Don’t Compete For Customers: Let Your Customers Do Your Competing For You

Marketing is expensive.

In addition to hiring the right people to build and promote your brand message, you need to pay for all the data analytics tools and PPC campaigns – and that’s not to mention any offline efforts. From leaflets to business cards to radio ads and magazine coverage. But it’s all worth it to generate the leads that lead to sales that lead to life-time customers.

Marketing is a necessary means to an essential end: customers.

More customers generate more revenue, which makes you more competitive. As you move up the ranks in your market place, you obtain new, larger competitors whose businesses and brands are more established. They have been around for longer than you but that’s no reason that you can’t pose a threat to the established order.

How do you do this?

Simple: obtain a larger share of the market.

One way to do this is to increase your marketing budgets. After all, you’re in the big leagues now. Consider branching out into new mediums and targeting wider audiences.

This means more money: more expense. You are hoping to grow, but this could be a gamble. Is increasing your budget dramatically really the only way to compete with your new rivals?

Your customers are walking advertisements – or they should be

What made you a success?

Was it your amazing product? Your one-off service? Your one-of-a-kind personal charm? The answer is that it was none of these things: your customers made you a success.

They trusted you when they heard your message. They believed your promises when you made them an offer. And some of them even came back for more.

It is these customers who will help you grow your business.

90% of people believe recommendations from their friends. Compare that to the 75% of people who do not accept that ads on search engines like Google represent the “truth,” and you start to think that maybe marketing alone isn’t getting across the right message.

But if your customers are out there making recommendations on your behalf, of which 90% are accepted as truthful by that person’s friends, who knows what kinds of possibilities that could generate for your business? What an opportunity!

The problem? You can’t control what people are saying

Unlike your marketing messages, when people recommend your service (or don’t) you have no idea what they are saying. You have less control over how leads are generated or the reasons they are interested in your company.

You also cannot guarantee – at all – that your customers are even recommending you. If you provide a product or service worth recommending (which it is likely that you do if you are competing in new ends of the market), how can you ensure that as many of your customers as possible are evangelising on your behalf?

Offer a referral scheme

Make it worth your customers’ while. Every time they recommend a new client or customer to your company, make sure you say thank you by rewarding your referee and the person they referred as well.

This is a great way to incentivise your customers into promoting your brand without shovelling the request down their throats. Place the information on your website, post about it on your social media, and be sure to mention it to all new clients.

This way, your customers are aware of the offer and, on their own terms, if they value your service, they are more likely to let other people know – and let you know that they did so, in order to claim their reward. You’ll be able to keep track of how many people willingly recommend your service and build a base of loyal customers.

When loyal, repeat customers are worth about eight times more over their life time than new customers for your business, it is more than worth your while investing in a referral scheme. Decide how you will reward your newly evangelised customers. Make sure you offer them something worth-while that reinforces your brand’s value, like a free sample of your latest product or money off your most expensive service.

Your customers will only recommend you to a friend if they consider your business worth it. This is what makes their recommendations so trust-worthy to 90% of people. A referral scheme, paired with an excellent quality service as well as targeted on- and offline marketing efforts will be sure to make you a direct threat to your competition.

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