Benefit Corporations Know How to Reach Their Customers. Do You?
Do you have fans? Are they loyal donors, clients, partners? Are you using them as your ambassadors? Are they part of your “Friendraising” team?
One of the new “golden rules” of Benefit Corporations is to utilize your fans as champions in telling your brand story. We have all heard about the value of testimonials, but rarely do we go beyond asking our fans if we can quote them in a collateral piece or use their statement on our website.
What I am talking about is a formal and well-thought-out program --- that proactively harnesses your customers’ goodwill towards your business– turning those individuals who have experience with your company into evangelists to augment your marketing efforts.
So how do you find these ambassadors?
The leaders of Benefit Corporations we have met and certified as “Benefit Corporations for Good,” know that it takes a little effort, as these customers rarely come to you unless you ask. But when you do, they are often enthusiastic about telling your story. And it isn’t that hard to identify them. Here are five simple ways to do that:
1. Check your social media pages and see who gave you a good review or made a positive comment.
2. Ask you reception team to create a field on their intake form to mark if there is a positive comment. Don’t forget to script the staff to ask if someone from the company can call them back, when they have given a positive comment.
3. If you do customer surveys, include space at the end where people can give you contact information, and follow-up with a phone call.
4. If you do community outreach or staff tables at conferences, community events, then keep a sign-up sheet at the table. Note if they are a current client, donor or partner. If they say something positive, ask for their name and whether they would be willing to share their comments.
5. If you have a client e-newsletter, ask readers to share what they like about your company, and then follow-up with them.
Great, so you now have a list of some customers who really like you. What do you do next with these folks?
The most important thing is to make them feel valued and appreciated. Often people feel honored and validated when you ask them to help you out. Deep down many people want to feel needed. So, ask them to help you SPREAD THE WORD! Some of the best ways to market is through word of mouth.
And today, many millennials often make buying decisions based on a referral from someone they know. So, if you have fan that likes you, that trusts you and your services, they can pass that trust on to their friends and family. Sales are done through them!
Are You Ready to Create a Formal Ambassador Program?
Here are 7 simple steps to do create your own Ambassador Program:
1. Create a brief “job description” for your ambassadors, so they know what they can expect.
2. Send a formal letter of invitation, asking them to be a part of your Ambassador program.
3. Provide them with collateral materials, information, and “talking points” about the organization.
4. Determine if there is a way to acknowledge their efforts – perhaps a social event with food and beverages. Or perhaps give them a small certificate of recognition.
5. Highlight them in your e-newsletter.
6. Consider giving them branded business cards, or a pin with the organization’s logo and their name for when they are out in the community.
7. Give them permission to email you with ideas or comments about how to improve things.
The new world of business promotion and branding is all about sharing and social engagement. An Ambassador Program, which many successful Benefit Corporations utilize, puts your company squarely in alignment with this new paradigm.