As a customer marketer, I know there's no better marketing tool than a happy customer who's willing to speak on your company's behalf. According to a recent study, customer recommendations are up to 10 times more effective in driving sales than a brand's own sales and marketing efforts.
Events are teeming with potential brand advocates — and your event app can help you engage with enthusiastic customers or cultivate new relationships with rising thought leaders.
Here are three strategies you can use to uncover the best sales people you never knew you had: your customers.
Identify Influential Brand Advocates
By simply scanning the event keynote or expo hall, chances are a customer marketer can identify most customers in the room. In fact, I actually think this is part of you job; to know your customers my face and name before arriving to the event. But don't let the familiarity breed complacency. Events are a rare opportunity for customer marketers to interact with existing advocates and to recruit new influencers. And your event app is an invaluable tool to connect with these rising stars.
For example, the DoubleDutch Influencer Dashboard (see below) shows how engaged attendees are and can point out influential attendees who could make great advocates. Find these people, introduce yourself, and make your best pitch for co-marketing activities.
Pay attention intentional actions. Likes, comments, and follows are a good way to separate prolific posters from the truly influential attendees.
Spread Your Social Butterfly Wings
Once you've identified current or prospective brand advocates, use the app to schedule a time to meet during the event. Offer to chat over coffee, or better yet, bring them to happy hour with the rest of your team (always my best move).
Before your meeting, review their account, social media profiles, and talk to their account manager. Then decide your pitch. Do you want them to write a guest post for your blog, or perhaps to speak at your next event? Consider touting your audience's reach or comping their registration fee in exchange for their efforts. Ask them what they want to do. You’d be surprised how many of your customers see speaking gigs as an opportunity to advance their career and it’s a pretty easy win!
If calendars are already filled up, get creative with your tactics. Accounting software provider BlackLine sends out a push notification through its app, offering free swag to the first attendees who participate in a customer testimonial.
"We always get a rush of people, and sometimes we even have to turn people away after reaching our quota of testimonials for the day," says Senior Creative Director, James Kim, of Blackline.
Leverage User-Generated Content
By the end of an event, your app will likely be filled to the brim with loads of user-generated content, from session reviews to speaker feedback, and comments in topic channels. For customer and content marketers, this data is brand advocacy gold.
Reading through attendee comments and reviews, you can even leverage direct quotes from enthusiastic attendees to influence other prospects and customers through blog posts or promotional material. Call upon these customers to and see about using these quotes in sales collateral, on your website, and on social. Here are a couple examples of how I've used quotes on social, highlighting our customers as real thought-leaders within the event space.
For more ideas on how you can flex your customer marketing muscle during your next event, check out this one-pager!