What if you could add 5, 10, 20, or more marketing reps to your company for little to no cost? Interested?
What if these reps would sing your praises, spread the word, and fight your battles for you and all they hope for in return is some recognition?
Who are these mystery reps? Brand advocates.
Brand advocates are your happy customers who talk about you to their friends, family, and extended social circles – online and off. They’re helpers who want to make sure their friends choose wisely and they think you’re the bee’s knees. Advocates can often wield 50% more influence than the average customer. That’s worth paying attention to.
We’re all looking for value in marketing, especially when the economy isn’t booming. How can we get maximum value and exposure with our limited budgets? Cultivating brand advocates who are already excited about what you’re doing can be a low-cost, high return strategy.
Paying a general social influencer with a large audience can certainly boost awareness of your company but, unless they really stand behind your product, they can’t always drive action to close the sale. What a typical brand advocate may lack in audience size, they can make up for in passion.
The vast majority of consumers trust the recommendations of their peers more than your marketing materials. If treated well and given the right tools, your brand advocates can become a sustainable marketing force for your company who will stick with you.
The first step is to make sure that you have the best product and the best customer service you can. One bad experience that goes uncorrected and your advocate could turn. The average customer is even more fickle and we here in Newfoundland and Labrador have long memories when it comes to bad service. It matters on every channel, every touchpoint, every interaction you have with your customer. Always be striving to delight, never disappoint.
You’ve got that covered? Great. So how do you achieve brand advocacy?
Define Your Goals
Like any marketing effort, you need a plan. What is it exactly you want to achieve through brand advocacy? Better qualified leads? More walk-in sales? Defining your goals will help you identify the most relevant advocates and allow you to measure success.
Identify Your Advocates
Based on your goals, you now need to identify those people who can help. Look at who’s interacting with your social content. Who’s visiting your website? Who’s leaving positive reviews? Who’s attending your events? These are just a few ways that you can begin to curate your list of potential brand advocates.
It’s time to make your relationship with your chosen advocates official. Reach out to them with your offer. Tell them your goals, the role that you see them playing, and how they can participate. It’s also important to let them know how they will benefit. Start small and test everything from messaging, platforms, incentives, and rewards until you find the rix might for your brand.
Give your advocates the tools they need to further spread your message. Whether that comes in the form of high quality photos, infographics, videos, a little inside information, or other content is up to your particular marketing campaign.
Be sure to recognize your advocates, both privately and publicly. They crave engagement with your brand and a simple shout out on Twitter or Facebook can go a long way. For those that are really going above and beyond you may want to go a little further with a special gift or discount. Choose what works best for your brand.
There’s a good chance you already have advocates out there – you just need to learn how to cultivate and harness their power. The benefits you’ll gain from this unique relationship are invaluable because the trusted recommendation from a truly happy customer will go a long, long way in helping your company achieve its goals.