It’s the stuff dreams are made of: a special group of customers who buy and use your products so often that they become user experts, going on to promote your product, educate others on its best uses, recruit new users, and provide input on needed product enhancements? All this at a fraction of the cost? Pinch me.
These are your Superusers. They do all of that just because they believe in your product. But how do you harness the power of a Superuser to take your business to the next level?
Let’s break it down in 8 steps.
1. Determine who you need.
What do you want to accomplish through Superusers? Is it free advertising, peer product support, new user recruitment, or high-quality recommendations? Once you know what you want to use Superuser information for, decide what personality traits fit your company.
Obviously, you need excellent communicators who can get along with all types of people; but be more specific. Are you looking for extroverts, a certain age group, specific behavior patterns, unlimited accessibility, a particular skill set, experience? You may even consider creating a Superuser persona. The better you know who you are looking for, the easier they will be to find.
Online cookbook Allrecipes started a Superuser program for cooks with delicious home recipes and got them to share their recipes for free. Brilliant!
2. Focus on Finding Them
Superusers are typically found:
- Commenting on product reviews, sharing tips and tricks with other users.
- Liking or sharing your product’s social media posts. Potential buyers are 76% more likely to trust a peer recommendation over an advertisement, making this an incredible way to boost sales.
- Searching your website for updates on the next release or shopping for products. Fun Fact: You can find 85% of Amazon’s Prime shoppers on the Amazon website or app at least once a week.
3. Invite Them
Reach out to your most valuable users to begin a relationship. Connecting emotionally is the goal here. Customer recommendations jump from 45% of the time to 71% after an emotional connection is made, and being invited in as one of the family always feels good. Solidworks Superuser Mike Puckett puts it this way:
"When you’re on the outside like I was, and someone on the inside wants to do so many things for you, you can’t help but feel like more than just a customer of theirs — you're more like a friend".
4. Present a Clear Path to Membership
When a frequent user communicates interest in becoming a bonafide Superuser, you must provide them with clear instructions to do so. Present a plan with major steps to take and a timeline to follow.
If possible, provide a designated program contact, both to answer questions along the way, and to keep them on track. SAP Community Consultant Doug Whittle agrees: “I have yet to see a SU [Superuser] program be sustained if there is not SOMEONE at some percentage staying ‘in charge.’”
5. Give Them a Voice and Access
Buyers trust recommendations from friends almost 4 times as much as what they see in an advertising campaign. So, if you have a user who is willing to refer your products to others, give them the access and tools they need to be heard or you will miss out on their full benefit.
6. Reward Them with Exclusive Super-user Discounts and Free Products.
68% of Americans say that exclusive offers are more important to them than those that are readily available to anyone else. Super-users should feel as if they belong to an elite group. To encourage this, give them discounts and free products that regular users cannot gain access to.
7. Invite them to Participate in Sneak Peeks, Workshops and Test Flights.
Convey your respect for their role as thought leaders and experts by asking them to attend sneak peeks, workshops and test flights. As some of your most experienced users, they are a goldmine of information on what is working and what needs work. Invite them to help you to make your product even better.
The members of Target’s elite Superuser program, Studio Connect are invited to work alongside designers to develop new and better products, weighing in on what they do or do not like. Their input helps to shape Target into the superstore of their dreams.
“Our guests are at the center of everything we do”
- Julie Guggemos, Target Senior VP of Product Design
8. Award badges.
What do Superusers value even more than monetary rewards? Badges that convey their elite status. Take a page from online music provider, Spotify: their Superusers can achieve Rock Star status by answering user questions, writing for the Spotify blog and participating in the Music Room.
Attracting and maintaining a network of Superusers may be more work than you originally thought, but Superuser programs can be a great addition to your business plan and improve customer satisfaction. Remember, this is an investment. That means it will take both time and monetary resources before you see a substantial ROI. So, before you pursue potential candidates, determine what would make this a worthwhile expenditure for your business.
Superuser programs often fail for lack of planning. Here at SurveyMe, we have conducted our own studies on the cinema Superuser. We’ve found that the onset of services like Moviepass and Sinemia have increased the Superuser’s average number of cinema visits to a whopping 26 - 32 times per year. Moviepass, which began as an unlimited service, had to cut their user’s cinema visits to 3 per month. It’s difficult to say whether better planning could have an impact on Moviepass, but you generally want to start small with your offerings and increase them as time goes on. Sadly, Moviepass has had to do the opposite.
That’s why, to increase customer retention, it is important to begin your program only after all 8 of these steps are carefully planned. Keep organized records on each Superuser, including all communication regarding issues & recommendations. Reward Superusers with special perks unavailable to regular users. Finally, update the Superuser when their input turns into product changes and feature enhancements (Walgreen’s Global Brand Manager Phillippa Bradley counts this as one of her top tips). Remember, Superusers should know the impact of their voice.
All things considered, adding a Superuser program to your business plan is a worthwhile effort that, if well-executed, will reward you several times over.
Superuser expert Robbie Kellman Baxter puts it this way: “Explore the ways you can incorporate your Superusers … you might just unlock some substantial hidden value, resulting in more customers, better insights, and greater loyalty.”