The Secret to Evangelism Marketing

A few months ago, we wrote an article discussing a risky ad campaign put together by Patagonia. Despite the fact that Patagonia was actually encouraging their customers NOT to buy their clothing because of the environmental impact, the company saw some of the best years in its history. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all run marketing campaigns like that and still see similar results?

Well, maybe we can. But there’s one thing we would need to do first: develop a dependable following of brand evangelists who can become the driving force behind our word-of-mouth marketing. As one of the only forms of marketing that comes from the consumer, not the company, word-of-mouth marketing can be especially persuasive. And that is why happy, satisfied, and informed customers are one of the best marketing investments companies can make.

Let’s go through a few of the benefits of evangelism marketing, and see how you can incorporate it into your marketing strategy.

1. Better customers. People who are evangelists of your product are often your best sales reps too. Because their opinions are not associated with your company, prospects and prospective buyers will be less skeptical of their advice. This means that brand evangelists have a unique opportunity to convert potential customers into new evangelists, who can in turn recruit even more fans to their ranks.

2. Evangelists are like free advisors. Often happy to give advice just because they want to, evangelists will frequently step in to provide free “consulting” to other clients in need. This puts less of the burden on your company and your support team, and creates a trusted network of helpful, enthusiastic clients.

3. Case studies and testimonials. These are two great resources to have, but aren’t easy to put together if you don’t have a network of evangelists who are willing to speak on your behalf. Testimonials are persuasive because they feature the voice of your customers without any interference from your company, which makes them seem more honest and trustworthy. If you have a library of these resources, potential customers can do their own research and reach out to your evangelists on their own, without having to seek out your assistance before they’re ready.

It’s not as difficult to cultivate these kinds of evangelical relationships as you might think. Building a network of trusted followers boils down to just a few key steps:

1. Keep your customers happy (and how do you do that? See below!).

2. Be helpful.

3. Listen.

4. Act on feedback that is given to you.

5. Build real relationships. It doesn’t always have to be strictly business.

“Amazing things happen when you listen to the consumer.” – Jonathan Mildenhall, Coca Cola Company (@Mildenhall) tweetbutton

Doesn’t sound too hard, does it? Not only does having brand evangelists benefit your company, it’s also good for your customers. If you’re making an effort to build relationships and keep your customers happy, they’ll benefit just as much as you will. And in the long term, isn’t that what’s most important?

What do you think about the concept of evangelism marketing? Let us know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “The Secret to Evangelism Marketing

  • Well stated! Considering the power of evangelical marketing, I am always amazed by companies that let easy opportunities to satisfy customers slip through their fingers and even turn into negative experiences. Unfortunately, as companies grow they tend to lose sight of the power their customers yield- allowing their established brand recognition to outweigh the importance of loyal and happy customers.

  • Great topic! Good to see more people talking about customer evangelism as a actual marketing tactic, not just a mysterious thing that is out of our control. At our company, we have built a whole “customer evangelism” team with a focus on this area. How can we help build evangelists in our community? How can we identify and nurture them? Are we being creative in how we leverage them?

    But it all starts with a great product or service and the right support around it. Use NPS or similar customer happiness measures to keep the pulse. Then align teams and set goals around improvement. Happy customers -> Evangelism -> Business growth.

    • Thanks for the comment, J.D! It’s great that your company already has an entire “customer evangelism” team — hopefully we’ll start to see more companies taking that approach in the future. There are a lot of benefits to being proactive with your customer relationships, rather than reactive.

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