How to Create Raving Fans For Your SaaS and Drive Product Growth
Brands that know how to create raving fans will always take the lion’s share of customers.
Fans will become their biggest marketing assets, freely sharing about the product and creating a network effect that pulls others in and drives product growth.
Sounds too good to be true?
Just think back to the last time you saw someone (or a group) passionately telling friends about a helpful tool. We see it all the time on social media.
It’s now your turn to convert everyday customers into raving fans. Let’s show you how.
- Raving fans are the customers who are obsessed with your brand and seize every opportunity to passionately tell others about you.
- Why you should care about building your fanbase: increased word-of-mouth referrals, access to feedback that will help you improve, and less marketing and acquisition costs.
- Users go through the AARRA funnel and become raving fans at the fourth stage(Referral).
- The difference between loyal customers and raving fans is that loyalty is a purchasing behavior, while real fans have a strong emotional connection with you. They actively promote your brand and never miss anything you say.
- The Raving Fan Metric (RFM) is used to determine what percentage of users are fans. It’s similar to customer loyalty and can thus be measured through NPS surveys.
- How to create raving fans:
- Provide personalized product experiences.
- Deliver “raving fans” customer service with an on-demand resource center.
- Show your company cares and values its customers’ opinions by collecting feedback and acting on it.
- Remove friction with in-app guidance.
- Be responsive and proactive with customer communication.
- Celebrate important customer milestones with gamification.
- Use emotional design to connect with users on a deeper level.
- Proactively reach out to detractors and turn them into fans.
- Implement customer loyalty programs.
- Offer limited deals and discounts to win customers over.
- Build relationships with customers on social media.
- Surprise loyal customers with random gifts.
- Encourage raving fans to leave reviews and testimonials.
Who are raving fans?
A raving fan is a loyal, regular customer that feels some sort of belonging to your brand and is also a strong advocate for your business.
Raving fans are totally smitten with a brand, its products, and what it stands for. They know everything about the company, wait for its announcements, pre-order products before they’re released, and speak passionately about the brand whenever they get the chance.
Why are raving fans essential for a SaaS business?
We live in highly competitive times for software companies. Everywhere you turn, it seems there’s someone offering something similar to your product.
But there’s something else happening: end users have now become formidable growth drivers. Swamped with many SaaS options, people constantly turn to reviews and opinions from colleagues to decide on the best software solution.
You can’t go wrong investing in raving fans. Here are some immediate benefits:
Raving fans drive word-of-mouth referrals
According to Nielson, 83% of people trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family while 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth referrals more than all other forms of advertising.
Raving fans can’t help talking about you and praising your brand to their network, sharing their satisfying experience with you on social media, and driving tons of referrals for your product.
Raving fans give you honest feedback and product improvement ideas
Raving fans are eager to take their time and share detailed feedback on your products. They will not only respond to surveys but will also be amongst the first ones to willingly test new products and help you find areas for improvement.
What stages do users go through before becoming raving fans?
Short answer: They go through the AARRA funnel and become raving fans at the fourth or Referral stage.
Let’s go over the AARRA framework in detail to provide context into how customers journey to the referral stage and beyond.
- Acquisition: Customers at this stage just visited your product and decided to try it for the first time.
- Activation: Activation happens when users discover and experience the product’s value.
- Retention: Retention is when they keep renewing their subscriptions.
- Referral: This is where you find raving customers. They’ve used the product, are super impressed with your features, and refer others privately or publicly.
- Revenue: Users continue to renew their subscriptions. You can also increase revenue here with the right account expansion strategies.
Raving fans vs. loyal customers
At this point, you might wonder, “isn’t customer loyalty the peak of it? What’s up with raving fans?”
There’s a difference. Raving fans are loyal customers with extra passion and admiration for your brand.
Loyal customers do repeat business with you and may occasionally refer others to you. In contrast, raving fans are louder. They actively promote your brand and never miss anything you say.
Not all loyal customers become raving fans, but all fans will have to pass the loyalty stage first. So, don’t just stop when you notice a large pool of loyal customers—take extra steps to turn them into fans (more on that shortly).
What is the raving fan metric (RFM), and how to measure it
The Raving Fan Metric (RFM) is used to determine what percentage of users are fans. It’s similar to customer loyalty and can thus be measured through NPS surveys.
NPS is short for Net Promoter Score, a standardized metric for measuring customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. It involves asking customers on a scale of 0-10 how likely they are to recommend you to a friend. Customers who rate you 9 or 10 are your fans.
Strategies and best practices for creating raving fans for your SaaS
You now know what stages users go through to become fans and how to measure RFM for your brand.
What’s next is optimizing product experiences and customer service to ensure you don’t miss any chance to convert users to fans. This section dives into actionable tactics. Read on to learn how to create raving fans.
Hyper-personalize the product experiences and deliver the promised value
Users have individual needs, expectations, and goals they want to achieve with your app. Tailoring experiences to help them achieve their goals shows that you understand and care about them.
Personalization goes beyond addressing users by name. And it’s not something you can do manually.
Use third-party tools to segment users with similar characteristics, such as jobs to be done, NPS scores, etc., and offer relevant experiences to each segment.
Deliver exceptional customer service with an on-demand resource center
When it comes to outstanding service, speed and efficiency are paramount. Imagine offering proactive assistance to customers so that they don’t even have to contact support unless the issue is complex.
It’ll revolutionize your customer experience and will result in more happy customers.
Improve customer service by creating a resource center with a variety of self-help guides, including micro videos, knowledge base articles, interactive walkthroughs, webinars, etc. Users will turn to it whenever they need help.
