“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
One of JFK’s most famous lines, taken from his 1961 Inaugural Address, has been quoted time and again for a variety of different reasons. Today, I want you to bear with me as I appropriate it for businesses.
We often have conversations within our companies to ask how we can better serve our customers. And this is a good thing. Because if we can’t serve our customers better than the competition, we’ll lose them.
But do we ever ask ourselves, or ask often enough, how our customers can better serve us?
This question might not seem all that intuitive, but it’s one that many successful companies discuss often. And the reason is simple- your customers are the most captive audience you have. They are a valuable resource that marketers should take full advantage of.
So what can your customers do for you? They can…
Your customers can advocate for your brand. They can take to the streets (and the social networks) and brag about how great your products and services are, and how much they’ve improved their lives.
But they will only do this if it’s true. Brand advocates only become brand advocates when you wow them with your offerings.
Your customers can refer their friends and family to you. They can become direct marketers and salespeople that are more effective than any internal employee.
But they will only do this if you give them a reason to. Build an easy-to-use referral program and then incentivize your customers to use it.
Your customers can leave reviews online, on sites like Yelp, Google, Amazon, etc. They can rate and rank your products and services to add social proof that will help other customers effectively research your brand.
Your customers can share your content with their networks. They can forward your emails and post your articles, growing your reach and exposing new people to your brand.
But they will only do this if what you have to say is worth sharing. Ask them what they are interested in, what gaps you can fill. Then develop a content marketing program that meets their needs.
Your customers don’t just have to be consumers of your content, they can help you create it. They can offer testimonials, case studies, success stories, photos and videos of themselves using your product. And this content can become an important part of your promotion.
But they will only do it if you give them a channel for doing so. Create a fan page on your site, a customer forum, or a contest that encourages contributions.