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3 Ways To Feature Customers in Your Marketing

When it comes to marketing, we all have the habit of thinking about client involvement only in terms of case studies. While case studies are great, there is so much more that you can do collaboratively with your clients that can serve both of your interests. 

A local HVAC company in my community recently started a very effective advertising campaign by making other businesses the stars of the show. Owners of these local small businesses are filmed at their own location talking about the value of the HVAC company's services. The community businesses get some free advertising and the HVAC company builds credibility and goodwill in supporting the local economy. Everyone wins.

Make Customers the Star
If your market focus includes regional small businesses, testimonials from local businesses are powerful and can be used through a number of marketing vehicles, like:

  • a series of ads in the regional business paper,
  • your Web site and in your monthly newsletter, and
  • print ads in multiple publications (a consistent layout or design will build brand recognition).

Another place where you can star your customer is at a regional business or industry trade show. Your customers often attend the same shows where you exhibit and may be happy to spend a few hours in the booth. For larger trade shows, a session abstract proposal that includes a customer presentation will be far more compelling to the selection committee.

Seminars and Webinars with a Customer Focus
Presentations are much more meaningful when the real value of your service can be described by an outside observer. There are multiple ways that you can include your customers in seminar and webinar marketing activities.

  • Combine forces with one or more of your client companies that serve the same market to provide additional content and value for prospects. Each company can send out announcements to their own mailing list, increasing your reach while protecting your lists.

  • Invite one of your customers to talk about how the technology helped their business on your next webinar. Their comments can break up the presentation and add real-life experience to your message.

  • You may even meet a prospect through your networking activities who would be a good candidate to speak at an event. What better way to build a relationship than to feature that person in your next seminar? People are flattered to be asked to share their knowledge.

Content from Your Customers
Take a look at your customer list from a different perspective. Some of your customers (including consumer-focused businesses) surely serve the same businesses that you do -- either regionally or vertically. Ask them to contribute a quarterly article to your newsletter or blog. You get additional content that could be of interest to your prospects and they get access to a new audience.  

Adding a request for content to your monthly newsletter may bring a response from an unexpected source. If you don't ask, you may be missing a great partnering opportunity.

Have you found a unique way to include your customers in marketing?  Please drop me a note and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on June 30, 2011