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Evangelists Create Growth

Date - 22 September 2017/ Category - Volume 2
Volume 2

What’s an evangelist I hear you say? Well they’re like the SAS of customers, a crack team of people that get the job done & that job is growth.

I’ve seen a few people write about evangelists in the past. One of my favourite pieces of software Hubspot uses the term evangelist not only to describe a lifecycle stage in their CRM system but also on a wider basis to describe the pinnacle of customer relationships, where clients love you so much that they bring you other clients.

Great stuff. Referrals are a powerful tool in the battle against churn and the basis for the growth of many companies but referrals aren’t the only thing great about evangelists.

In fact there’s a few reasons that evangelists are the key to growth:

  1. They refer their friends
  2. They’re early adopters
  3. They socially share
  4. They’re sticky

Why are referrals great?

So we all know what referrals are. They’re when clients bring us new clients but why are they so powerful? Well as a rule of thumb referrals usually cost less than you’d have to spend to attract a new client in an open market.

In a world where the cost of gaining clients goes up with the volume you want to attract then having referrals helps to balance out the ever rising cost of growth.

There’s lots you can do with referrals too. For example you can link your referral scheme to rewards, rewards that not only incentivise client to buy more with you anyway but also to refer again. This means as an ideal you pay for one client via open marketing and that client brings you another client, which brings you another and so on.

In effect you’ve created a never ending cycle of growth. All you need to do to keep this going is make sure your clients are evangelists through getting the service spot on and the odd incentive.

Why do I need early adopters?

I’ve talked before about how getting better comes via promoting creativity and creativity often comes from small groups solving problems without the issue of departmental barriers. Well there’s one problem with this, often the problem is a product and launching a new one means being prepared to make mistakes and quickly roll out improvements.

The problem with testing products in a live market is that this will turn off some people, especially first time users because they will take that one interaction with your company as a sign of how the relationship will work for ever.

That’s where evangelists come in. Evangelists are clients who love you so much they want to see you succeed (that’s why they refer!). Think of them as your best friends, and if you went to your best friend and said look; I’m going to try out a new product and I want you to secretly test it. You’ll get our latest products before anyone else, but all you have to do is tell us what good and what’s bad.

It’s as easy as that, of course your friend would say yes, and now you have a ready supply of willing live testers that means you can try out new things without harming the majority of your client base.

Social sharing is easy right?

No. It’s really not. How many rubbish facebook pages have you seen where the company writes some utter drivel on the page for no apparent reason other than “their friend told them to have a facebook page”.

Sadly people miss the point of social media. Social media is meant to be useful at the point of consumption. That means it has to be relevant to the people reading it and you need to know why people are going on your case (or if they even will).

The uses of social media sites vary, some people might look you up on facebook to find your opening times (in which case having offers would be a good shout) where as other might want to see reviews (especially if you’re a bespoke purchase).

Alternatively you might be one of those “boring” companies that doesn’t get looked up at all (think lawyers etc) in which case you might use your social media accounts to build brand awareness via paid sharing.

Yes that’s right, if you’re 99% of the businesses out there and you want people to see your social media account then sadly you’re going to have to pay for it (unless you have evangelists that is).

Evangelists love you, and as you already know they want to bring you new customers and help you develop new products but that’s not all. They also want to share your content.

You’ve seen an evangelist in action before without knowing it. Think of the make-up and diet shakes people you see all the time sharing things; that’s an evangelist in action! It’s powerful stuff.

How likely are you to click on a facebook advert? How likely are you to click on a post your friend just shared? The answer is you’re much more likely to click on anything your friend just shared and that means your evangelists are powerful social marketing tools, all you need to do is equip them with a reason (incentives) and a post to share.

Do I want sticky customers?

Every customer needs to be sticky. The stickier the better. What am I talking about? Don’t worry I’ve not gone mad, it’s a metaphor.

So you have one customer and they bring you a referral. Great stuff. But what if they then leave? That’s not growth.

If you want to grow then you’re going to have to keep all the customers you already have (or atleast reduce to a minimum the ones that leave).

The trick here is to remember that retaining customers is just like getting customers in the first place, sometimes it will cost you money but on average it’s cheaper to keep a customer than it is to get a new one.

You’re never going to convert all your customers into evangelists and some will act completely irrationally and leave no matter how great you are but if you can cultivate a rich seam of evangelists throughout your customer base then the foundations for your business are going to be solid meaning that all important growth figure is going to be easier to achieve.