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Newsletter #940: The “Make Them a VIP” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Motivating word of mouth from your customers isn’t about bribing them with contests or cash. The most enthusiastic and sustainable word of mouth comes from the customers that you help feel special — the customers you give VIP-treatment.

Here’s how to make your customers feel important and earn their advocacy in return:

1. Bring them into the family
2. Invite them to a party
3. Let them see it first
4. Check it out: GeoGuessr

1. Bring them into the family

Owning a Harley-Davidson motorcycle is about way more than two-wheel transportation. So when customers take one on a test drive, they’re missing out on a big part of being a Harley owner: the feeling of being in a crew. To help simulate that feeling, one Harley dealership surprised a test driver by getting 60 other Harley riders to join him mid-trip. That’s one totally immersive experience that no test rider would be able to keep to themselves.

The lesson: One of the best ways to help a customer feel important is to help them feel like they’re a part of your community. That sense of belonging is a great motivator for word of mouth.

Learn more: Ads of the World

2. Invite them to a party

Events are fantastic for getting your biggest fans together and giving them something exciting to talk about. But you can boost that word of mouth by making it an exclusive event. For example, Car2Go holds private member-only parties, called “MemberFests.” But to get their members to talk about it, Car2Go lets them bring their non-member friends. Car2Go gives these friends lifetime memberships and other perks just for showing up.

The lesson: An event like this gives members an opportunity to do something cool for their friends — and brings non-members to a place full of brand advocates.

3. Let them see it first

Want to create hype for your new stuff? Instead of paying for ads and big product launch campaigns, why not bring your fans in on it? At, a promotional products company, they give their customers private links to access previews of their new stuff before it’s available for sale. Even better, 4Imprint asks for their customers’ feedback on stuff they’d like to see in the future.

The lesson: The new products may get tweaked or photos may change. But it only adds to the feeling that 4Imprint’s customers are seeing it before anyone else — that they’re important, and their opinion is valued.

4. Check it out: GeoGuessr

Where in the world are you? That’s the question you have to answer with this Google Maps Street View game. Explore the area for clues, pin your guess on a map, and earn points for how close you got to the actual location.

Check it out: GeoGuessr

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