Daniel Burstein

Customer Testimonials: 3 ways to leverage your customers to help tell your product’s story

April 28th, 2016

U.S. media ad spending will hit $200 billion in 2016, according to eMarketer. And yet, when we asked 2,021 customers how they discover new products, advertising was the fifth most popular response with offline and online advertising tied for fifth with 27% of responses.

“In-store browsing” was the most popular (59%), and the focus of today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post — “word of mouth from friends, family, colleagues” — was a close second at 57%.

However, when we asked marketers how they actually helped customers learn about products, there was a bit of a disconnect from customer preferences. Online advertising was the most frequently used tactic (60%), while “encouraging word of mouth” was only the fifth most popular tactic (chosen by 45% of marketers).

 

How can you increase word of mouth for your products and services?

Be awesome.

This will generate organic referrals at the highest rate.

But a deeper question is more applicable to marketers — how can you leverage word of mouth in your marketing to increase conversion?

Here are three ideas for your campaigns.

 

Idea #1. Help, not hype

“My experience with Summit has just been seamless. I got the opportunity to submit some different proud moments for marketing and my team’s successes. And then having the opportunity to be selected and the opportunity to be with such a prestigious organization was very flattering. Then I was very, very prepared every step of the way. I had a dedicated team that was sending me updates, giving me clear deadlines, supporting me along the way — just made it incredibly professional and certainly best in class.”

That quote is from Cambria Jacobs, Vice President of Marketing and Customer Service, Door to Door Organics, from a video promoting the MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 Call for Speakers.

Now, we didn’t need to have Cambria in the video. I could have told you how amazing it is to be a speaker at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. How you’ll have your name up in lights. You will be fawned over by an adoring crowd of marketers. And, most importantly, you may even get the distinct honor and privilege of working directly with me for several months — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you will never forget — as I help you shape your story before we discuss it on stage.

But … c’mon … would you really believe it?

I’ll admit, I have a serious conflict of interest. I’m trying to get you to fill out the call for speakers to speak at MarketingSherpa Summit. So of course I think we do an amazing job with our speakers.

That’s why, when we created the Call for Speakers video, we stick to the facts, and let speakers like Cambria tell you what the experience is like.

This is one way you can use testimonials. Stick to helping customers with your marketing copy. Not hyping your product. Customers won’t believe you when you tell them how wonderful your product is anyway. And they shouldn’t. Just as you shouldn’t believe me when I tell you what the speaker experience is like. I’m hopelessly biased.

Think of it as almost like a traditional-press-release-style of marketing. Use your marketing copy to stick to the facts, and let the customers add the color and the adjectives.

You can see how we did it in the Call for Speakers video below:

 

In this way, you can think of testimonials as more than just a supporting element. Not just some copy in the right-hand sidebar, but rather use them as a key description of the customer experience that you strategically weave into stories about your product.

 

Idea #2. Amplify customer conversations

While Cambria provided a speaker testimonial to provide word of mouth for us, she is no stranger to using word-of-mouth marketing for her own brand.

Door to Door Organics sells farm-fresh organic produce along with natural, local groceries. This type of product tends to have a passionate following and reaction.

The ecommerce grocer found that customers were enthusiastically sharing their experience with the brand on social media, naturally creating user-generated content and word-of-mouth marketing.

Cambria’s team discovered that their best brand ambassadors were on Instagram, and used its brand account on the photo-sharing social network to share user-generated content — amplifying its word-of-mouth effect.

door-to-door-instagram

 

This was part of a social media marketing effort that helped the ecommerce grocer grow 25% year-over-year.

Learn more about Door to Door Organics social media marketing efforts by watching the video replay of Cambria Jacobs case study at MarketingSherpa Summit — “How an Online Organic and Natural Food Retailer Grew Its Social Media Fan Base 600% in 18 Months.”

 

Idea #3. Take good care of customers who provide testimonials

To help amplify word-of-mouth marketing, B2B companies usually form relationships with customers willing to provide testimonials or referrals.

