How Happy Customers “Do The Marketing For You” (For Free)

The most ethical way to market and grow your business is to let your happy customers share their results, refer others, and help you reach new customers/clients.

Silver text on green background that says, How Happy Customers Do The Marketing For You (For Free) with an illustration of a crowd of raised hands, each with a heart in the palm representing happy customers.

It’s every business owner’s dream ~ saving money on ad spend and social media efforts because their happy customers are spreading the word, referring others, driving traffic to sales pages, tagging the brand in posts, creating UGC, and posting positive reviews.

Every business wants a free “street team” of customers/clients who help with marketing and sales!

For most brands though, it’s quite a struggle. Which is why companies exist that provide UGC for a fee and why loyalty & rewards programs are so popular.

But as we discussed in part 1 of this series, ethical, do-good brands have a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace that helps them outperform the “don’t care” competition and enjoy bigger profit margins and lower expenses. (Click here if you missed Part 1.)

And that competitive advantage ~ having a brand that people get excited about and want to support ~ makes it infinitely easier to inspire buyers to become brand champions who do a lot of the marketing for you. (And all they want in return is for your business to grow and thrive so they can keep enjoying your products/services.)

(Also mentioned in Part 1 ~ we use “customers” as a catch-all phrase that includes clients, students, and anyone who is buying from you.)

Now, it goes without saying that you need to start with happy customers.

Everything that happens after the point of sale (aka your “customer experience”) should help your new customer ~

get their hands on the thing they bought,

close up photo of a woman's hands holding 4 balls of yarn. The photo represents happy customers getting their hands on the things they buy - product delivery.

use it,

close up photo of a woman's hands holding a crochet needle and yarn, in the process of crocheting a round item. The photo represents customers using the things they buy as part of the customer experience.

and get results from it.

Photo of a beautiful crocheted rug under a coffee table, next to a couch and chair. The photo represents customer success when they get results from the things they buy as part of the customer experience.

This is the bare minimum for happy customers.

Of course, results vary and not everyone needs to finish using your offer to get results they’re happy with. (And yes, even things like compostable garbage bags provide a “result” for the person who buys it. That’s a topic for another post but get in touch if you’re not sure how your offers deliver results.)

Here’s the catch ~ not all happy customers become brand champions.

Happy customers often feel the joy and fall in love with your brand while they’re using it. But it might never occur to them to share your brand or their results with others. Happy customers may or may not remember to buy from you again!

The “bare minimum” creates happy customers, but not brand champions.

A strategic customer experience is what turns happy customers into brand champions. And brand champions are essential to bigger profit margins and lower costs.

Which is why you might already have a list full of happy customers that haven’t been converted into brand champions yet. Don’t worry ~ I’m going to show you exactly how that works in this article.

Remember that list of KPI’s we looked at on the previous page? The ones that boost profits and reduce expenses? Well let’s look at exactly how brand champions help you achieve those targets:

How Brand Champions Boost Your Sales KPIs

Happy customers don’t hurt your brand, but they may or may not actually do anything to help.

Brand champions, on the other hand, gleefully do some (or ALL) of the following things for the brands they love. You may even recognize actions you’ve done for your favorite brands:

✅ Leave comments about their success on your ads, increasing social proof, conversions, and ROAS (all of which reduces ad costs.)

Screenshot of a social media ad that shows this is a sponsored post with a comment from a happy customer. The comment is specific about their success and how this course helped them get those results.

An example of a social media ad where happy customers comment about their results and how this offer specifically helped them achieve those results.

(I blurred out the names because I don’t know anything about this brand or whether they run an ethical business.)

✅ Create UGC (user-generated content) and leave positive reviews on autopilot without being bribed with gift cards or purchased from UGC networks. I have a lot to say about UGC, but I’ll try to save it for another post. In a nutshell, UGC (on its own) can increase sales for the featured product by almost 20%!!! UGC also increases sales for all your other offers too (typically 10%!)1

UGC is like having a street team of micro-influencers showing off how much they love your product/program/service and encouraging others to buy it too.

Organic UGC increases your social proof and organic traffic (aka more leads without ad spend!). UGC also leads to higher conversions because referrals are more qualified traffic than people who have never heard of you. Positive reviews increase sales conversions and social proof which boosts ROAS and lowers ad costs. Not to mention how much you save on social media marketing when your customers create content for you!

(If you’re unfamiliar with what UGC is, click on this sentence for a quick explanation.)

UGC stands for User Generated Content and it’s basically any content your customers, clients, students, or “users” create about your brand, products, services, courses, etc.

For example, makeup tutorials on Instagram are UGC for the makeup being used. When someone posts photos or videos of their pets and tag the food or harness or carrier or clothing, that’s also UGC. If someone posts a photo of the dinner they made and tags the cooking school or cookbook where they got the recipe from, that’s UGC.

