Category: Inbound Marketing

Religion, business & creating brand evangelists

Brand evangelism is something critical to business.

It’s the act of having customers and promoters so in love and so trusting of what you do that they’re excited to tell the world about it.

It is of course the most effective and trusted form of marketing.

The word evangelism is tightly linked to the Christian faith, and whilst I’m not a particularly religious person, I know that business can learn a lot from the way in which religion operates.

Imagine if you could get people believing so strongly in your product or service that they passionately tell others about it of their own free will…

The free will part here is important. People aren’t being enticed by money or incentives, they’re down it because the whole heartedly believe in you and in your business’s values and ethics.

The most famous, if not first user of the term evangelism for marketing was Guy Kawasaki, “chief evangelist” at Apple. 

Justin Bieber labels his fans as ‘beliebers’ – and if you haven’t yet noticed, in the eyes of these ‘beliebers’ Justin can do no wrong.

5 actions you can apply to create evangelists for your business

So what are the 5 actions you can apply to create evangelists for your business?

1. Set the narrative

People connect with what you stand for if you have a story that’s relevant to them. Be clear with your narrative. The best way to do this is to have an easily accessible set of ‘key messages’ that stands the test of time. They’ll likely be messages that you’ll get bored of well before your ‘believers’ do. Then show examples/proof of how those key messages relate directly to the lives of your target customers and how your business delivers on these key messages.

2. Know your audience

What do they need? When are you most important to them? If you don’t know the answers to these basic questions, then your brand is unlikely to find a space in their mind and will have no chance of finding a space in their heart which is where evangelism lives. 

3. Be consistent

The only time most religions come under attack is when they’re seen to have double standards (although the evangelism amongst believers is usually high enough to negate the occasional slip up).

Only through consistency will people feel comfortable enough to sing your praises, because they have to be sure that what they experienced is what their friend is likely to experience.

4. It’s a science of emotions

If anyone has ever been to a church service, especially the more modern churches, you’ll see that many resemble a rock concert. The music has highs for inspiration and aspiration, and lows that conjure the chance to reflect on where you’re at in life.

Every part of the service from the video screens, to the lighting, to the tone of the ministers voice is perfectly timed, to deliver the narrative properly and to reach out to the emotions of the audience. Many pyramid selling schemes, and even corporate speakers also utilise the same techniques to ensure people are engaged with the purpose of being there. It’s not trickery, it’s just plain smart.

How is your business engaging with the emotional journey of your audience?

5. Know how you’re making the world a better place

The thing about religion, despite the fact that religions tend to have both positive and negative outcomes, is that people are driven to take whatever action they’re taking because they intently believe they’re making the world a better place.

Let’s be clear what some people see as loving, others see as evil, but the common thread is that both sides are doing it because they believe it makes the world better. So, how is your product or service improving the world? Know it, show examples of it and keep it clear in your messaging.

The Point: 

Business can learn a lot from religion. And it shouldn’t be assumed that people of faith already know the tips above. In fact because they’re within the cycle, they may even be less likely to see it, or if they’re aware they may just never have thought of transferring the key principles to business.

Word of mouth marketing is always the most effective marketing. It’s less about what you advertise, and much more about your values and key messages experienced through touch points that will bring customers inbound.

Which 50% of your marketing works?

Hi there! 

I can’t tell you how many people I bump in to that use the line “we know half of our marketing works, we just don’t know which half!” It’s meant to be a joke but it’s really not funny.

What they’re really saying is, “I have no idea how useful 100% of my marketing budget is and I don’t even try to measure it.”

As a brand strategist I know the power of emotion to move people. Emotion though is hard to track…but it’s not impossible. And it’s certainly not impossible to measure the effect of other marketing activities either.

Now measuring marketing activities isn’t easy and I admit that, that’s why there are trained marketers that do what they do, but without measurement I can guarantee you’re throwing your money away.

So…here’s what you need to do:

1. Start to measure

The most basic thing you can do is measure how many units of something you’re selling each day, week or month (dependent on how your business works). Then compare periods. 

If there are differences, ask yourself what’s changed in the market place and what marketing have you done differently. It seems really obvious, but it’s amazing how often this isn’t being done.



2. Don’t start any marketing without a plan

And by a plan I mean knowing what the purpose of the campaign is, what effects you expect to see and how you’ll measure it.

It could be as simple as asking your staff to ask customers how they heard about you or by including a drop-down option on your website ‘contact us’ form.

If you know what the outcome is expected to be, that will give you a hint on how you’re going to measure it. Get creative.


3. Use a calendar to measure 

Do you have your Google Analytics account, and do you check the stats to see how many people visited your site on any given day or time? If you do, then grab a blank calendar and draw in the dates that you had specific marketing activity that promoted your website. Then look for correlation between what marketing activity you had on any particular day, and see if it correlates to any changes on your website.

For one client we knew they had an average of 17 unique users per day on a particular product page but when they had a quality TV ad running that pointed to this product, it went up to 90 during the viewing period.

We couldn’t be 100% sure it was the TV ad, but it happened again the same week. When the TVC stopped, it started to average out again. Of course this didn’t turn directly in to sales, but we know it had an effect in bringing people closer and then looked at how well the website was performing.


4. Cause and effect isn’t linear

One doesn’t simply put an advert in the paper and have it convert directly to a sale. It’s general marketing understanding that it takes at least seven touch points in order to move a person from being a lead to being a sale. 

This is one reason social media is such an important tool. Because of this, it can be helpful to measure other stages in building the relationship, not just the sale. For example, measure the cost of each person that likes your Facebook page, then measure the cost of getting them to eventually become a customer (there will be a few other stages in between). Experienced marketers will be measuring the cost of delivering each of the touchpoints in their control and working out which ones have the greatest effect.


5. The trend is your friend

Not every day is a good day. Even on social media, you win some, you lose some. For all of our clients we track which posts people like the most and which ones they don’t. It allows us to get to know them better and deliver messages that add value to their lives.

Yes we measure and analyse data from the emails we send out, including how many people clicked through to our blog. It’s not ‘big brother’, it’s us wanting to know what you value most without annoying you by ‘sending out a survey’. This allow us to provide you with content that’s valuable to you, our intended audience. 


These points are only a very basic starting point, but something is better than nothing!


The point

  • If you don’t try to measure then you could be (actually you definitely are) spending a lot of money that’s having no effect at all, and at worse could actually be turning customers away…but how would you know?
  • Measurement also allows you to get to know what your customers want and care about the most. In a world that has as much competition in it as ours does, understanding what your target customer cares about is essential.


Contact us to see how we can partner with you to help you build a brand people rave about.