How to create brand advocates must be one of the most burning questions in today’s digital sphere.
Competition has never been more fierce, and each day introduces fresh, new ideas thanks to which brand new companies are launched.
Each and every one of those companies wants to be among those 10% that really make it, but in order to achieve that, you can’t just think of gaining customers - you need to start identifying ways to turn some of those customers into brand advocates and we are going to explain you how you can do just that.
Let’s start from the basics - what is a brand advocate?
A brand advocate is someone who elevates your brand by using mouth marketing, while customer advocacy program implies that people who love your brand continue to support it and promote your products and services to new customers - organically.
Therefore, a brand advocate is anyone who supports your company’s growth, and that includes:
- Customers - customer advocacy strategy is more genuine and influental in the eyes of the future clients, since they are not affiliated with your company.
- Influencers - unlike some of the best customer advocacy programs, influencers possess an invaluable ability to reach a wider, but at the same time, more targeted audience.
- Business partners represent various organizations, charities and other businesses that are affiliated with your brand, which means they very much influence purchasing decisions.
- Employees - even in comparison to any customer advocacy program best practices have shown that employee brand advocates might be the most powerful tool in your machinery, thanks to their inside knowledge and their relatable nature.
Why is a brand advocacy great for your business?
Here are a few reasons why brand advocates matter and why it has to be a major inclusion to your business and marketing strategies.
Organically grows the brand’s visibility
Brand advocates contribute to brand growth in a more natural way - they help you spread the word with a minimal money and effort on your end. Of course, depending on the size of your company, this can be described as an exponential increase.
Shows how great you are
With the help of brand advocates, your company instantly gets more valued. People have a tendency to trust more to other people over corporate leaders. Same goes for employees - people trust their insight due to the fact they share various content such as industry, educational and work industry.
All of these things work together to generate more business and interest from the top talent, and therefore, more people wanting to use your organization’s products or services.
Publications and media follow
It really doesn’t get more simple than this - the more people are talking about your brand, media and publications take notice, which generates more opportunities for your brand to be mentioned in articles or new pieces.
This is how your brand boosts its’ marketing reach and speaks to larger audiences.
So, why is turning customers into advocates so important for your business?
It is because your company needs to build a trusted environment that your employees and your customer, are proud to share.
Ways for turning customers into advocates?
Now we come to the ultimate question - how to create brand advocates?
We’ve established that brand advocates are the ones who inspire outsiders and show them what about your community is so great and what makes it so valuable to join. They are highly engaged and always make sure to showcase their joy to the world, and here is how creating customer advocates process can start for you.
Offer exceptional customer service
Building brand advocates requires meeting their expectations, but not only to meet them, you need to exceed them as much as possible.
This doesn’t mean you must offer adequate customer experience, cause adequate is not enough. Adequate experience doesn’t stand out. Your customers might not be complaining about you, but they aren’t exactly praising you either.
Motivate advocates with a referral program
When creating brand advocates, you can think of offering them a referral program, which will help you achieve two goals - first to acquire new customers, and second, turn your existing ones into brand advocates.
And how do you do that?
By offering your existing customers an incentive for sending new ones your way, you encourage them to talk favourably about you to everyone they know, starting with their friends and family.
At the same time, this matters because a referred customer is more valuable than a customer acquired by other means - they have higher profit margins, they stay longer and they possess a higher customer LTV (lifetime value).
Focus in building trust
Building trust means that mistakes are allowed. You and your brand are not perfect, and the customers know this, and they know it can happen occasionally for you to mess up.
Of course, some may take it harder than others, but most can be very rational and understanding. If you don’t hide behind excuses and are upfront and honest with them, you will gain their trust, and by doing so, earn their respect and potentially, turn them into brand advocates.
Personalize customer experience
Building brand advocates goes hand in hand with personalized experience. This is what will make your customers feel like VIPs.
Aside from making them feel special, this strategy has very measurable benefits - it can influence what they purchase and their buying decisions, in general.
By sending personalized texts and emails, you make a difference by showing that you care about your customers, making them wish to come back for more.
Ask for customer feedback
When creating brand advocates, asking your customers for feedback might be one, if not the best way, to gain insight your own business.
Your customers are your end users, so by asking them to give feedback, you show them that you actually care about their opinion, and that you intend to take action to improve your product or service, when improvement is due, which is a step of utmost importance when creating brand advocates.
Provide loyalty program
Loyalty programs work, but just because something like that exists, doesn’t mean your customers will use it.
Before you decide on providing a loyalty program, first make sure that it’s easy to use, easy to understand and that it gives great discounts - simplicity is key here.
Whatever approach you take, it is vital to strike the right balance between effort and reward, since no customer (no matter how much the love your product or service) will bother with a scheme that requires dozens of purchases in order to get a miserable discount.
Don’t forget about the power of social media
A brand community is exactly what you need if you want an environment where you can demonstrate your brand’s values, and the best way to establish it is via social media. This is how you make it easier for your customers to establish an emotional connection with you and join your story, and hopefully, start telling it one day.
Whichever of these approaches you opt for, bear in mind that a successful brand advocate program must be nurtured, and there are more than a few ways to do this. Focus on maintaining advocate loyalty with simple processes, compensation and support, and you’ll start seeing results in a very short time.