Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rethink Your Approach to Customer Testimonials: Mobilize Your Advocates

This was a post I originally created for Kapost's Content Marketeer Blog.

“I’m too busy.”
“I’m travelling."
“It’s end of quarter.”
“I never got your email.”

How many excuses like these have you seen when you’re asking your customers for a testimonial? How many letters, emails, calls, texts, tweets etc… do you normally have to send before you hear back from your customers? It’s been proven that B2B buyers see their peers as the most trusted source of information so you need to get these customer quotes but why does it have to be so difficult? Until you change your approach, this cycle will continue.

Photo credit: megawatts86
You need to stop treating your customers like they are an ATM of testimonials that you can always bank on.

You know that’s not sustainable. Let’s take the example of a farm. Farmers can’t just magically harvest their crops season after season. They need to plant the seeds correctly, nurture their crops, and practice proper crop rotation to avoid destroying the land. This same concept applies to how you interact with your best customers to get the customer testimonials that you need.

Advocate Marketing: Mobilizing Your Biggest Supporters 

The first thing you need to do is to identify which of your customers are your biggest supporters – these are your advocates. Search through various social media channels and take note of which of your customers have positive things to say about you. If you run a feedback or NPS survey, collect the names that provide positive feedback. Ask your customer-facing teams who your happy customers are. Now you are on the right track. You then need to mobilize and motivate these advocates. Start off by focusing your advocates on small missions that will help spread the word of your brand. For example, you can ask them to follow you on Twitter, comment on a blog post, or respond to a discussion on LinkedIn. Next, seek out their feedback and learn more about them. Consider asking advocates these questions:

  • What is something they accomplished with your product this week?
  • What new features would they like to see?
  • What are their interests and how would they like to be recognized?

  • This is part of cultivating the relationship with your advocates that is similar to the example of following proper farming techniques. Many of your customers are looking to be acknowledged or would like a spotlight to talk about what they love about your product or service. You need to create these opportunities to properly harness the power of your biggest supporters.

    This means that you will need to invest some time in planning out your advocate marketing strategy. By creating this interactive, two-way conversation with your advocates, you are creating real, reciprocal relationships that result in customer BFFs (Best Fans for Life). This process will also generate a larger pool of potential customers that you can seek testimonials from. You are now creating an extended marketing arm that will gladly speak on your behalf as well as provide references and case studies when needed. Stop the excuses and start mobilizing and nurturing your advocates today. Your customers and your company will thank you for it. 

    Chad H.

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