Value your customers’ feedback and show that you hear them
Another way to show customers how much you care is by asking for feedback and implementing their suggestions.
Do this across all critical touchpoints. Seek both quantitative and qualitative feedback to enable you to interpret the results better.
For qualitative feedback, you can implement Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs that include surveys, focus groups, phone interviews, personal interviews, etc.
One great quantitative approach is tracking customer satisfaction scores across the user journey. This quick survey will show you how customers are feeling at every turn. You can then aim to improve their experience or maintain the current feeling at the next stage of their journey.
Speaking of feelings, use exit surveys to uncover root causes for unhappiness and prescribe the key actions to work on. You may not regain that particular user, but the customer data gathered will be used to ensure others like them don’t churn.
Here’s an exit survey example from Asana. Feel free to customize yours as desired.
Remove friction with in-app guidance
Too much friction will ruin customer relationships. One common cause of friction in SaaS products is when users are left without guidance to figure out how to use features or perform a specific task.
Employ in-app guidance—checklists, modals, walkthroughs, tooltips, etc.—to remove friction and contextually guide users.
For example, checklists are effective for showcasing your most important features and guiding users.
Interactive walkthroughs guide users step by step through engaging with a feature for the first time thus shortening the learning path and removing friction.
Be responsive and proactive in communications
Surprises are fun until you step into the business world. Nobody wants to wake up to an unexpected price increase or to be told a feature they need to use for an urgent task is no longer available.
You owe your customers transparent communication when making changes to your product, and the best way to do it is in-app—always contextual and timely.
Fortunately, SaaS companies have several strategies and UI patterns at their disposal for in-app communication.
You could use static banners to pass basic information without interrupting the user experience. Here’s an example that we created with Userpilot:
For major updates, you can use attention-grabbing modals like this:
Acknowledge customer success and celebrate important customer milestones
Celebrating customers when they reach significant milestones in the product will create positive emotions that will further strengthen your relationship.
Some gamification ideas: reward customers with badges, certificates, discount points, etc. You could even use mood-lifting app experiences as Asana does.
A magical creature appears on the screen once an Asana user completes a critical task. This will make the customer feel good and look forward to when the next creature appears.
Connect with users on a deeper level with emotional design
Emotional design focuses on building product experiences that evoke positive emotions. As a business owner, you may argue that functionality is more important.
Yes, functionality has its place, but pairing it with emotional design will create memorable experiences that users can’t stop talking about.
There are many ways to approach emotional designs. One typical example is the use of humor when customers make mistakes or when your product flops.
Adding humor to your error message humanizes the product. It can also reduce exasperation in customers.
Again, another example from Asana. The company lets customers know when something goes wrong, but they don’t stop there:
- They offer several solutions—asking users to copy their work before reloading, an option to troubleshoot, and a link to contact support.
- They added humor. It’s funny typing ”5 evil cobras jog sadly” when contacting the support team. You may laugh a little and forget your initial fury.
But of course, support issues are to be taken seriously. You don’t want to have so much humor and water down the main problem.
Proactively reach out to detractors and turn them into fans
Detractors are customers who are dissatisfied with your products or services and find fault in everything you do. They may even discourage prospects by badmouthing you.
It’s easy to find detractors through NPS surveys, but don’t be too quick to give up on them. If you find the reason for their dissatisfaction, you can proffer solutions and even turn many into promoters.
Step one, tag NPS responses as in the image below. Then analyze detractor responses to identify patterns that lead to low scores. Bad customer service? Missing features? Bug? Note all the points.
Next, contact detractors to learn more about their issues and offer one-on-one help.
Implement customer loyalty programs and give users more reasons to become fans
A loyalty or customer advocacy program intentionally converts loyal customers into vocal brand ambassadors. It also helps reinforce emotional connections between customers and the brand.
Referral programs are by far the most common and arguably oldest advocacy programs. They involve rewarding customers for referring people to your business.
The key to succeeding with referrals is ensuring your reward far outweighs the effort the customer has to invest. For instance, someone might not be interested in referring friends for a small monetary reward. But they might be moved if the offer gives them extra features or more time on your app.
Dropbox rewards customers by offering an extra 500MB of storage for every person invited. This program resulted in 3900% growth in just 15 months.
Offer limited deals and discounts to loyal customers and win their hearts
Loyal customers have the most potential to become raving fans. Provide exclusive limited discounts and offers to show them you appreciate their loyalty.
The key here is to personalize the offer and make them feel special.
Build relationships with customers on social media
Social media is powerful for connecting with users. Utilize it to respond to customers’ queries, join conversations about your brand, and create engaging posts that keep you top of mind.
You can also use social media to build virtual communities where customers meet and share ideas.
Show your appreciation and surprise your loyal customers with random gifts
We’ve talked about appreciating users with discounts, badges, etc. Your customers can see things coming, so there isn’t much element of surprise.
But random gifts are different. The customer will be excited and happily share the news on social media like this Userpilot customer:
Encourage your raving fans to leave reviews and testimonials
The essence of a raving fan is to have them tell everyone else about you.
They may have done that on social media and offline without you asking, but take extra steps and request that they rate you on major review platforms.
Segment users based on NPS scores and trigger a slideout like the one below, asking for honest reviews on G2, Capterra, or any review site your target audience visits.
Creating raving fans is all about strengthening your relationships with your customers and making sure they get the most out of the product.
The first and most important lesson in creating raving fans is to build a product that people will love. Then invest in delivering legendary customer service and fantastic customer experiences.
If you are looking to enhance your customer experience, deliver hyper-personalized product experiences, and in-app guidance without a line of code, book a demo with Userpilot, and our team will be happy to help you.