Companies that get the buyers involved in their marketing really reap the benefits. When actual customers have a say in what’s going on with your company, they get excited. And excited customers are more likely to spread the word. And the word is social proof—a powerful marketing tool that you just can’t buy.
So, how can you get buyers involved in what you’re doing without losing your focus? Here are some ideas, both classic and innovative, that just might help you.
Let Buyers Choose Inventory
You can’t leave all the decisions up to your buyers. After all, they trust your company to provide them with the best possible products. You can, however, ask for their feedback on a small selection of items before offering them for sale. This shows your customers that you trust their taste, that you value their opinions, and that you love involving them in your process.
What happens when you ask your buyers to help you choose your next product releases? If things go well, those buyers will share their choice with others and invite friends with similar tastes to provide feedback, too. Before those products even hit the market, they’ll be seen by current customers and a host of potential customers.
If you trust your buyers to understand your brand, consider opening up a crowdfunding contest. Let those loyal customers submit their own designs and ideas. If they fit your brand and your latest campaigns, then you can include them in a contest. When winning entries have been chosen, present them to your entire audience, along with a total cost for producing those items. Then, let all of your customers decide.
The item that reaches full funding first could be your next product release. This is a win-win for several reasons. First, you have the assurance through the crowdfunding campaign that buyers are truly interested in the product you’re about to release. In fact, many probably pre-ordered with their donation to the cause. Next, you can be sure the word has spread well beyond your usual audience as creators and donors rallied support for their products.
Several companies have taken to including an Instagram feed on their e-commerce site featuring real customers using their products. With a specified hashtag that helps you locate all the images out there that mention your brand, you should have no trouble creating an all-inclusive experience for those who really want to share.
The same can also be done for pinned products on Pinterest boards, though you don’t get the same user-generated effect. Sure, you can let visitors see what real customers love about your inventory, but they won’t see real customers fully enjoying those products.
Getting and keeping buyers involved brings several benefits. First, you’ll create something much more powerful than a loyal customer; you’ll create brand ambassadors. These buyers will go to the ends of the Earth to help if they feel you truly appreciate what they’re offering. Next, you create a system where social proof is guaranteed. Whatever else comes from sharing user-generated content, you at least get that powerful social proof.
If your idea of “buyer involvement” to this point has simply been visitors who pay, then it’s time to up your game. Give those buyers a voice and then listen to what they have to say. You’ll be surprised at the outcome.
This article was originally written by Ted Ammon for the HubSpot blog, and republished with permission.