Your Free Sales Army

Having a sales force is expensive, which is why only large businesses have them. But, even little ecommerce sites have access to a sales force; their customers. This dormant force can triple the visibility of your brand, and they don’t even need a sales commission.

But, to activate them you need to establish an authentic relationship first. And it’s not like you have to sell a cool item like giantmicrobes.com to have a relationship with customers. Even a vanilla product like “business loans” can have an active customer marketing army.

But your customer’s wouldn’t market for you on their own, even if they love you. The relationship has to be kindled, and the only way to kindle it is to send heartfelt agenda-free custom communications (aka emails). Scott Jordan, CEO of Scottevest.com randomly selects 2 new customers each week and makes a personal “thank you for buying Scottevest customer” video for them. The video isn’t super polished, it doesn’t have to be. But it is 100% authentic and it makes it clear to the buyer that Scott cares about his product and customer.

You don’t have to copy Scott, in fact, you shouldn’t. But you should start thinking about ways in which your product or service is truly remarkable. And don’t think you aren’t remarkable, that’s a slap in the face of the brave shoppers who trusted you with their credit card info. You are remarkable, you just need to spend time thinking about this.

Take 4 weeks thinking about this. It’s a fucking important question.

Once the answer is clear start talking to people who bought from you. Email people who bought 2 years ago and didn’t buy since. Email the new order you had from Birmingham, Alabama 2 days ago. Email the customer who just wrote a review on your Facebook page. Email the person who just placed their 3rd order.

I know, the list looks daunting. You are busy and don’t have time to send personalized emails all day long. Are you planning on spending indefinitely to acquire new customers? Because if you aren’t then you don’t have a choice. So just get over it.

Also, using software automation to get the job done isn’t an option. Stop being lazy. Also, software automation doesn’t work. An online e-tailer had 7 customer reviews on their product page. They were sending the standard template “review request” email to new purchasers, to which hardly anyone responds. They then updated their review request email and made it super personal. The outcome? A 4.6x improvement in customer reviews collected.

If you do this one thing well you will singlehandedly change the trajectory of your business. Do it.

Show Your Personality

Amazon is as big and traditional a retailer as I can think of.

Well, I saw this question on my Amazon homepage (see red arrow):

Quirky.png

Amazon doesn’t even sell invisibility cloaks. So why ask this question? Because it’s a fun question that a visitor wouldn’t expect to see on a site like Amazon. It’s also engaging. And if Amazon knows one thing it’s this: engagement drives brand recall, which drives everything else.

BTW, it turns out 80% Amazon of customers are like me. They want to be invisible:

Quirky_Result.png

Divide and Conquer

Supermeat.com is a startup that sells cultured meat. Cultured meat is made from animal cells, without the use of the animals themselves. It is biologically the same as the meat that comes from animals, but way better for the environment.

Their homepage is genius. They show one question with 2 choices:

Supermeat_com_CTA.png

2 noteworthy observations:

1: Our brain is designed to solve problems, so seeing a question gets our attention.

2: No matter which option you pick Meat is delicious or Stop animal suffering the answer is the same: eat Supermeat.

Let Your Customers Do the Talking

Hat tip to Paige Kusmierz for sharing this.

Expedia is in the business of maximizing profits (you should be too). And the highest margin item one can sell is insurance. So Expedia pushes hard for it. But instead of just pushing it they show a real customer story to drive home their point:

expedia_insurance

Shoppers care way more about the opinion of Mary C from Gloucester than Expedia’s marketing machine. And Expedia knows this.

And the best part is Expedia can A/B/C/n test many travel insurance customer stories to discover the customer review that’s most persuasive.