Less Gimmick and More Audience Strategy

How do you turn an average customer into a brand evangelist?

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. And they are just waiting to interact, explore and buy from you.

We interviewed Christopher Lester, Digital Strategist for C4ward Strategies, (and Super Niche Keynote) 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.

Turning readers into brand evangelists 

Christopher: “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.”

A real-world example of business-created evangelists:

Christopher:  “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 to 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 bunny pal 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: This article has been updated from the original.


More about Christopher: Christopher 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.

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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