A few examples from Indigenous-woman-founded beauty brand Cheekbone Beauty:

Notice how this post not only tags the brand but also talks about the mission and purpose behind the brand, highlighting the values this person shares with this brand in an attempt to attract like-minded people and support the company.

All this from a customer, not an employee!

This one is a straight up makeup tutorial showing off the products and highlighting shared values in the hashtags. You can tell what’s important to this influencer ~ vegan, sustainable, and natural makeup and supporting indigenous people.
When your brand aligns itself with a cause that people care about, you get UGC for that too! Ethical brands are so easy to share and support, like this post for Indigenous People’s Day that spotlights indigenous-owned businesses.

✅ Proudly tag your business when people ask for recommendations and refer everyone they know because the more people buy from you, the more their favorite brands and causes gain support.

This sends a steady stream of organic traffic to your sales pages which increases sales without ad spend. There’s also the added bonus for the person referring where they get to feel like the hero when they introduce someone to an amazing experience. Referring an amazing experience makes the referrer look good, which elevates their status in their own mind as well as others.

screenshot of a social media post where the person is gushing about how happy they are with their results from this brand and how highly they recommend others join the program. It clearly states that the link shared is not an affiliate link and they get nothing from sharing it other than feeling the need to share something that made them feel so amazing.

An example of a social media post where a happy customer is gushing about the results they got & sharing the link because they “want everyone else to feel this amazing too.

(I blurred out the name for privacy reasons and the link because we no longer offer this program.)

✅ Jump at the chance to buy from you again and again because they LOVED what it felt like to buy from you before. This increases ROAS (you now have 2+ sales for the one-time cost of acquiring that customer) and profit margins (you made a new sale without ad spend.)

✅ Take action on your Calls To Action. Whether you’re asking them to buy the next thing, engage in your customer community, or participate in an event, brand champions are more likely to act. And engagement is almost as valuable as sales these days!

Engaged customers are more likely to keep you top of mind when it’s time to buy, more likely to open your emails and comment on your social media posts. Which, in turn, makes them more likely to see your sales promos, announcements, and CTAs. Plus, their engagement boosts your overall reach and engagement, so you spend less time, money, and energy on lead generation.

For example, the brand in the screenshot below hosted a FREE live event where only 4 people showed up out of 498. That’s less than 1% for a free invite.

screenshot of an online event page that shows the guest list of 498 customers were invited but only 4 attended because this brand didn't have an engaged list of brand champions.

Don’t let this happen to your brand! A list of happy customers might ignore your invites, but your brand champions will show up en masse!

The difference between happy customers and brand champions

Happy customers might do one or two of these things (if it occurs to them and they feel motivated enough.)

The main difference between a happy customer and a brand champion is the level of awareness and desire to support your business.

Happy customers might see your email asking for a review and ignore it because it feels like too much effort, even though they’re genuinely pleased with the things they bought from you. (Yes, even when you offer compensation like gift cards or other rewards!)

Brand champions will jump at the chance to leave a 5-star review that talks about the specific results they got from using your offer (with or without seeing that email.)

Best of all, brand champions help you grow your movement and turn your business into a force for good in the world. They’re active in your online communities, they defend your brand against haters, they’ll sign petitions, clean up beaches, plant trees, or whatever else you invite them to do in the name of changing the world!

Optimizing Your Lead Gen & Sales Funnels Vs Optimizing Your Customer Experience Funnels

We get this question a lot. If brand champions are so great, why not optimize your lead gen and sales funnels to attract brand champions? That’s where the money is, right?

Optimizing your lead gen, traffic, and sales page conversions can increase your income. And you absolutely should focus some of your time/energy/money on optimizing them because you want to get as many leads as possible while paying Zuck (or Musk, or Google) as little as possible.

Because new leads always come at an expense. (Even organic methods come at the cost of your time and energy.) You have to keep feeding the machine with your time, effort, and/or money.

Otherwise, sales start to dwindle.

Here’s a quick little video for my visual learners. You can watch it with the sound on or off (the captions are included on the slides.)

For bigger profit margins (i.e. bigger income AND reduced expenses) you need brand champions. Brand champions will talk about your brand, rave about their results, and keep buying from you, without asking for anything in return other than to keep selling the things that help them make a difference in the world.

And brand champions are the result of happy customers who fall so deeply in love with your brand, they can’t help but share their experiences with others.

Remember earlier, when we talked about the bare minimum your customer experience (CX) needs to provide to create a happy customer?

Brand champions are what happens when your CX goes above and beyond the bare minimum to create an experience they fall in love with. Brand champions are created by your customer experience funnels.

This is the key to making “change the world” money in your ethical business (and a peek at what we’ll cover in the remaining 2 pages of the guide you’re reading right now.) 😊

So, the question isn’t whether you should invest (time/money/energy) into optimizing your front-end funnels or your back-end funnels. You should do both.

