Customer marketing is an increasingly popular concept in marketing circles, but what is it exactly? How can these highly customer-centric programs increase customer loyalty, make more sales, and get more of your customers to advocate for your brand?
It’s not actually a new idea — customer marketing is also known as customer advocacy, which has been a business concept for a long time. The way marketers approach it has changed, and nurturing relationships with customers is no longer exclusively done by large corporations.
A big part of customer marketing is focused on creating social proof for your brand. This includes producing customer success stories, testimonials, and videos recordings of happy customers talking about your product to help convince new customers to buy.
The kind of social proof that customer marketing generates can help your sales team close more deals and increase online conversions — whether you are a huge enterprise or a small business.
Smaller organizations are dedicating resources to the power of social proof and using technology to make it easier to get their customers to vouch for them in testimonials and through other customer marketing strategies.
In this article, we’ll first look at the following:
- What is customer marketing?
- How does it improve on other marketing strategies?
- Three types of customer marketing you can use in your own business.
Finally, we’ll look at how our platform, Vocal Video, helps companies get started with customer marketing by making it extremely easy for customers to create video testimonials and video feedback, which can then be used as a starting point to create more elaborate customer stories, case studies, and more.
What is customer marketing?
Customer marketing describes any marketing effort focused on your existing customers.
It’s all about creating strong, two-way relationships with your customers and engaging with them on a personal level, listening to what they have to say, and giving them a platform to air their opinions.
A strong customer marketing strategy focuses on building trust, encouraging customer loyalty, and leveraging the advocacy of existing happy customers to attract new ones.
While the first step is to focus on retaining your existing customers by providing a great customer experience, and thus increasing sales, customer marketing also involves getting them to advocate for your brand and promote it on your behalf.
While you improve your relationship with existing customers, you also use customer marketing to attract new customers.
Examples of Customer Marketing
- Customer testimonials (video, quote, written testimonials, etc.)
- Case studies (written case studies, video case studies)
- Thought-leadership content
- Webinars (providing training, insights into areas of expertise, and more)
- Customer references
How is customer marketing better than other strategies?
Customer marketing is well-known to be a more affordable marketing approach than other, less customer-centric strategies (e.g. generic brand campaigns, marketing content focused on what your company wants to talk about, and traditional advertising to large audiences).
In our experience, return on investment (ROI) for customer marketing activities tends to be much higher than for more generalist, and less-targeted marketing.
Keeping your current customers and increasing their spend is a proven way of growing your business without a massive investment. Similarly, using brand advocates to promote your products and services is both more effective and cheaper than traditional advertising, for example.
Affordability can also have a downside, though, and customer marketing managers are often allocated a smaller budget than is ideal, as a result. In these circumstances, marketing managers need to find affordable solutions for their customer marketing efforts, which not only provide significant growth, but are also more cost-effective and efficient to implement in the first place.
With this in mind, our own video marketing platform, Vocal Video, has been designed for you to reach out to your current customers easily and quickly let them record video testimonials, reviews, and interviews on your behalf (more on this below), which you can leverage in various ways for your marketing.
3 types of customer marketing you can use in your business
There are three main types of customer marketing to consider when you implement a customer marketing strategy for the first time:
Customer retention marketing
Focusing on customer retention rates — keeping the customers you have — is well regarded as an essential piece of maintaining business growth.
In addition, getting your current customer base to spend more with you, more often, is considered a more cost-effective way of growing your business than attracting new customers through customer acquisition.
The first step is to create happy customers and nurture lasting customer relationships to reduce your churn rate — the rate at which customers stop doing business with you.
This means ensuring you provide the best possible customer experience, give great customer support, listen carefully to customer feedback, and act on it — to improve your products and business. Once you have satisfied those existing customer needs, you can more easily cross-sell and upsell other products to them.
Examples of Customer Retention Strategies
- Free events, workshops, conferences, and webinars on a topic of interest to your current customers that is also tangentially related to what you sell. If you sell bedding, for example, a workshop about sleep may be interesting to your current customers.
