Given the importance that successful businesses place on customer satisfaction, it’s a little shocking just how under-utilized this asset truly is. Satisfied customers advocating on behalf of a brand is one of the most powerful ways to grow ROI. But brands too often confine their understanding of customer advocacy to the marketing sphere alone — making it nothing more than a line item in the marketing budget.
In reality, this couldn't be further from the truth. These “superusers” are valuable in a myriad of ways that stretches well beyond letting other potential customers know their satisfaction with the product.
Properly investing in a brand advocacy cultivation program costs a lot of money. But once the true breadth of value is understood, it becomes clear that it’s well worth the investment.
Below, we look at four of reasons why failing to invest in a superuser program equates to leaving money on the table.
#1: Social Proof
As stated above, most successful businesses are aware that satisfied customers are one of the best ways to get their product or service promoted in the marketplace. But brand awareness is merely a small part of the value that superusers bring to marketing efforts.
Time and again, it's been shown that customers trust other customers more than they trust marketing messaging. For this reason, cultivating brand advocates is an important way for businesses to get their message out to their target audience while creating a positive aura around the value that the product or service brings.
By creating a super user program that amplifies the reach of these brand advocates, you're able to drastically increase the amount of social proof available in the market. This goes much further than standard marketing efforts towards bringing in new customers.
#2: High Volume, Value-Driven Content
We've all heard the phrase "content is king". But creating quality content costs time and money, making it difficult to scale. And even if content is created at a high rate of volume, the problem of authenticity and sincerity remains. The only thing worse than having not enough content is being perceived by your target audience as having “marketing” content designed to sell them on something.
The name of the game is not just creating content, but creating content that provides value. Superuser programs encourage already satisfied customers to not just create content, but to create content specifically designed for the broader community, who share their experiences.
One of the most common problems that businesses face is the need to scale. It doesn't matter if you're a small to medium-sized business looking to grow exponentially in a market or an established large business trying out new products and services. All businesses need a forum in which they can test new ideas.
The problem with this imperative is that it's time consuming and expensive. However, a business with a robust superuser program can draw upon this community to conduct large-scale testing at a relatively low cost.
For starters, businesses save on the amount of labor necessary to conduct effective, large-scale testing. But being able to float new products and features to their advocates before releasing them into a full-scale audience can save businesses the expense of releasing an unfinished product into the market.
#4: Cross-Department Beta Testing
Superusers are often thought of as an outward facing asset, but the reverse can also be true. These brand advocates are the best place to discover flaws in a product or service, and get ideas about how to improve them.
These efforts don't have to be relegated to marketing. There are a number of departments that may be useful, including Customer Support, community forum moderation and even Product.
For example, if you want to release a new version of a webpage, go to your superusers and get their thoughts before sending it to the rest of the community. Or if you're going to add a new feature to your community forums, release it to a limited number of superusers first to test for bugs and solicit ideas for possible improvements.
Building Superusers: an Imperative That Cannot Be Ignored
The bottom line is that superusers present a valuable opportunity for businesses, one that extends well beyond the marketing sphere. Organizations and brands should do all they can to increase the number of superusers engaged with their community.
Whether that means being more active with social media outreach, taking a deeper and more systematic approach to community forum management or reaching out to satisfied customers via email and personal follow-up, those who take the time to cultivate this extremely important asset will not need to worry about leaving money on the table.