The question is: which one will help you meet your current goals faster?

a curved, teal arrow with a silver outline, pointing down. the arrow is part of the graphics we use to increase customer understanding and customer success.

If you’re ready to reduce expenses (slowly, over time) by maximizing the effectiveness of your lead gen and sales funnels, then focus on your front-end funnels.

A series of silver and tan dots in the shape of an arrow pointing downward. the arrow is part of the graphics we use to increase customer understanding and customer success.

Most front-funnel optimizations will boost sales by a fraction of a percent at a time. (But a fraction of a percent might represent thousands of dollars of new income, depending on your situation.)

For example, if you have a low-ticket introductory offer that you run ads to, your sales funnel is probably getting somewhere between 3-5% sales conversions from cold traffic.

To optimize it for a better conversion rate, you might change what visitors see first (above the fold) and A/B test the old version against the new version. And after a few tests, you’d stick with the one that increases conversions by 0.5%.

Next, you might optimize the checkout page for another .03% improvement. Same goes for ads. You might improve your CTR or conversion rate by 0.5% at a time.

And all of that costs money while you test the changes.

(Naturally, some marketing experts are amazing at boosting conversion rates and they might help you get bigger improvements. But even they will warn you at the beginning, if they’re ethical, that small changes at a time are the norm.)

It’s a long-game with increasing returns in the long run.

a curved, teal arrow with a silver outline, pointing down. the arrow is part of the graphics we use to increase customer understanding and customer success.

On the other hand, if you want to quickly increase your profit margins, reduce expenses, and enjoy happy customers who do the marketing for you, then focus on your back-end funnels: your customer experience funnels.

A series of silver and tan dots in the shape of an arrow pointing downward. the arrow is part of the graphics we use to increase customer understanding and customer success.

The funnels (or processes) you use to deepen customer relationships and turn first-time buyers into loyal, repeat customers/clients is going to help you scale faster.

Optimizing your CX gives you quick returns while you wait for the long game to pan out.

For example, overhauling your Thank You (order confirmation) page can boost customer retention by 5-30% in one sweep! And a 5% increase in customer retention can boost your overall income by as much as 95%!2 🤯

Let me say that again ~

Boosting your retention rate by just 5% can nearly double your income!

So let’s focus on optimizing your customer experience for the rest of the guide, shall we?

We’ll talk about Thank You pages (aka order confirmation pages) on the next page so you can see for yourself the difference it makes.

And on the last page (page 4), we’ll take a closer look at different customer experience assets so you can see where yours are on the optimization spectrum and map out a plan of action for what you want to focus on.

(You can also skip the next 2 pages if you want us to do it for you. Learn more here: CX Starter Kit.)

Next: How To Turn Happy Customers Into Brand Champions

Ok, so now you have a clear idea of how to match your goals to the right tactics.

If you want Zuck getting less of your money, you should optimize your lead gen, sales funnels, and customer experience funnels.

If your lead gen and sales funnels are breaking even or profitable (different metrics for different kinds of offers), then optimizing your customer experience funnels will help you reduce expenses and boost profit margins faster (and free up extra money for the long-game of optimizing your front-end funnels.)

If your goal is to turn happy customers into brand champions who do (at least some of) the marketing for you, then you absolutely, 100% want to optimize your customer experience funnels.

Because brand champions aren’t some kind of unicorn customer/client that you can attract with your lead gen.

Brand champions are created by the quality of your customer experience ~ the EXPERIENCE of buying from you.

Your do-good change-the-world message can be loud and clear in your
✅ ads,
✅ social media posts,
✅ sales pages,
✅ and offers…
And still fail to inspire your customers/clients to buy everything you sell or shout about their results from the rooftops.
(We’ll look at why on the next page.)

Your sales funnels might be expertly written and designed, but if you don’t have an active community of brand champions helping you grow and scale your business, then it’s probably time to optimize what happens after the sale.

Because brand champions aren’t people who are just wired differently with built-in motivation to forward your movement. (Some are, but they’re rare.)

Happy customers become brand champions when your post-sale experience is so f@#%ing delightful that they can’t help but get excited and take action.

In the next section, I’ll show you the exact moment in your customer experience that makes or breaks brand champions (which most businesses muck up, causing them to struggle with retention rates, referrals, and repeat sales.)

Click to continue:

  1. UGC statistics from this Comscore study but we’ve seen similar results in our client’s results. ↩︎
  2. Harvard Business Review reported that a 5% increase in customer retention rates can increase profits by 25% – 95% in this article which is partly based on this interesting paper. ↩︎
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About Mollie

4252c6096f782c6f71af624e50294fc8?s=90&d=blank&r=pgHere's what's new around here:

😍 Find out if your brand has what it takes to turn buyers into brand champions (and make a difference every time you make a sale!) Book an introductory "CX Starter Kit" assessment to get expert eyes on your customer experience and a checklist of simple optimizations for boosting your KPI's. Go to CX Starter Kit to learn more.

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