How do we love customer evangelists? Let us count the ways. "Your evangelists are passionate, loyal, and thrilled to recommend you," writes Alex Goldfayn at Mashable. "They are communicators—when it matters. They are your public defenders when times are difficult. Evangelists are also forgiving. They assume your mistakes are honest." In short: Customer evangelists are worth their weight in marketing gold. And that's why you should actively develop them with tips like these:

Start with customer insights. Use qualitative interviews with customers, potential customers, and competitors' customers—learn what rings their bells. Steve Jobs might have insisted it wasn't the customer's job to know what she wanted, notes Goldfayn, but Jobs also had phenomenal instinct. "Everybody else—us included—needs to be talking to customers, asking them strategic questions to uncover the most effective messaging," he says.

Use emotional marketing language. Most customers don't really care how you fix their problem. They simply want it fixed. Instead of focusing on the step-by-step process that leads to a solution, craft marketing copy that dazzles prospects with the sense of satisfaction they'll feel once it's implemented. That's the message they'll share with friends.

Communicate from the right platforms. Reach evangelists where they interact with their friends and colleagues. Encourage their loyalty with one-on-one interaction and special attention. But most importantly, make it easy for them to tell your story.

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