- Focusing your email marketing on existing customers to give them information about product launches, new features, and current promotions. If you give current customers access to this information before releasing it to the wider public, they feel more valued by your brand, and singled out as special.
- Offer promotions that are limited to current customers, such as a higher discount on products if they have purchased from you in the last six months, for example.
Note: Customer lifecycle marketing is a sub-category of customer retention marketing, which is focused on mapping out the entire customer journey and optimization of that journey so that the buying process is as friction-free and positive as possible, and is conducive to complete customer satisfaction. By optimizing all your marketing and customer communication channels and targeting your messaging, you can more easily turn your prospect into a paying customer.
Customer advocacy marketing
This effective customer marketing approach involves making use of the relationships you build with your existing customers to reach new customers. It is similar to traditional word-of-mouth marketing, but makes greater use of social media channels and digital marketing.
The first step in implementing an advocacy marketing strategy is to identify not just satisfied customers, but actual brand advocates, or those that actively engage with, and promote your products and services. Surveying customers using the Net Promoter System (NPS) you can identify those that score your brand at 9 or 10 (on a 10-point scale) as true advocates. Anyone below that level may require a lot more effort on your part to turn them into a promoter.
You can also identify key customers by monitoring mentions on social media, looking out for five-star reviews, and keeping an eye on who replies to your calls for testimonials and reviews.
These brand advocates are the people you can use for your advocacy marketing efforts. They may be social media influencers with a large following, who actively mention your brand in a positive way on their channels and accounts, or may simply be individual customers who have really been taken with your brand.
Examples of Customer Advocacy Marketing
- Positive user quotes displayed on your landing pages and social media channels.
- Product reviews provided by social media influencers in return for receiving the product prior to the official launch.
- Brand advocates featured in webinars and appearing at conferences on subjects related to your brand.
To encourage your advocates, you can offer incentives such as discounts, early access to new products and features, and enroll them in referral programs. It’s important, however, that your advocacy policy is transparent, and prospective customers should be made aware of the incentives that have been offered in return for recommendations, reviews, and appearances.
Customer testimonial marketing
Customer testimonial marketing involves using real testimonials from your satisfied customers to encourage new customers to buy. Testimonials are a form of social proof and are effective because hearing about the benefits of your product from a real customer is more believable and authentic than any marketing content or advertisement you put together yourself.
The benefits of using customer testimonials in your marketing are clear:
- 72% of customers have more trust in a brand if it displays testimonials.
- 92% of customers say they find non-paid recommendations (real testimonials) more believable than advertisements and use them to make buying decisions.
Video testimonials are particularly effective customer marketing tools compared with testimonial quotes or written case studies, as shown in the image below.
According to a Vocal Video survey, 88% of marketing teams say testimonial videos convert 10%+ more than marketing campaigns without them, and almost 50% see conversions increase by 25%+.
This is because prospective customers can actually see and hear the person giving the recommendation and are more likely to trust them. Video also provides better customer engagement, with viewers watching for longer than they would read a text testimonial.
We founded Vocal Video because we experienced the power of video firsthand while working at other companies. We created our video recording platform when we discovered how complex, expensive, and time-consuming traditional video production was. Our software was built to simplify and quickly scale the process of collecting and recording videos from customers.
How Vocal Video helps you use video for customer marketing
Vocal Video is a customer marketing platform that makes it easy for businesses to collect customer testimonials and feedback videos.
Traditionally, customer marketing videos have been expensive and time-consuming to create, and because of this, they aren’t usually included in the first steps of a customer marketing strategy.
Using Vocal Video, rather than taking weeks or months to put a single video together, you can record and collect multiple videos whenever you need them for your marketing content.
Although expensively produced and elaborate videos may be a part of your customer marketing strategy in the future, Vocal Video allows you to create professionally-styled videos no matter your budget and available timescale. Well-funded teams like Google Cloud use Vocal Video alongside more time-consuming and expensive video production methods because our platform lets them target a whole range of audiences in a flexible and responsive way.
