When it comes to marketing your business, a new reality is taking place behind the scenes that is becoming clearer everyday: customer engagement is becoming the new marketing.
Podcast #26 discusses why this is becoming so important for the future growth of your business and four reasons why it’s happening.
Most important, what you can do to stay on top of your customers needs and engage them for future referrals and upselling.
We discuss this as part of our three-part strategy for small business growth.
You can learn more about our strategy and request a free consultation!
You can listen to all of our strictly audio podcasts here.
Now, enjoy the video podcast!
Marketing Your Company; 4 Reasons Why Customer Engagement Is The New Marketing. Podcast #26
Host: John D. Verlin
Good afternoon, John Verlin with you, On Demand Advertising Solutions, with another Digital Marketing Update, podcast #26.
How well do you know your customer? Well, customer engagement is the new marketing. That’s what I’m going to talk about today.
And, Sajun Patel had an article or post in July of Inc. I ran across this last week because I was trying to put my notes together doing prep for this podcast as I mentioned last week. He had this post and I think it’s great. You might want to check it out.
He talks about four things of how customer engagement is becoming the new marketing. It’s really what I’ve been saying and trying to say over the last several months since I started this business.
The first thing he points out is to understand how customers are driving revenue. They’re not only driving current revenue but they’re the key to driving future revenue. I’ve talked the last few weeks about getting referrals.
And that’s part of it, they offer up referrals to you to continue to drive revenue in sales and they may themselves continue to buy from you, as well as recommend people.
He says that, the first point is that various changes in business models and trends have shifted alternately shifted power from the seller, you to the buyer, your customer. In general, less commitment is required on the part of the customer.
It’s easier and cheaper than ever before to leave and seek alternate solutions when value isn’t being delivered. And because of this, great customer experience can become a prominent competitive differentiator . Boy, that is an excellent way of saying it.
It’s because of this shift I’ve been talking about to more online experiences, where people can read reviews, comments, whatever, changes things for all of us as business owners in how we treat the customer.
And he talks about that great customer experience. Michael Fallon who is the director of Customer Success at PTC says that “customers have a voice and choice with the power to remain or take their business elsewhere, and to tell others about why they decided to do so.”
Wow, we didn’t have this before. Now you did, but it was word of mouth. But it’s now that times ten because of the social media platforms. And the fact that people are using these so often to state their feelings—particularly if they’ve had a bad experience.
Maybe they go online to Facebook or somewhere else and start spewing forth whatever. So he talks about “happy customers” go under utilized as an asset when it comes to driving acquisitions and increase sales.
He calls them customer advocates that can go online to write reviews, referring prospects, acting as references, driving event registration, giving product feedback, writing testimonials, increasing social shares, engagement with your content and even creating content. He says the possibilities are endless and depend largely on company use and strategies.
That’s another good way of summarizing the value of the customer, of all the things they can do for you if you ask them to. Customer testimonials, you can’t beat that. They’re great. That’s one reason we suggest in content, in podcasts or video or whatever you use, to increase or encourage some of your best customers to be involved
Tell them you’d like to feature them you’d like a testimonial and you’d like to interview them in a podcast. To talk about not only your business but their business. How your business might be helping their business. Or how they use your product or services.
The benefits they get and they’ll be thrilled. Tell them you’re going to put them in the podcast and record them. And they’re going to want a copy of that and send it to everybody they know.
And you just multiplied the potential people exposed to it. That’s why we like podcasts so well as well as written content, even though it’s transcribed as written content. Because people are excited about it and they want to send it out to everybody they know.
Now advocacy he talks about is a proactive process. Relationships must be formed and nutured before customers can be mobilized as spokespersons.
And it all comes back to, who’s going to own that customer experience? He talks about within an organization. Is it sales or marketing? Who’s going to manage that. You’ve got to decide that. But really, as I’ve talked about before, the customer experience starts probably before you even know it.
