Having a long list of customers is key to any business, but it’s not always enough on its own. Passive customers aren’t very likely to recommend you to others, and they could easily turn to your competitor. In this day and age, you need to invest in a strategy that’s all about turning customers into fans.
A superfan is someone passionate about a brand, company, product, or service. Because they’re personally invested, they’re likely to recommend this brand to their friends and family. More importantly, they’ll continue to be repeat customers into the future, reducing churn. With a reported 43% of people spending more money on brands they’re loyal to, this is a powerful way to boost your profits.
That being said, it’s not always simple to turn customers into fans. How do you engage your existing customers and encourage them to relate to your business in a meaningful way? It takes a dedicated, customer-first strategy to see real success.
These brand evangelists are top-tier customers, and they’re one of the best ways to drive business growth. Because they’re essential in 2021 and beyond, you need to put them first. In this guide, we’re diving into superfans 101 so you can turn customers into fans with just 5 steps.
- What Are Superfans?
- The Benefits of Creating Superfans
- Turning Customers Into Fans In 5 Steps
- Become a Superfan Machine
What Are Superfans?
First, what even are superfans? Too many brands think this is something that just “happens” over time, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Superfans are a type of top-tier customer that are earned through hard work, personalization, and ongoing investment in the customer experience.
In simple terms, a superfan is a customer or collaborator (vendor, partner, etc.) who has a shared passion for a brand, company, person, or service. Because they’re invested themselves, they’re more likely to advocate on behalf of this brand, person, or product in their everyday life (to friends, family, clients, and so on).
Moreover, superfans want to see your business succeed today and into the future. They spread awareness about your brand without being asked, and they’re likely your highest source of revenue. In fact, just a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25% increase in profit.
Just as boy bands typically have “superfans,” so do brands. These are the people who wait outside a storefront for a new product launch. They’re the ones tagging the brand on social media, and sharing products with people in their life. They’re natural marketers, performing the most successful kind of referral marketing effortlessly.
The Benefits of Creating Superfans
With that in mind, why create superfans? When you turn passive customers into people who are enthusiastic about your products and services, you reap many benefits:
- Retention: Attracting new customers is time-consuming and costly. While it’s important to always have a marketing strategy to bring in more business, it’s also essential to keep your existing customers coming back.
- Lifetime value: Because your customers come back for repeat purchases and business, you improve your overall lifetime value per customer.
- Marketing budget: Your superfans are marketers. They spread the buzz about your company without you having to spend big bucks for advertising and marketing.
- Feedback: Because your superfans want to see you grow, they’re more likely to share honest and open feedback with your support team. This gives you an opportunity for growth.
- Experience: When you create superfans, you separate yourself from your competition based on your customer experience alone. This is a winning strategy seeing as customer service overtook all other priorities for businesses in 2021.
When you create superfans, you invest in the future of your brand. Every business in every industry benefits from superfans. With so much competition nowadays, it’s no longer enough to be “good.” You have to be “super,” but luckily that’s possible with these steps below.
Turning Customers Into Fans In 5 Steps
Next, it’s time to share clear steps for turning customers into fans. If you already have existing customers, you’ve already started the process. It’s up to you to transform these customers from passive followers into active, excited superfans.
Superfans don’t just appear out of thin air. They’re the product of nurturing and positive interactions. If you’re ready to create fans for your own business, start with these 5 steps below.
Make exceptional customer service a part of your brand.
First, customer service needs to become a foundational part of your brand. Unfortunately, many businesses make a mistake when it comes to their customer service. They believe it belongs only to the customer service department. In reality, customer service isn’t just limited to a single department. It’s everyone’s responsibility.
Whether your customers are interacting with your brand on social media, through a support ticket, or during a sales call, they should have an exceptional experience. Customer service needs to be a part of your entire brand. By breaking down barriers between teams to make sure everyone knows how to deliver outstanding service, you maximize superfan efforts.
To see customer service in action, learn from the experts. According to the Newsweek Customer Service Awards, their top-rated brands practice strong service at every level. For example, the Disney Cruise Line earned an outstanding 9.59, the highest score of any company in America.
How does the Disney Cruise Line stand out? First, they communicate with customers starting months before trips and lasting long after the cruise ends. All crew members are skilled service professionals, whether you’re interacting with a booking agent, steward, or custodian. This cruise line isn’t afraid to pay attention to the small details with customer service, and it pays off.
Show new and existing customers you appreciate their support.
Second, show both new and existing customers that you appreciate and value them. It’s tempting for companies to focus only on new customers. This makes perfect sense. After all, you are actively marketing and selling to them. That being said, your existing customers need just as much appreciation, and they’re just as worthwhile.
