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3 Ways To Get Customers Talking About You
By Cindy Alvarez
We've heard it countless times - Build an awesome product, and your customers will shout from the rooftops. Solve your customer's big problems, and they'll tell everyone. If you build it, they will evangelize.
Unfortunately, it's not true. A very small percentage of the population is actively blogging and writing reviews. A slightly higher percentage may participate in ratings or sharing on social networks. The rest are passive consumers - reading and forming opinions silently and unlikely to influence other prospective customers.
ou need to actively combat this pattern in 3 steps to get customers talking about you:
1. Understand what excites customers about you and how they naturally describe it
If steps #1 and #2 sound a bit like a chicken-and-egg problem, it's because it is a chicken-and-egg problem. If no customers are talking about you, you don't know what will resonate with them and you can't know how to best encourage them to start talking. It may take a few rounds of asking questions and active listening to hone in on what's exciting about your product.
Understand what excites customers about you and how they naturally describe it
For new products, you will need to start with non-customers (people who are not familiar with your product) and get them familiar enough so they can provide feedback. Then prompt them to tell the story of how they would use your product - "Well, I usually pay bills twice a month." "So that's when you would log in to the site, or.?" Questions like "what would you do next?" or "how do you think this would help you?" keep the conversation flowing.
You'll want to run at least five of these interviews, but you probably won't need more than a dozen to see the patterns in what users like and how they describe it. This isn't quantitative information; you don't need a big sample size. You aren't interested in a 1-10 rating, you are interested in the story of your product, starring your customer. You want to capture the phrases and the cadence of their speech as much as the concepts.
Once you've gotten them comfortable talking, it's time for the big question: If you were recommending this to a friend, what would you tell them to make them want to use it?
Offer suggestions for how customers can talk about you
Look at the feedback you got from users and figure out which
elements best overlap with the message your company wants to send. You'll need to refine the phrases and stories customers use to get rid of "ums" or
inappropriate language, but otherwise keep them as authentic as possible.
What you don't want is a customer who wants to talk about you, but doesn't feel ready or motivated to write something that sounds smart. You want those customers to have words at the ready that don't sound like a press release.
Think of a blogger staring at an empty white screen, trying to find a topic to write about. She just had a great experience with your product. but nothing's coming to mind but "really useful" and "definitely worth the money". Is she going to write a bland review, or choose to write about something else entirely? Think of the community site participant who would normally lurk - if it only takes a second to call to mind the right words, he's much more likely to post a response.
Ask for customers to talk about you and guide them on how and where to do it
Finally, you can't count on luck and customer affection - often, you have to ask for the mention. Be clear on what you want, where you want it, and a direct link to click or text to copy and paste and edit. MoveOn.org and other political action groups have mastered this - any time you're asked to contact your representative, they helpfully provide you with text that is factually accurate and well-written. Whether you choose to keep it or provide your own is up to the individual.
For any of these "asks", the action needs to be obvious, no more than two clicks away, and you need to provide text but also the option to edit it or replace it entirely.
Most of these examples are targeted at consumer products and services, but they work just as well for enterprise customers. Even if you've had a relationship with a customer for years, try asking: "What do you find most valuable about us?" You may just be surprised - and the answer may help you win your next deal.
This article courtesy of SiteProNews.com
Have a nice day!
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