Do you have customers that can’t praise you enough? That come to your defense in discussion forums, Twitter streams, and Google+ posts? Do you have “superfans” that share your posts, promote you whenever possible, and actively seek to make your product or service better?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” then you have a brand evangelist (hopefully several). Generally speaking, a customer who is already singing your praises doesn’t need discounts or free perks, nor should they expect them. But in what other ways can you reward your most loyal fans? By showing them you care about them as an individual (or brand), not just as a customer. Here are eight ideas:
1. Share their stuff
Subscribe to their newsletter or put them in one of your listening feeds (Google+ circle, Twitter list, RSS, etc.). When they publish something exceptional, help them promote it. Push it out to your audience with a mention, leave a comment, or even include it in a weekly round-up email.
2. Give them a shout-out
Chances are the two of you are following some of the same people. Maybe you see this person share an article that you were going to share yourself later. If so, give them a little shout out with a “hat tip” (h/t) or “shout-out” in your own post.
3. Tap into their expertise
Blog content can take different shapes, and if you have a power-user on your hands, doing an interview with them is a fantastic way to show your appreciation for their expertise. If they are doing something unique with your product, have them tell you about it in an interview-style blog post.
4. Make their voice heard
Adding your brand evangelists to your social listening streams, and giving anything that they say high priority, will ensure you respond quickly to their requests (and praises).
5. Get to know them
Have one of your business development managers schedule periodic (monthly?) phone calls to discuss your product, ideas, critiques, and upcoming features. Talk about making someone feel like they’re on the inside! You also gain extremely valuable insight into the minds of the people who are getting the most out of your product.
6. Hook them up
Extend pre-release invitations, beta access, or sneak previews of your upcoming whitepaper. If you happen to be local, invite them to a company social to meet the team. Again, the deeper you forge these ties, the more value this relationship brings to everybody.
7. Hook their friends up
Allow them to extend some internal discount or promotional considerations to prospective clients. Sometimes a brand evangelist will identify an opportunity for someone to try your service, and all it takes to get that person off the fence is a free trial. You could also work it out such that if your customer brings you into a prospective conversation, you are the one to extend the offer, so it sounds more legitimate to the prospect.
As you learn more about your best customers, try to send them business too!
Every one of these ideas is easy to implement, and will result in extremely deep ties with your most loyal customers. Go try one today!