How To Turn End Users Into Brand Advocates
Manufacturers operate in a unique space which is often seen as B2B (Business to Business) but can also be seen as B2B2C (Business to Business to Consumer). Not only do you have to maintain relationships with your dealers and distributors, but also your end users using the product including Contractors, Specifiers or anyone who is working day in and day out with the product.
End users in many ways are the backbone of the business and help drive growth. Even in a situation where a custom manufacturer is not directly selling to their end user, there are still huge opportunities to turn end users into brand advocates.
That should be the goal. How can I get people to care enough to give me their attention and time?
Equipping your end user means that you are giving them all of the tools they need to succeed using your product and doing their job.
Equipping your end user can look like:
- Dedicated Trainings and Courses: If your product requires a bit of a learning curve, be sure to have that support available on your website.
- Certificate Programs: While not applicable to everyone, a certificate program can make users feel like they are being rewarded or accomplished something. “Congratulations, you are a certified_____. You are a master of this product.”
- Blog and Video Content: In this day and age, this might be your biggest key in brand awareness. You must create content in the most up to date and creative way possible. If your brand is about useful, effective, and helps get the job done in the best way possible, make sure your marketing and created content conveys that. It’s also important to stay top of mind through content marketing.
- Relevant and Powerful Free Tools: This goes back to the heading of this section – Equip Them! If your product takes a certain level of learning, make sure they can take classes to get the most out of it. Extra tools to make their experience better is important and it also empowers the user to keep trying new things.
- Subject Matter Expertise: This seems like a given, but have trained people in place that are able to answer all inquiries to the product. Nothing is more frustrating than looking for assistance and finding none. Even if you are unable to help or solve the problem, the experience and effort in providing quality service is what saves you in the reviews. Also, if your product is claiming to be the best, then show them why you are. An expert has to be the very best.
Talk With Them
Social media has set an expectation that end users can have more and more access to the companies and brands they use on a daily basis. Engaging with end users puts a face to the brand and also carves out a path for building brand loyalty.
Here are ways to connect:
- Livestream Video Events: In the COVID era, it really is nothing to see a press conference over Zoom. It doesn’t have to be this big production. You simply go live on social media and show off new products, features, or make announcements.
- Social Media Engagement: This is the easiest thing you can do. Users or fans of your product or business will come to social media and ask questions, leave praise, complain, share pictures, etc. Do your best to keep up with and interact with every comment whether it’s positive or negative. It shows that you care about your customer and you take their feedback seriously. It tells them, “You’re part of the ____ family.”
- Contests: Who doesn’t love a good contest? Usually contests solve multiple purposes. To enter most contests you’ll have to subscribe, like, follow, share, purchase, or do something to essentially promote the product and contest to others. In turn, more and more people enter the contest. This brings a ton of valuable brand awareness and if they are having to sign up, you are now collecting their data and information to retarget them in the future.
- Interviews: Don’t be afraid to talk about your product. Try to seek out influencers or outlets that are willing to share your story. On an even more basic level, welcome questions from your followers and put together little Q & A sessions.
- Product Reviews: In the same vein as above, champion customers who leave reviews of your product. Testimonials are key aspects of determining whether or not to give your brand a chance. Again, find influencers or outlets that are willing to put your product to the test and give an honest review.
Get personal with your end user–get to know them, what they like, what they focus on and where they can be supported outside of what the product does.
This can look like a lot of things but here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Leverage your CRM: If you are properly organized all of your customer data is properly filed away on a program or spreadsheet. Use all of that data whether it be customer spending habits, location, interests, age, and on and on to build relationships with the customer.
- Personalize Email Messaging: To continue with the above example, “Hi John Smith, hope you’re finishing your school year strong, we hear the weather is heating up and it’s the perfect weather to catch a ball game.” You have completely engaged your end user like a friend would. You are having a conversation.
- Host Local Events: Using your CRM resource, try and pinpoint a location that has your biggest customer base and host an event there or do a pop up.
- Help The Community: Donate to causes that make sense to your business or again, perhaps sow into communities that really support your brand. Example: Your business sells recording software. You find a school or arts center and install your software on all their computers giving students access to create that they didn’t have before.
Stay Top Of Mind
While all of these things will help your brand stay relevant with your end user, you need to find ways to consistently stay in front of them and remain top of mind during their decision making process.
This can look like a number of things:
- Paid Ads for Brand Awareness: Social media ads are part of the game. They can be powerful tools to help push something over the edge. A smart thing to do is back original created content with social media ads to extend the reach of your video, commercial, testimonial, etc.
- Contests and Giveaways: (See above)
- Lead Magnets and Downloads: a lead magnet is essentially an exchange of information for something in return. “Input your email, to download 4 Ways Such Such Can Change Your Life.” Now, you have acquired a way to reach back out to this person and you’ve given them a taste of your services.
- Email Nurture Sequences: An email nurture sequence is how you steadily build an end user’s trust. It’s the dangled carrot that keeps them continuously creeping forward until they snatch it. The initial email that told them 4 ways the product would change their life is followed by, 5 Creative Ways to Use Such and Such, and then 5 Reasons to Buy Such and Such right now
To sum up all this information, no one can properly provide the service, care, and information about your product than you can. No other person or entity will be as dedicated and aware of your brand than you. A third party throws your product on the shelf and no one is there to answer questions. If they don’t like the product when they buy it, it’s returned and never touched again. But, if you are there from the get go, leading and guiding, troubleshooting and problem solving, you will be able to capture a lifelong customer willing to go to bat for your business.
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