Brand loyalty ·
Creating and Utilizing Brand Evangelists
In an era where authenticity and personal recommendations reign supreme, no marketing strategy is complete without a plan to cultivate brand evangelists. These passionate customers offer an organic, credible way to expand your brand's influence and reach potential customers, outshining even the most elaborate marketing campaigns.
What is a Brand Evangelist?
A brand evangelist is not just a loyal customer, but a raving fan who passionately recommends your brand to others. Their evangelism is fueled by a deep-seated loyalty and satisfaction with your product or service. They share their love for your brand with friends, family, and their social media presence, functioning as voluntary ambassadors who help to amplify your brand's reach.
Evangelist marketing is a powerful form of marketing centered around customers who are so delighted and passionate about your product or service that they voluntarily promote it to others. These customers, often referred to as brand evangelists, become an extension of your marketing efforts, spreading the word about your brand through their networks, usually via word-of-mouth or social media.
Brand evangelists can be existing customers, industry influencers, or even employees who genuinely love your brand and what it represents. They don't just recommend a product; they passionately endorse the brand and fervently believe in its values. This strong emotional connection makes their recommendations more authentic and trustworthy, leading to greater influence over potential customers.
Given that people trust recommendations from friends and family much more than traditional advertising, evangelist marketing can be incredibly effective. Brands that successfully cultivate and leverage their brand evangelists can witness significant growth, from increasing brand awareness to improving customer acquisition and retention rates.
Check out the section below on how you can utilize brand evangelists to power up your marketing.
How & Why are Brand Evangelists So Valuable? The Facts
Amplify Word of Mouth
Brand evangelists are the driving force behind word-of-mouth marketing, which 83% of consumers trust more than advertising.
Increase Customer Acquisition
Customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate, making brand evangelists instrumental in fostering long-term customer loyalty.
People trust recommendations from friends and family, and this trust translates into sales. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends.
Strengthen Brand Authenticity
Brand evangelists share their genuine experiences with your product or service, enhancing your brand's authenticity—a critical factor in winning customers' trust in today's market.
How to Create Brand Evangelists
Offer Exceptional Customer Service
Exemplary customer service is a surefire way to foster brand evangelists. Zappos, for instance, has won over countless brand evangelists with its renowned customer service. The company has gone so far as to deliver flowers to a customer who experienced a death in the family, proving their commitment to treating customers like family.
Create High-Quality Products or Services
Quality products breed loyal customers, and Apple is a shining example of this. The company has cultivated a global community of brand evangelists, thanks to its consistently high-quality products. This has resulted in Apple having a customer retention rate of over 90%.
Foster an Engaging Social Media Presence
An engaging social media presence can turn customers into evangelists, and Wendy's has mastered this art. Their Twitter account is infamous for its witty and sarcastic comments, making it a hit among followers. This unique engagement approach has helped them amass over 3.8 million Twitter followers.
Implement a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs can effectively incentivize customers to become evangelists. Sephora's Beauty Insider program is an example of a loyalty program done right. It offers members exclusive rewards, free samples, and the chance to attend beauty classes, resulting in a strong community of brand evangelists.
Promote a Cause
Patagonia, an outdoor clothing brand, has established a loyal following by standing for environmental causes. By donating 1% of its total sales to environmental organizations, it appeals to like-minded customers, creating passionate brand evangelists.
How to Use Brand Evangelists & Ambassadors
Sharing User-Generated Content
Sharing user-generated content (UGC) can affirm your brand evangelists' loyalty and engage potential customers. GoPro excels at this by encouraging customers to share their footage captured using their cameras. The GoPro Awards, where users can submit their footage for a chance to win up to $5,000, not only incentivizes users to share their UGC but also helps GoPro showcase their product capabilities.
Featuring Testimonials and Reviews
Testimonials and reviews from brand evangelists can effectively convince potential customers of your product's quality. Amazon has successfully leveraged this strategy, making customer reviews a central part of its product pages. This strategy has been so successful that over 55% of shoppers start their online shopping searches on Amazon.
Creating a Referral Program
A referral program can be an excellent way to incentivize your brand evangelists to bring in new customers. Dropbox's referral program, which rewarded users with additional storage for each referral, helped the company's user base grow from 100,000 to 4 million in just 15 months.
Collaborating on New Products or Features
Involving brand evangelists in the product development process can solidify their commitment to your brand. LEGO Ideas does this by allowing fans to submit their own LEGO set ideas, and the designs that receive enough support are considered for production. This approach has not only led to successful product launches, but also fostered a vibrant community of LEGO evangelists.
Leverage for Local Events
Local events provide an opportunity to engage your brand evangelists on a more personal level. Meetup events, for example, enable brand evangelists to connect with one another and share their enthusiasm for a brand. Apple's Today at Apple sessions are a great example. These sessions offer classes and workshops at Apple stores around the world, creating an avenue for Apple evangelists to engage with the brand and each other.
Brand evangelists are more than just customers—they're your brand's most valuable advocates. By providing exceptional customer experiences and recognizing their efforts, you can convert your loyal customers into brand evangelists, helping to propel your brand's growth in an authentic and cost-effective way.