However, because word-of-mouth is so powerful, sometimes these B2B brands can abuse customers and ask them to do too much. After all, these customers are professionals who are plenty busy at their own jobs.

“A lot of companies when they have a client who will tell good things about them — we all do this — we burn the daylights out of them until they yell, ‘Uncle! Leave me alone. I don’t want to do another success story. I’m not going to do a video.’ And we don’t take care of those people. We ask for a lot of work from them, but we don’t help them,” said Karen Thomas-Smith, Vice President, Provider Marketing and Reference Management, Optum.

So Karen formed a dedicated team to take care of Optum’s reference clients. Her team created a formalized program, ensuring there is one point-person managing the relationship with that customer, whether it’s asking for a reference visit or to have the customer featured in content like a case study or video (for example, check out Optum One client experience videos).

“They’ll do 40% more, on average, by having that dedicated person look out for them,” Karen said.

Learn more about Optum’s content marketing by watching the video replay of Karen Thomas-Smith’s case study from MarketingSherpa Summit — “Customer-First Marketing: How Optum generated closed contract revenue of $52 for every dollar invested (then reimagined its marketing team for even better results).”

 

Idea #4. Identify and enable key influencers

Not all word-of-mouth marketing is equally powerful. Some people and organizations are just more influential than others.

Online mattress retailer Leesa offered key bloggers an opportunity to try the product for free, in exchange for an unbiased review.

“We would send them a free Leesa mattress — there were tons of competitors that did the same thing. [The reviewer] would do an objective comparison of us versus competitors,” said Matt Hayes, Head of Marketing and founding member, Leesa.

After this initial success, the team identified more social media influencers to expand the program.

“[The influencer] might only have 40,000 Instagram followers but they get a ton of engagement,” Matt said. “That’s as good as 200,000 with not as much engagement.”

The team also provided some messaging about the product, but made sure to keep a light touch.

“We want them to hit the on the things we want them to say,” Matt said. “But we didn’t want to be overly prescriptive … because this is organic influencer content. If it’s coming out of our mouth, it’s no longer organic. It needs to come from the influencer’s mouth.”

This was all part of an influencer marketing program that has driven 100,000 clicks to the Leesa website and has directly resulted in more than 400 mattress sales.

To learn more about Leesa’s influencer marketing, read the case study — “Inbound Marketing: How influencer marketing attracted 100,000 website clicks to luxury mattress site.”

 

You can follow Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute, @DanielBurstein.

 

You might also like

Word-of-Mouth: Email tactics power referral program with 111% ROI [MarketingSherpa Case Study]

Convince Your Boss to Launch a Word-of-Mouth Marketing Campaign: 4 Steps [MarketingSherpa How-To]

MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 Call for Speakers — We’re looking for inspirational stories of customer-first marketing to shine a light on at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas.

 

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Austin McCraw

Four Simple Ways to Become a More Customer-Centric Marketer

April 26th, 2016

Recently, I wrote about our need to guard against company logic. I argued that it is very easy for us as marketers to slip into a mindset that ignores the ultimate desires of the customer. This is a struggle experienced by all companies, big or small, new or old, well-known or unknown.

customer-centric-marketing

Ironically, as one commenter posted, perhaps even my blog post suffered from a little company logic as it seemed to focus on what I wanted to say rather than what would have most served the audience: more application. Knowing myself, and the tendency that I have just like anyone else, it may very well be true. I can also relate to wanting to know not just the “what” of a thing but also the “how.”

So, in the spirit of taking my own medicine, I would like to attempt being a little more customer centric and suggest four ways in which we can practically guard against company logic and become more customer-centric marketers. These are not the only four ways, but they are a good place to start.

 

#1. Listen

Learning the discipline of listening to your customer is essential for all marketers. This is where a marketer should always start. Listening to customers was once much more difficult, but today there is so much feedback our customer is giving to us. With the prevailing social dynamic of the Internet, our customers are constantly talking to us (directly or indirectly). We just have to make sure we are listening.

