While they may not paint their faces, wear your colors, or scream your name loudly on Sunday afternoons, the super fans of any business are a huge asset. They love what you do, and their gusto for your business are a part of how they identify and define themselves.
It’s always so complimentary to be liked that passionately, but super fans are more important for your company than just providing affirmation and reassurance that you’re doing great work. Super fans can be one of your best marketing tools: they act as genuine and organic ambassadors, spreading the gospel of your company and your brand to all of their friends.
They provide the positive word of mouth (and often social media) advertising that every business needs to thrive and grow.
Having a dedicated army of super fans is hugely beneficial, but building up that army takes finesse. Your customers need to arrive at their high level of passion for your business organically and on their own; you really can’t recruit super fans or hire them.
However, there are a number of things you and your business can do to cultivate super fans. Here are five tips.
1. Say yes. If a customer has a request — for anything — and it’s feasible for you to say yes, then you should say yes. This establishes your company as one that is willing to go above and beyond for your customers. It shows that you value people over procedure and relationships over rules. Being accommodating creates good feelings, and the positivity that comes from interactions with customers can spark the transition from fan to superfan.
2. Interact with your fans in a positive and gracious way. Just like saying yes, paying attention to customer feedback and responding to it in a warm and timely manner can make your fans feel like you’re really paying attention them. Should you receive any complaints, address them swiftly and professionally, and do what you can do eliminate their frustration and earn their trust. Positive communication helps customers feel like they are truly valued.
Related by Mark Jenney: 10 Habits and Behaviors that Lead to Success
3. Be a great resource. And more than that, offer something of value without charging for it. If your customers (or potential customers) have a question, be there to answer it for them. If you’re a trusted source of good and helpful information, customers will keep coming back. For example, RVShare is a company that’s just a few years old, but it already has one of the top RV blogs on the web. They’ve become known as a source of valuable RV information, and as a result the company has grown: they’re the number one peer-to-peer RV rental platform in the world.
4. Show your customers what’s in it for them. You put your all into your marketing efforts, but they predominantly benefit your own bottom line. It’s important to show your customers how much they can benefit from what you provide. RVShare , for example, facilitates RV rentals between owners and would-be renters. On their main webpage, there’s a large graphic showing RV owners how much money they can make by just renting their vehicle — and the numbers are impressive. Similarly, for RV renters, there’s a section that shows how they can benefit by using the website: roadside assistance, high-end security, and a rewards program.
5. Keep your fans close and your super fans closer. Once you’ve got customers who have reached the level of superfan, you want them to stay there. Offering things like special promotions, privileged news, special content, or even access to VIP events can all make your best customers feel valued. By giving some sort of reward for their high level of engagement with your brand, you’re more likely to keep your super fans sharing the good word about your business.
Cultivating super fans is all about building relationships, staying in touch, and showing you care. It takes a fair amount of effort, for sure, but it’s a worthwhile investment. The positive word of mouth advertising and enthusiastic recommendations that super fans provide for you is invaluable.
If I had to start over from scratch with no money and no connections
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