These days, building a startup is no difficult task. The tough part is to gain sustainable traction, which means reaching out to the target audience. Many good products also fail because of their inability to take the product to the market and thereby their target users.
Most product makers today concentrate only on acquiring new customers and seldom think of ways to engage with existing users.
Entrepreneurs want viral effects, but few know or care to create viral loops for their products.
So who are your brand advocates? They are those who are actively using your product, spreading the word and thus creating effective viral loops. Your existing users have the best capacity to bring on board new users.
In this article I discuss five brilliant strategies used by companies to make their existing customers their best marketing channel.
1. Reward referrals
Make it worthwhile for existing users to recommend your product to others. Dropbox is one company that used referrals to increase their sign-ups by a whopping 60%. The motivation for users? When you refer Dropbox to someone and the person signs up, both get free 500 MB space. The winning strategy here is to find out the right incentive to make users spread the word about your service or product.
2. Incentivise the users to share on social media
Rather than palely asking your existing users for liking your page or following you on social channels, give them a reason to do so. Dropbox came up with a campaign where existing users gain 125 MB free space just for sharing information about their services on Facebook and Twitter.
3. Tap into users' vanity
A little bit of psychology can go a long way. Nike+ is a running app that tracks the number of kilometres a user runs every day. The app allows users to share this with their friends on social networks. Users love to share this data with their network because it makes them look good. It is also instant publicity for Nike. Imagine how much publicity your product would get when its wonders are posted as a Facebook status!
4. Share compelling content through emails
Share unique content with your users exclusively through email. Make a landing page for your product asking the users to sign-up or share their email id in exchange for premium content in the form of a free e-book or whitepaper of exclusive industry insights or tips and tricks that are not available on the internet.
Copyblogger asks users for their emails in exchange of e-books. Another advantage of this is that you offer valuable content that establishes your thought leadership in a particular niche and convinces the users to buy your products.
Offer content that is so useful that the users are compelled to share it with their network and peers.
5. Exceptional customer service
Every company wants to offer superior customer service, but very few understand the seriousness and significance of it or know how to do it in the right way. According to HelpScout, it takes 12 good experiences to make up for one bad experience. Incidentally, 80% of companies think they offer outstanding customer service, while only 8% of users agree with them!
The best way to connect with your customers on a superior emotional level is by offering excellent customer service. An example of an excellent customer support ethos is evident at Buffer, a social media scheduling app.
Happy customers are the best spreaders of word and make sure you leave no stones unturned in earning their loyalty.