Among other types of video, you can use Vocal Video as part of your customer marketing to record:
- Customer stories
- Feedback for internal use
- Customer-facing, and sales videos
How to record customer marketing videos with Vocal Video
We specifically designed Vocal Video to make it easy for anyone, regardless of their video production expertise, to create high quality videos for their customer marketing. Our videos are recorded by your customers, on your behalf, quickly and asynchronously — and are automatically edited. Each video is ready to publish as soon as the customer finishes recording and submits the video to you.
Here’s an example of a customer testimonial recorded using Vocal Video:
The brand advocates and customers you ask to record a video can do it on their own time, and at their own pace. It takes as little as 5 minutes to record a Vocal Video on any device, making it a friction-free experience for your customers, so they are more likely to record a video for you. It’s also straightforward for you to set the recording process up for your customers, which means you’ll request videos from them more frequently, too.
Here’s how to collect and record a customer video using our platform:
Easily Build a “Video Collector”
Firstly, you build a video collector, which is what we call the step-by-step process that customers follow to record their video. It take you just a few minutes using our video collector builder, which prompts you to add:
- One to five questions to ask your customer.
- An optional incentive to record the video (gifts, discounts, donations, or entry into Vocal Video’s prize drawing).
- Your brand’s logos and colors.
- A welcome message or video.
Building a Video Collector is even quicker when you use one of our 45 video collector templates.
Send customers and brand advocates a link to record a video
When you’ve finished building your Video Collectors, Vocal Video generates an automatic link for you to send out to your brand advocates by email, SMS, by posting on social media, or on messaging apps. The link is can be sent to and used by as many customers as you want.
All your customer has to do is click on the link to be taken to your Vocal Video landing page to record the video. They don’t need to sign in or download any apps or software, they simply click and follow the prompts on the screen.
The collector gives them tips on how to record a great video, including using a quiet, well-lit room, relaxing, and smiling for the camera.
The prompts get them to read each question one-by-one, prepare what they want to say, and then press the record button. They can watch each recorded response to check how it looks. If they want to make changes, they can redo their recording.
As soon as they are happy with their recording they click “submit” and the video makes its way to you.
Vocal Video automatically edits your customer’s video
By the time you watch your customer video for the first time, Vocal Video has already pre-edited it so it looks professional and in line with your branding. You don’t need to use another editing tool to make your video watchable. Our automatic editing process includes the following:
- Title slides
- Question slides
- Your business branding, colors, and logo
- Animated transitions
- Captions and a computer-generated transcript
- Background music
- A call-to-action
Use Vocal Video’s extra editing tools for more impact
If you’d prefer to edit your customer videos further, for more impact, or create a highlight reel of several videos, we also give you a suite of easy-to-use editing tools to do that. All the editing tools you need are available right within our platform, and you don’t need any experience to get the most out of them. They are built on a drag-and-drop system and can be mastered in just a few minutes.
With Vocal Video’s editing tools, you can:
- Rearrange the order of (or delete) each video scene.
- Trim scenes.
- Alter colors and branding.
- Change the background music and adjust volume.
- Edit the captions and transcript.
- Create highlight reels from several videos.
Share your customer videos as often as you want
Because customer marketing is all about getting social proof content in front of prospective customers, Vocal Video offers limitless video sharing using our automatically generated embed codes and share links.
Vocal Video: Kickstart your customer marketing program with video
Vocal Video gives you the tools you need to start using video as an integral part of your customer marketing program, as soon as you draw up a strategy. It can be used to collect feedback from customers as part of a customer retention strategy, and for recording video testimonials.
Our asynchronously recorded customer marketing videos can also be a starting point for creating more elaborate marketing assets such as case studies and customer stories.
If you’d like to see for yourself how Vocal Video can help you quickly launch your customer marketing strategy using video, sign up for a free Vocal Video account.