Become an Evanglist

Ben posted this great entry on how to become an evangelist:

1. Become an evangelism expert.
Gather evidence such as case studies, how-tos and books on the subject. (There’s a growing body of work on the subject.) Put a stake in the ground that will define the edges of your platform of evangelism knowledge. For instance, if you’re focused on building customer loyalty via evangelism, don’t waste time on viral ads. Religiously follow the work of a few organizations whose evangelism you covet.

2. Track what people say online.
Become the go-to person whenever someone asks "What are they saying online?" about your company, product or service. Do this via free services Technorati, BlogPulse, IceRocket and Google Alerts. Politely mollify the skeptics who claim online word of mouth is not a scientific sampling of true customer opinion.

3. Find a few co-conspirators.
Share your growing body of knowledge with a few trustworthy co-workers with similar beliefs in word of mouth and customer loyalty. Envision how your company can increase its level of customer evangelism. Do not present your idea to a committee, whose "let me play devil’s advocate" members will effectively kill it.

4. Start small.
The smaller, the better. In a big company, it’s often the skunk-works projects that end up having the biggest impact. Your first program could be adding a "How did you hear about us" question to website sales or inquiries or in-bound call centers. Or launching a customer advisory board for a store or locale. Ensure your first effort includes solid measurements. Later efforts might not be so easy to measure. Watch how the success of your effects spread organically from co-worker to co-worker.

5. Bring in the experts.
If your pilot program is a success and the boss’s boss is asking for more, consider hiring an expert. It could be a known practitioner who joins your company as an employee, or it could be a firm that helps you conduct larger-scale research, customer-community planning or large-scale evangelism strategy development. The best firms will position you as the genius behind your company’s growing base of evangelists, not themselves.

In the comments, I added a few other things to the list too. I thought they might be interesting enough to repost here.

7. Have a vision
If you don’t know what path you’re on, and what your goals are, you’ll never be able to convince colleagues, fans/consumers to take the journey with you. Repitition is a crucial element in the ongoing struggle (and yes, it is a struggle to re-wire minds), and if you get "off vision", you will end up spinning your weels.

8. Don’t get discourage
Stick to the plan, even when people tell you no. And they WILL tell you no. A lot. Daily. (I actually wrote a blog entry recently about this one concept alone)

9. Learn, learn, learn
If you’re not paying constant attention to how colleague and consumers alike are responding to your ideas, your personality, your actions, you WILL fail. This does not mean that you need to conduct surveys and polls. It means you need to open your eyes, ask people what they’re concerned with, read body language, learn the "between the lines language". It’s all there if you’re willing to spend the time paying attention to it.