Audience Development

Transform Readers into Evangelists for Rockin’ Revenue Results!

Creating a customer journey is more important than ever to ensure repeat revenue and audience growth! You have an amazing niche magazine and a devoted audience……. just waiting to interact, explore and BUY from you.

But how do you turn an average customer to brand evangelist?  

Christopher Lester, Digital Strategist for C4ward Strategies, knows how to use the right tools to create a more “human” relationship with your audience. We interviewed him recently about how to react with the right message at the right time via email and other communication channels to make customers feel special, understood and ready to buy.

First of all, why should niche publishers focus on turning readers/customers into evangelists for their brand? 

“Your readers, customer and fans are the best way to find more readers, customers and fans. When you’re good at telling your brand story people will find you . . . when you’re great at telling that story the people in your sphere will bring people to you.

Our access to unlimited information has shifted what consumers need from brands. Third party validation has become the strongest possible vote of confidence. In fact, what others are saying about you outweighs any traditional marketing you can create. The smartest and most successful marketing teams are focused on turning prospects into customers and customers into raging fans.”

How do publishers determine the right tools and amount of customer engagement?

“The world of SAAS  and API integrations has leveled the playing field! Every brand no matter the size, budget or savviness has access to the tools they need to create an amazing customer experience.  Through segmentation, automation and dynamic content the smallest brand around can market like Coca-cola . . . the question is, do you want to? And if you do, what does that look like?

Step one is to define your goal. Are you looking for website traffic, conversions, revenue increases, subscriptions, or sponsorships? The list goes on and on. What you’re trying to achieve, and how you’ll measure success deserves more than a fleeting thought. Once you have your goal or even better goals in place it’s time to look at your audience with honest eyes. This can be tough! Who loves you? Who bought from you once but if you asked them, they were probably buying a gift? Are there customers that haven’t interacted with you on social or opened an email since you first launched the effort?  Segment your audience and say good-bye to anyone not actively engaged (I said it would be tough). Now you’re ready to think tools and engagement.

The size of the team and your budget will help determine what tools are right, but there are great options out there for just about everyone. Pick tools that free you up from the busy work and allow you to concentrate on strategy. Automation will let a small team create workflows that function 24/7 and provide insights and learning on what’s working. Move past the vanity analytics like open rates, shares and likes to dig into what’s happening at the individual level. Where are people dropping off? Who are your super fans? What would happen if you “leaked” everything to them 30 minutes early?

Finally, the goal is to stop thinking about your audience as one big homogeneous herd and start treating them like people, individuals who are all in different stages with your brand and aren’t all equally valuable. Segment them, use dynamic content to cater to them and automate those experiences so the marketing that’s happening to many, feels like it’s a conversation for one.”

What are some real-world examples of business-created customer evangelists that drove repeat revenue and audience growth? 

“I’m going to be selfish here and not share my favorite two. To get those you’re going to have to come to the talk (but they’re good . . . really good). Hint – they involve William & Sonoma and Mophie. But here’s a fun one –

  • A family was staying at the Ritz-Carlton for vacation. When they got to the airport their young son realized he left his favorite stuffed bunny (and best friend) at the hotel. We can safely assume the flight was not the smoothest. When they landed, the father reached out the hotel to see if they had the bunny . . . to the relief of everyone, they did. The desk attendant assured the father they’d ship it overnight and get it to his son as quickly as possible. The next day when the box arrived the son was quick to open it up. To everyone’s surprise he didn’t find just his pal the bunny in the box, he also found a photo book of his bunny getting a massage at the hotel spa, having dinner in the 5 star restaurant,  tanning by the pool in a plush robe while enjoying a big tropical drink, and working with the valet team as they brought around a fancy car. The entire staff worked hard to not only return the bunny but assure the young man that he had a brilliant time on his “extended vacation.” The dad immediately shared the story on social, where it went viral. Hey Ritz-Carlton, I’m a fan!”

Editor’s note: Christopher will share more ways to create customer evangelists in his session, Niche Fan Club: Transforming Readers to Evangelists for Revenue Results! at the Niche Digital Summit in Chicago, Sept. 25-27.

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More about Christopher: Christopher Lester is the Founder of C4ward Strategies in Nashville, TN, where he helps companies align their brand experience throughout the sales process. He’s passionate about the consumer and crafting marketing that feels more human. He’s a lover of the underdog, hot dogs, and a sweet dog named Olive. In his past life, Christopher spent the last decade geeking out on all things digital. He worked with brands like Mario Batali, Garden & Gun, Atlanta Falcons, Nashville Predators and The YMCA to tell their story in the digital space and deliver emails that people want to read. He also served as the Vice President of Sales at Emma Email Marketing, and was responsible for strategic brand growth, new customer acquisition and in-market development.

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