Marketing can sometimes feel like a hamster wheel with all the work that goes into it to get results. It can even feel inauthentic if customers aren’t directly involved in the process. But there are ways to change that — marketers are moving toward marketing efforts that take the customer into account. This strategy helps customers become more enthusiastic about what your company has to offer.
We asked members of Forbes Communications Council to offer ideas on creative ways to get customers more involved. Each method involves a different level of customer engagement, but they all offer new ways to look at marketing and your customer base.
1. Let the results speak for themselves.
If you are doing a good job supporting your clients or customers, they will become your best marketing resource. Potential clients and customers are much more likely to listen to a testimonial or look at results from a case study than they are to hear your sales pitch. Do good work and your clients will advocate on your behalf. – Charlie Terenzio, revcontent.com
2. Engage with transmedia storytelling.
A great way of engaging customers in content creation/marketing efforts is through transmedia storytelling. By creating a game-like experience within which customers and prospects enter at multiple points, you can evaluate which of your channels is the best for reaching a particular audience. Because transmedia is dependent upon a choose-your-own-adventure method of storytelling, you can engage your audience through the most successful channels by having them vote on new storylines, new characters and new types of media. – Crystal White, Launch Interactive, LLC
3. Market your customers.
We love seeing the amazing images that our customers post of our products, and we make sure to share them back out whenever we can on our social networks and website. Not only do we recognize their appreciation, we also help market their businesses through our channels. When other customers see that, it motivates them to post their own images, creating broader marketing for us. – Sarah Nunes, Vistaprint
4. Feature customer case studies.
Featuring your customers in case studies or general bio features on your blog or newsletter is a great way to reward customer loyalty and encourage them to share and spread the word about your business. The features are a win win, allowing you to showcase your customers, give them helpful PR (or bragging rights, if you’re B2C) and encourage your customers and their communities to share the features across their networks. – Krystal Covington, Go Lead, LLC & Women of Denver
5. Turn customers into brand advocates.
One of the most effective ways to involve your customers in your marketing efforts is to encourage them to talk about you. This can be in the form of a speaking opportunity at an event, a case study or press interview. Word-of-mouth marketing will validate your credibility and turn your most loyal customers into brand advocates, generating more referrals and references for your business. – Morgan Kelleher, Amplience
6. Tape video testimonials.
Video testimonials work very well in getting customers involved in various marketing efforts. Written case studies and such are great, but video is a more compelling draw in many situations and gives awesome material to cut down and repurpose for things like social media, customer newsletters and more. Also, it tends to be a quick, easy way for customers to participate. – Alina Morkin, Voices.com
7. Leverage social proof.
Here’s the thing: Your customers are already talking about you whether you like it or not. You might as well participate in the conversation. Doing so can create high-quality, user-generated content, which can be repurposed for social proof in your ads (trust marks, marks of quality, review stars, etc.). Paid marketing that displays social proof often gets higher clickthroughs and better conversion rates. – Zachary Pardes, Trustpilot