They’re probably going online checking you out. Reading reviews about you, what people have said. And that’s why I emphasize so much, particularly for small business to get involved with social media. Get online. Get your message out there. Do it not only with daily posts on Twitter, on Instagram, Facebook—but with content on a blog. Like these podcasts.
Why? Because it’s accessible content for people who are checking you out. And they’re getting to know you. You’re listening to this getting to know me. And I don’t even know you’re probably listening. But on down the road you might contact me and say, Oh, yea—I’ve been listening to your podcasts…I like podcast 23, etc.”
That’s why these are important. It’s pre-selling yourself, your brand in various platforms, in various ways before they even do business with you.
This is again, becoming more and more important. Who’s going to own that experience? You can be proactive in starting that. And it must be, he says—continuous selling, you have to constantly be doing it.
Now, fostering this continuous selling, you have to incentivize a sales team to be involved and stay involved by basing part of their compensation on advocacy customers as measured by references they give, referrals, case studies, testimonials, in other words, incentivize your sales team to get that information from these people and then compensate them for it.
So you don’t drop the customer and they leave. You forget about them. So all of this is part of the selling process.
He talks about this, surrounding customer success in advocacy need to shift in identifying nuturing advocacy must become as much of a priority as upselling and renewing.
And the real key here is, he says that customers represent something very real that you can lose. Because they’ve used your product and formed an opinion. Think about that. That’s going to get referrals because they’ve formed an opinion.
And that’s why this continuous selling, this continous communication with them not only might upsell them down the road, it’s going to keep that opinion high.
If it ever changes, and they let you know about it, you can answer them right away. Because you’re engaged with them. And again, this is why customer engagement is the new marketing.
Because you’re consistently out there with them and you don’t forget them.
Now, next question he asks is, do you really know your customer? Confusion he says surrounding ownership is a recipe for customer neglect. Especially as you begin to add marketing automation and technology into the mix. That’s why it’s important to decided who’s going to manage the account so to speak.
Now he says that the problem with technology is that you can remove that humanity from engagement.
But you can use technology to do messaging, emails, videos, social or other mediums. You can collect more personal customer data. Create relavant nuture campaigns based on customer interests, product usages and community building and networking. That’s how you can use technology.
As I mentioned earlier, monthly emails, a newsletter, an occassional survey sent to an email to keep monitoring what your customer needs are.
But it’s understanding that they are human and not a number. You’re using technology to keep them front and center.
So they feel like you’re their friend. And again, I keep coming back to these podcasts, one reason I like them is that they can listen to them at any time and feel like they know you.
This is the magic of repetition of an audio format. You can watch videos about them, but these are easier to engage. They can listen on a smartphone. Sit back and listen and have a cup of tea.
But they feel like they know you. This is all a part of that selling experience of the customer getting to know you and wanting to do business with you.
He points out that when customers make purchases from you, they do it to solve a problem. The value you offer in your solution will be unique to each of those customers. And to make it intregal that you understand each individual need.
Fallon says that “tomorrows leaders in customer engagement will be the ones who truly lead with knowing the customer and their outcomes in a very detailed level.”
It’s really, getting back to talk about customer surveys. It’s asking them what their needs are. And learning basically, a lot of times we have a group we send emails to. Sooner or later, they’re going to get burned out with our communications.
It’s consistently I would say having a methodical plan to stay in front of them. Whether its a survey, understanding the cost per customer, the cost to keep a customer, the lifetime value…total active users.
All of these metrics of understanding the value of the customer, but then keeping that customer. That’s why I keep saying it’s so critical to stay in front of them.
So basically customer relationships are an incredible way to drive revenue, it’s just knowing where to start.
And that’s why we recommend starting immediately on social media and getting podcasts and content on your blog to start a process with people who you invite in to to read your blog or listen to your podcast or whatever that is.
It’s you taking that step to move forward with your brand by engaging prospects that eventually become customers.
Would love to hear from you. We’ll talk to you next week and have a great day!
All podcasts are recorded by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas
Copyright, John D. Verlin 2017