A startup's success is built around their most loyal customers. Without them, you can't market well, you can't sell merchandise, and, most importantly, you can't grow. If they’ve been following your brand since day one, you need to make sure you are taking care of the properly.
We asked six entrepreneurs about what the smartest way companies can further engage their most avid brand advocates. Here are their responses:
Send Snail Mail
If you have access to your brand advocate's physical address, sending them a thoughtful note thanking them for their support will go a long way. Postal mail for your top brand advocates isn't that expensive. Tweets, emails and tags are too common and easily forgotten, but they'll appreciate the thrill of receiving a personal, handwritten note from you.
– Dave Nevogt of Hubstaff
Represent a Lifestyle, Not Just Products
The most successful brands know how to turn products into symbols for a certain type of lifestyle or set of values. This might make people feel more sophisticated, hip, athletic or smart. It's a way to encourage brand advocates to spread the word about your company. Creating more accessories and ways for customers to represent the brand makes them feel like they are part of a lifestyle.
– Shawn Porat of JudgmentMarketplace.com
Display and Amplify
Once you’ve found your best advocates (using social listening tools and new solutions like Affin.io), be sure to have the right online tools to engage with them including HootSuite, Buffer and others. Then, share and display their best content on your social feeds and other relevant third party sites and also continue to engage in the conversation with them through social media and blogging.
– Arjuan Dev Arora of 500 Startups
Use Systematic, Personalized Touchpoints
Most of our new business comes from referrals. To keep this machine running smoothly and predictably, we leverage tools like FollowupCC to send email reminders to our team to reach out to our biggest advocates to schedule lunch, send a relevant article or provide a referral. Showing our fans that we care about them makes them feel important and reinforces their brand advocacy.
– Derek Webet of GoBrandGo
Send Them Free Stuff
Provide the brand advocates with custom, cost-efficient items such as shirts or pens for free. Not only does this gain their loyalty — who doesn't appreciate free stuff — and visibly market your company, but it also displays appreciation for brand advocates and encourages further promotion on their part.
– Vik Tantry of FormSwift
Send a Gift When They Least Expect It
Send your brand advocates a memorable gift when they least expect it. If you send your gift or thank-you during the busy holiday season or for their birthday, it will get lost in the crowd. By picking a day that is not in line with those standard trends, your gift will have a more lasting impact. It will give them something to talk about and increase their loyalty towards your brand.
– Diana Goodwin of AquaMobile
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC members generate billions of dollars in revenue and have created tens of thousands of jobs.