Many marketers are tempted to fear social feedback. I mean, who really wants to hear someone else critique you? However, if we are really doing our job, we will embrace both pleasant and painful insights that we gain from hearing from the customer. It is so easy to become insular and solicit feedback only from our peers, but we must force ourselves to hear the customer’s feedback. Sometimes that comes in the form of them talking directly to us, and other times it comes in the form of customers talking to one another. Nonetheless, our customers are talking, and we must learn to listen.

Read more…

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Selena Blue

Email Marketing: 6 steps to re-engaging subscribers and cleaning your list database

April 22nd, 2016

With spring now upon us, are you ready to “spring clean” your email lists?

It’s a hard task to take on. No one likes to see their list decline. However, list hygiene is an important part of any email strategy.

List-cleaning-graphic

“Blasting your emails to an unqualified list could result in account suspensions from your email platform, penalties, or even fines, not to mention dismal marketing results,” according to the Salesforce article “How to Keep Your Email Lists Sparkling Clean.”

If many of your email addresses are undeliverable or people are marking you as spam, your email reputation suffers. You could be causing yourself to be flagged as spam in your customer’s inboxes — and that won’t get your campaigns very far.

To get your list back to a healthy state and stay that way, we’ve outline six steps for your team to take.

 

Step #1. Delete fake, role-based and misspelled email addresses

To start your email spring cleaning, examine your list for the addresses you won’t hope to win-back. This includes those that don’t actually make it to someone (and probably never have).

For various reasons, consumers don’t always provide the correct information online. As an initial step into cleaning your list, you’ll want to delete all the bogus email addresses. These could include emails like:

  • test@gmail.com
  • 123@company.com
  • asdf@asdf.com (This address even has a fake website to go with it.)

You’ll probably want to eliminate role email address as well. These are typically groups, not individuals, where no one will actually open, read or click your emails. A few examples include:

Read more…

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Daniel Burstein

Content Marketing: How to help subject matter experts come up with blog topics

April 19th, 2016
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Let’s say you’re an intrepid marketer at a company. You’ve read about the power of inbound marketing, have started your company’s blog, and … now what? How do you get these subject matter experts (SMEs) to blog? And what should they blog about?

Or perhaps you have an established content marketing blog — you’ve been going for years. But your SMEs are running out of ideas for blog topics. What should you do?

Keep reading (and then send your SMEs this blog post).

 

The analogy

Photo: Cirofono

Photo: Cirofono

Now that we’ve established the problem, let’s look to an analogy laced with a pop reference to help give you an approach to solve it.

When George and Jerry are pitching the idea of the “show about nothing” to NBC executives on “Seinfeld,” George asks …

George: What did you do today?
NBC Exec: I got up and came to work.
George: There’s a show! That’s a show.
NBC Exec: How is that a show?


The Seinfeld Method

If your SMEs don’t think they have anything helpful to blog about for your audience, ask them, “What did you do today?”

Their day-to-day role likely spurs many topics that would benefit your ideal customer but are hidden in the four walls of your company. In fact, are you read this blog post, your SMEs are probably:

Almost everything done in their job is content.

Read more…

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Courtney Eckerle

How NakedWines.com Used Email to Maximize Lifetime Value

April 15th, 2016

How do you turn a name on a list into a loyal and engaged subscriber?

Ecommerce site NakedWines.com has accomplished this by establishing a community of customers and “Angel” members. These customers fund independent wine makers in return for access to hand-crafted wine at a lower cost.

At the MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 Media Center, Julia Fox, Marketing Manager, NakedWines.com, spoke about how her team wanted to maximize member lifetime value during the early phases of the customer journey.

 

“Since we’re all ecommerce, email is obviously a huge part of our success,” Julia said, adding that most of the company’s revenue comes from these “Angel” members, which means nurturing new customers into Angels through this channel is especially important.

