Creative Marketing Approaches: Interview Your Best Customers
Advertisements are great, but it’s very difficult to hide their intent. As soon as we see an ad come up on our television screen, computer monitor, phone or tablet, we already know the ad creator is trying to sell us something. With that knowledge comes a certain cynicism. People don’t want to be advertised to, so there’s already a built-in resistance to the message before the message even starts.
One of the best ways to combat that inherent distrust is by being authentic. Customers want to deal with people, not faceless corporate entities. They want someone to have a conversation with them about their needs, not to be the subject of a slick advertising campaign. People want to see you. The more genuine you are, the more they’ll come to trust that you’re trying to help them instead of parting them from their money.
There are many ways to be authentic. One great way to do it is to interview your best customers, either in an ad or on your podcast or newsletter. What could be more authentic that that? It’s a great format for getting real human interaction.
How can you find people willing to do this type of interview? The best way is simply to ask. Many marketers assume that customers won’t be interested unless they’re bribed somehow, but the reality is that many people are flattered to be asked. It’s not as much of a surprise as you may think. Scientific studies have shown time and again that people love to talk about themselves. Plus they’re thrilled that your brand cares enough about their feedback to contact them.
To make this type of interview marketing work, you want it to feel like a natural conversation. You may have to practice your interviewing skills, but you don’t have to be a legendary journalist to pull it off. While you want to keep a general framework to prevent the conversation from veering too far off topic, you don’t want to stick to a rigid script. Otherwise it will come across as a cheap telemarketing job. Your first job is to listen and then gently steer the conversation in the direction you want it to go. Your questions should be fluid, based on the responses you get from the customer. Follow up on interesting responses to get clarification if you need to, and don’t be afraid to ask for specifics.
With an interview you can get in-depth real human stories. There’s a power in testimonials like this, a credibility you don’t get from regular advertising. It’s not just you telling everyone how great you are, it’s someone else— someone your target audience can relate to because he or she is just like them. Marketing is great, but sometimes a great customer can make your point better than you can.