In fact, the average customer spends 67% more in their 31-36 months of a relationship with a brand than they do in the first 6 months. This means when you take time to lower your customer churn, you earn more long-term. How do you show both new and existing customers you care?
- Loyalty programs: Treat your customers to a loyalty program. Whether you give them a discount or special offer for making more purchases, encourage loyalty.
- Discounts: Offer your new and existing customers special offers. These shouldn’t just be for first-time purchases—-they’re for everyone.
- Referrals: When your customers refer new customers, thank them with something special, like a discount or freebie.
- Events: Consider hosting special events for both new and existing customers, giving them a special occasion that celebrates them.
One of the brands that know loyalty best is retail giant Amazon. Their Amazon Prime membership is a paid program, but it does wonders when it comes to appreciating existing members just as much as new members.
When users subscribe to Amazon prime, they get music and video streaming, fast delivery, and access to special discounts and offers. With 149.6 million subscribers in the US alone, Amazon has tapped into what it means to recognize your customers long-term.
Be generous, especially with your time.
Third, always be generous, especially when it comes to your time. Your customers want to know that you’re not just dedicated to making sales. You’re also dedicated to their happiness and success. If that means taking extra time for a service call or spending money to improve a product, you’re not afraid to go the extra mile.
Most importantly, be generous with your overall customer experience. You want to be 100% confident your customers are guaranteed the best product, service, and experience each and every time. In fact, 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they’re treated.
A brand that isn’t afraid to be generous with customers is the hair salon Drybar. This isn’t just a place to get your hair styled—it’s an experience. With fun movies playing all day like Sixteen Candles and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, as well as complimentary wine and champagne, it’s easy to see why this is somewhere clients look forward to going.
Though many thought it was outrageous for the founders to invest $400,000 in their first store, Drybar proved that these “extras” were needed to deliver a super experience. Today, Drybar has over 150+ locations across the world after just a decade of operations. Though it might sound simple, Drybar proves how any business can take things to the next level with some generosity.
Highlight customer wins on your website or social channels.
Next, take the time to highlight your customer wins any way you can. These are wins focused on your customers’ own stories with your products or services. For example, if you’re a real estate agent, share how you helped a budding family discover their dream home. These small details not only help you attract your ideal customer, but they build trust in your expertise.
Though you’re highlighting these wins yourself, they also act as social proof. According to recent research, online reviews influence almost 70% of purchase decisions. When people hear of other’s success stories, they are more likely to trust that they’ll find the same success by choosing you.
The clothing retailer Madewell is always quick to share their customer style wins. On their website community page, they make it easy for users to share their own pictures when they mention #Madewell on social media. Not only do these act as style inspiration for future customers, but they build a superfan community.
Better yet, sharing your customers’ stories and user-generated content means less work for you. It’s engaging and unique, letting your customers shine bright on your own platform. After all, your story isn’t just about you and your brand. It’s the intersection of your story and your customer stories.
Seize negative customer experiences as an opportunity to improve.
Last but not least, don’t be intimidated by negative customer experience. Though these can be scary, they’re truly an opportunity for growth. In fact, a negative customer experience is a chance to create a lifelong superfan with the right strategy.
How do you turn a negative into a positive? It’s simple:
- Share thanks: Thank your customer for bringing this to your attention. Most customers fail to share their frustration at all, so this is a chance to grow.
- Empathize: Most customers only want to feel heard and understood. Empathize with them so they know you’re always on their side.
- Take action: Next, take real action to fix the solution. Not sure what to do? Ask the customer what they think is best. More likely than not, you can find a compromise that’s right for everyone.
- Follow up: Make sure the customer is satisfied, and follow up with your team to keep this problem from happening again.
When a customer feels heard and understood, they’re likely to stay a customer in the future. Even if things went wrong, you can offer a solution that builds a stronger relationship with this customer. For example, food delivery giant UberEats offers customers support options upfront. Through their website or app, customers can easily navigate through different support options related to specific orders.
Whether you want a refund, credit, or to talk to someone, you get the help you need fast. Even if customers have a negative experience, they’re likely to continue using that app after getting it fixed quickly. This builds trust in this platform, making UberEats one of the leading food delivery apps.
Become a Superfan Machine
In conclusion, it’s possible to turn any type of brand into a superfan machine. Whether you’re just getting started or revamping your customer strategy, your superfans are the customers who support your brand into the future. Like a brand evangelist, they’re powerful when it comes to referrals, repeat sales, and trust.
Are you trying to achieve more superfans? There’s no magic formula, but you can start by following the steps above. It all comes down to designing a unique, actionable experience your customers are excited about.