Hello beautiful people!
Let’s get pumped, let’s get wild… because the next chapter in the groundswell is all about energizing! So, before we start, let’s get pumped up!!!!
Great!! Now that we’re all ‘energized’, we can now talk about what it really means. Energizing the groundswell means tapping into the power of word of mouth by connecting with, and turning on, your most committed customers. It really focuses on using word of mouth (WoM) techniques to spread the benefits of a certain brand, without any cost to the company. It’s essentially a free marketing tool, and businesses love it. Word of mouth is considered such a powerful because it allows brand marketing to be amplified which creates results that cannot be seen by any media campaign.
The reason WoM is so successful is because:
- It’s believable – Reviews and praise from real customers is much more credible than anything media sources may say.
- It’s self-reinforcing – The more people you hear it from, the truer it probably is.
- It’s self-spreading – “If a product is worth using, its word of mouth generates more word of mouth in a cascade that’s literally exponential” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 130).
Word of mouth is truly “…the most honest form of marketing, building upon people’s natural desire to share their experiences with family, friends, and colleagues” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 131).
This can’t be faked, but it can certainly be encouraged. This is why Li & Bernoff provides the following three techniques for energizing your committed enthusiasts:
- Tap into customers’ enthusiasm with ratings and reviews. This technique is essential for retail companies and others with direct contact with customers. For example, I am an avid makeup lover, so when it comes to looking for new items to add to my ever-growing collection, I usually look to the reviews for some insight before purchasing. Currently, I am intrigued with the idea of serums for helping to hydrate my combination skin. So, being curious, and seeing the following product on many of the beauty tutorials, I decided to look it up.
As you can see, there are pretty mixed reviews, some that love the product, others not so much. The overall rating on the item seems pretty great as it is a 4.3 out of 5, so it makes me seriously consider making the purchase. (If anyone reading has some suggestions or thinks I should invest, PLEASE COMMENT AND TELL ME TO!!!)
- Create a community to energize your customers. The next technique involves using a community to gather all your passionate customers together to talk about your product. Through this, consumers can directly help other consumers, the company can keep track and help customer needs in a more direct and up-to-date manner, and will help energize customers better. For example, the textbook refers to Constant Contact, which is an email marketing company that works with small businesses to help them stay in touch with their customers. To help their customers further, they created the “ConnectUp!” community to allow their customers to answer each other’s questions, encourage new sign-ups to stick with it, and to generate referrals.
- Participate in and energize online communities of your brand enthusiasts. Referring to Sephora again, the company can use other sites or forums to energize their brand enthusiasts. For example, the Web site Makeup Talk, is a community where customers can go to talk about their questions or concerns, gain advice from other users, and provide information for others. Sephora managers/marketers can get involved and help to provide insight and information for the users who may have questions. This allows you to create a better relationship with your customers, and give them the motivation and drive to use their word of mouth to spread your brand even further.
So, do you think you are ready to energize your customers? If the answer is yes, then the authors provide five steps to actually apply the techniques talked about above.
- Figure out if you WANT to energize the groundswell. “Energizing works well for companies with customers who are, or could be, enthusiastic about the company and its products. It’s not for everybody” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 148).
- Check the social technographics profile of your customers. As I talk about in every blog I post, researching your target market is so important. “You need to research to determine how actively and in what numbers you customers are participating in the groundswell” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 148).
- Ask yourself, “what is my customer’s problem?” Remember, communities don’t form around your products. This means you need to figure out the real reason why communities form, and utilize this when it comes to energizing your customers.
- Pick a strategy that fits your customers’ social technographics profile and problem. “For retailers and other direct sellers, ratings and reviews make sense and have a proven payoff. If there are a lot of Critics among you customers, this is a great place to start. For other companies, communities make sense. But check first” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 149).
- Don’t start unless you can stick around for the long haul. Like Li & Bernoff (2011) state, “A community is like a marriage; it requires constant adjustment to grow and become more rewarding. And if you’re not in it for the long haul, well, maybe you should think about the ugly endings you’ve seen to marriages that lacked that long-term effort” (p. 149).
Cheers until next time my lovelies,
Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell expanded and revised: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.