Read more…

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Brent Knauff

Landing Page Optimization: Which ninja turtle is your page?

April 12th, 2016

Turtle SketchAssuming you don’t live in a shell, you have probably seen or heard of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They’re the immensely popular superhero group that began as a comic in the 80s, and reached peak popularity in the 90s, and to this day, maintains a cult following with children and adults alike.

Even as fun and interesting as the premise is, we can still ask the question: Why have they stayed so popular over the years?

My take is it’s because of the characters.

The dynamic brothers, consisting of Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo, have so much variety in their personalities, which allows them to approach problem-solving situations in any multitude of ways. This also allows for a lot of creative freedom on the creators’ end.

Personality is what captures an audience, as well as builds a brand.

Your landing page has, or can have, just as much personality as a character, whether you realize it or not. Below are four different characteristics of landing pages, named after the four different turtles:

  • Leo:  clear, simple, collected, peaceful
  • Raph:  aggressive, loud, attention-grabbing, urgent
  • Donnie:  calm, intelligent, factual, to-the-point
  • Mikey: fun, silly, lighthearted, nonchalant, social

Read more…

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Daniel Burstein

Social Media Marketing: Online organic retailer grows following 600% in 18 months

April 8th, 2016

“Your brand is not what you say it is, but what your customers say it is.”

Or so goes the old advertising maxim.

If we were to update that to modern times, we might add, “And you can discover what they’re saying about your brand on social media.”

When Cambria Jacobs, Vice President of Marketing, Door to Door Organics, sat down for an interview at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 with Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, she shared that old advertising maxim along with her team’s journey on social media — from a customer service channel to a unified, proactive, brand-building strategy.

 

Here are four key lessons from Cambria’s interview …

Read more…

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Regina Love

How to Market Your Event – the Zumba Way

April 5th, 2016

It’s finally here, the moment I’ve been waiting for: ZINCON 2016! The Zumba® Instructor Network Convention has been the talk of the year amongst Zumba instructors worldwide. In our world, it’s the most secretive, yet thrilling, event of the year.

Being a participant in the buildup to this convention reminded me that event marketing is an opportunity to leverage in-person engagement and build relationships with your customer.

In planning, every company’s approach will differ, but your execution has to be tight. Your overall goal is always to make an impact on your customer, and Zumba is a fantastic example of how to do that.  As a new instructor myself, all I’ve heard over the last few months was how valuable and fun ZINCON has been in previous years, which only made me want to Zumba my way there!

ZINCON Navigation

As I went through the process of registering for this event, I wanted to share three tips I found interesting in Zumba’s promotion of this special convention.

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Courtney Eckerle

How One Small Template Change Led to Greater Customer-centric Content for WeddingWire

April 1st, 2016

Most email marketers know they’re supposed to throw the social sharing buttons into their email templates.

… or do you?

“When we first started doing that, that made sense and that was the best practice when social media first came around. But we never looked back at it and did a reality check to see if that still made sense,” said Bart Thornburg, Senior Manager of Email Marketing, WeddingWire.

In his MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 Media Center interview, Bart talked about how WeddingWire checked that portion of the template to see if it was really a best practice for them.

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Paul Cheney

20 Predictions for the Next 5 Years that Every Email Marketer Should Hear

March 28th, 2016
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Email marketing has evolved significantly during the first half of this decade — from the impact of mobile and engagement-based email filtering to the emergence of wearables and omni-channel integration. All that change made us wonder: ‘How will email marketing evolve between now and the end of the decade?’

That was what Chad White, Research Director, Litmus, sent me in an email when I asked him to comment on a SlideShare he created from Litmus’ Email Marketing in 2020 ebook.

In the report, our own Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, along with 19 other experts in the field of email marketing, share their predictions for what email marketing will look like in the year 2020.

The slides, which pull out Litmus’ favorite prediction from each of the experts interviewed, have a number of interesting tidbits.

Overall, the general consensus is that email will be incredibly personalized and highly automated.

Read more…

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