clients.
Companies that deliver outstanding services and products have confidence in what they provide. They are therefore not afraid to let new customers try out the product or service before they pay for it.
Customers are smart and they know what they want. An overload of ads and promos has become rather ineffective in certain industries.
In areas like software and tech tools, many prefer to test a product on their own terms. They can then decide whether they want it or not.
Have Excellent Customer Service
Of all the factors on this list, the most important one is having good customer service. Bad customer service is a big deal-breaker for many.
Customers will not stay loyal to the brand if the customer service is poor, even if the product itself is good.
Assign one representative, or account manager, to a certain number of customers.
They should record all the information related to the customers under their care. This includes their current status, their purchases, and other important information.
Having a person that they know and that knows them, makes customers feel valued and important.
Listen To Customer Feedback
When customers give feedback, it is important to do something with the information.
Negative feedback is not something bad. It is an opportunity to improve and that will benefit the company.
Reward Loyal Customers
Often, customers enjoy the benefits they and their family and friends receive from a product or service. But recognition for their loyalty makes them feel special.
A loyalty program will achieve exactly that. Besides, it motivates them to spread the word.
This is a cost-effective way of reaching a larger audience.
Ignore the Disbelievers
Even with many brand supporters, there are always going to be people that are not happy with the brand. That is okay.
But investing a lot of time in trying to convert them is often not worth it.
Product evangelism is not only about selling a product. It is about promoting a brand and sharing good experiences to benefit others.
So, if a brand or product is great, it is good to show it off.
Conclusion on the benefits of having a product evangelist
The quality that makes a product evangelist so valuable is love for the product. That love results in a contagious enthusiasm for it.
Turning a happy customer into a product evangelist is the goal of every marketing specialist.
Large companies can make a lot of money, but they also become less personal and less relatable. Thus, they often rely on brand evangelists to keep connected with their customers.
Customers like businesses that are trustworthy. They will often recommend these to their family and friends.
If brand evangelists are so important and profitable, how do companies engage them?
Make the best product possible and deliver the best service. These are important first steps.
Brand evangelism is not only the result of making quality products. It comes from building strong connections between the product and the customers.
This is not always an intuitive or straightforward process. A company must work in close association with its customers.
They must make a sincere effort to understand them and their preferences.
This close relationship won’t grow if the company relies on low prices and maximum sales. It goes far beyond that.
If you enjoyed reading this article on product evangelists, you should check out this one with sales funnel examples.
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