This may be surprising to hear for some, but your best, most loyal customers might be your worst marketers. This doesn’t mean that your best customers aren’t the best–it just means that they’re most vaunted qualities don’t always overlap with those of a bonafide brand evangelist. Here’s why:
Your Best Customers Don’t Always Have An Audience–And Aren’t Always The Loudest
Your best customers may not have a blog, a Twitter, a Facebook, or heck, even a phone. Your best customers may not even have friends, even (though we certainly hope they do.) Your best customers may be entirely adverse to Web 2.0 and shun social networking sites and the Internet completely. Your best marketers, on the other hand, are usually involved in all of these things to some degree. They might be Thought Leaders in their own right, or head of companies, or someone associated with a celebrity, etc. These are the people you need to reach out to–people that may demonstrate an interest or need for your services but that have a wide, responsive audience.
On the other hand, you may have customers with Twitters and Facebooks galore that just don’t use them very often, or aren’t particularly vocal about services or products they use. The same theory applies–you need to go find the loudest, most actively engaged customers (or potential customers) that you can to get your message out.
Weak Connections Might Be The Most Fruitful
Jacob Morgan, on Social Media Today, quotes the following excerpt from the book Collaboration by Morten Hansen, a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of California, Berkeley:
“But research shows that weak ties can prove much more helpful in networking, because they form bridges to worlds we do not walk within. Strong ties, on the other hand, tend to be worlds we already know; a good friends often knows many of the same people and things we know. They are not the best when it comes to searching for new jobs, ideas, experts, and knowledge. Weak ties are also good because they take less time. It’s less time consuming to talk to someone once a month (weak tie) than twice a week (a strong tie). People can keep up quite a few weak ties without them being a burden.”
Let us reiterate: Weak connections might be, paradoxically, your strongest asset when it comes to marketing your business and networking. Don’t disregard those 1500 friends you have on Facebook and Twitter that you may only be marginally acquainted with; they could provide avenues into worlds (and potential markets) yet unknown. You’re probably familiar with your best customers’ demographic information, interests, etc.–branching out into unexplored territory using “weak ties” will help your business expand as much as possible.
Regulars Are Desensitized To Your Claims
Another factor in why your best customers aren’t your best marketers is maybe markedly obvious: your regular customers are already highly desensitized to your advertising strategy. Let’s face it: most new deals and special offers are designed for “first-time” customers, not the ones that have been with your company through thick and thin. The “wow” factor essentially vanishes once they’ve come to expect excellence, professionalism, and integrity from your company (which is a good thing, obviously.) This is why you need to lure in those “weak ties” mentioned above; a new customer will evangelize to his niche, whatever it is–especially if your product or service ends up playing an unexpectedly positive role in his/her professional or personal life.