You’re tired of being a best kept secret.
You need to get the word out to drum up more business. More sales. More subscribers. More registrations and enrolments.
You’re convinced that the world will beat a path to your door once they get to know all about you.
Good luck with that.
Your problem isn’t a lack of awareness. Your problem is apathy.
“When I consult with new clients, they often tell me they have an awareness problem: not enough people know about their amazing brand and the wonderful products and services they sell,” says Brittany Hodak, an award-winning entrepreneur, founder of an entertainment start-up and author of Creating Superfans.
“This is sometimes the case, but much more often I find that lots of qualified prospects and leads are aware of them. Many of these people have even considered them before but didn’t convert.”
Here’s the hard truth. Your prospects and leads don’t care enough to buy whatever you’re selling. They’re apathetic in large part because they’re not hearing from your current and former customers. The people you’ve done business with aren’t singing your praises because your best kept secret isn’t actually the best.
You’ve left them underwhelmed, unimpressed and uninspired. “The product was fine; the service was okay. It was all very…forgettable. Ordinary. And so, when the time came to purchase again, they rolled the dice and tried another solution.”
No one raves to family, friends and strangers about a product or service that’s ordinary and forgettable. And that silence is deadly when so many of our purchasing decisions are driven by reviews, recommendations and testimonials.
“If your customers aren’t telling their friends about you, you’re in trouble,” says Hodak. “You can’t afford to let your customers become numb, comfortably or otherwise. Apathy drives attrition and eats away at your profits. If you’re not paying attention, your customers can shrug and move on with their lives. Your customer always has other options.”
So what’s the cure for apathy? Superfans. These are the customers who create more customers for you because they love what you do. They’re incredibly loyal and very vocal.
“A superfan is a customer or stakeholder who is so delighted by their experience with a brand, product or service that they become an enthusiastic advocate,” says Hodak. “Superfandom is real, authentic enthusiasm from true supporters.”
You can’t buy superfans. You have to earn them.
And you do that by delivering outstanding personalized experiences that exceed expectations. “Find a way to create as many net positive experiences as possible. Can you pay an invoice early? Deliver something sooner than promised? Provide real-time updates before you’re even asked? Say ‘thank you’ with a handwritten note? Acknowledge someone’s contribution ni front of a group? Set the bar high and then systematically raise it with your actions.”
You also need to find a way to overlap your story with your customer’s story. “Stories accelerate the path to connection,” says Hodak.
“To connect your story with every customer’s story, you’ve got to understand the struggles that led them to this point, the transformation they’re hoping to undergo, the options in the customer’s minds that are competing with whatever you’re offering, any reservations they have about moving forward and whether you are the best solution to their problem.
“If you do your job correctly, your customers will talk about you (and, more importantly, get their friends listening) – it makes them feel a sense of ownership in your brand. Your story becomes part of their story.”
So if you’re tired of being a best kept secret, don’t jump to getting the word out. Instead, do a better job of being exceptional in a way that’ll win over the customers you have. Show them some serious love. Tell them your origin story, understand your customers’ stories and weave the stories together. Some of your customers are ready to be your biggest superfans.
Jay Robb serves as the communications manager for McMaster University’s Faculty of Science, lives in Hamilton and has reviewed business books for the Hamilton Spectator since 1999.