Courtney Eckerle

Inbound Marketing: How to turn your customers into brand enthusiasts

November 6th, 2015

KontrolFreek has taken a “very organic” approach to building its base of customer brand enthusiasts and ambassadors, which it calls FreekNation.

Ashish Mistry, President and CEO, KontrolFreek, sat down with me at IRCE 2015 in Chicago, and discussed how the company was able to work within pockets of influence in its digital marketing to turn customers into fans.

The key to how the marketing team has been able to do this is through a number of different avenues in its digital space.


Authentically develop relationships with customers

“One of the things we realized early on was that this was going to be the core of our marketing,” Ashish said.

The team thought email would be one of the main marketing drivers, he added, but what has been the most interesting development, from his perspective, is to see how important the social role of these brand enthusiasts has been for the customer base.

“We generate upwards of 30% of the traffic to our site from things like YouTube,” he said, adding that for a startup of only 12 employees, “we’re batting way out of league in the terms of the social audiences we have. We have almost two million direct customer touchpoints.”

Social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are some of the best places where brand enthusiasts can be front-facing with other customers, and these sites are at the core of KontrolFreeks’ marketing efforts.


Interact with key ambassadors

KontrolFreek also made a point to reach out to people who, on top of enjoying KontrolFreek’s products, could be important content creators for the company.

“What we’re able to do is attribute a lot of our success, especially in the social channels, to key influencers,” Ashish said.

These influencers have millions of subscribers on their channels and are passionate gamers, he added. So alongside a great product, it’s beneficial to have these ambassadors “authentically telling their audience that this is what they use when they’re playing Call of Duty or Halo. And that’s really been a key driver for us,” he said.

The key here, he added, is to keep the conversation and the relationship focused on the quality of the product to ensure trust and transparency.

“The audience growth is really very natural, so it’s not as contrived as going out and grabbing someone and saying, ‘Hey, here’s a check. Come be a brand ambassador.’ It’s really organic,” he said.

Brand ambassadors can help generate more customers organically


The brand ambassador above, for example, has over 950,000 YouTube followers on his gaming channel, and nearly 200,000,000 total video views.

He clearly states in the beginning of this product review video (one of the top results when searching KontrolFreek on YouTube) that while KontrolFreek sent him the products, he was not sponsored by or paid to do the review by the company.

One of the main values in this system is that, for a small company, harvesting and encouraging this type of content can take a significant workload off employees.

“These [influencers] end up doing a lot of the hard work, which is delivering the message and producing content,” Ashish said.


Indoctrinate enthusiasts from the beginning

A MarketingSherpa case study with KontrolFreek explored how the company utilized a lot of this content in its three-series welcome email for new subscribers and customers.

“We get ‘em hooked early,” Ashish said. “It’s kind of like coming home early and having something that you really like waiting for you in the foyer … instead of some foreign sales message, they’re seeing guys that they’re influenced by on day one.”

The first message is vital, he added, to ensure that customers don’t churn out of the sales cycle.


You can follow Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, on Twitter at @CourtneyEckerle.


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Courtney Eckerle

About Courtney Eckerle

With a focus on aspirational, customer-first marketing, Courtney’s goal has been to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. This has included writing over 300 case studies, moderating live event interviews, and producing video content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was a correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS Institute.

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