How to Turn Your Customers into Brand Advocates for Better Marketing
There are several ways to market a company. Many methods, like broadcast advertising campaigns, cost money. Others, like social media, cost time. There’s also an excellent third option for cash-strapped, busy entrepreneurs, and that option is brand advocacy. An advocate for a company shows the business in a positive light and helps create public awareness about the business, all through word-of-mouth marketing. While this may sound similar to the role of brand ambassadors, advocates spread the word about a company for free simply because they like it. Their opinions are unscripted and real, which helps make a business more trustworthy to the public. Use these tips to turn your customers into brand advocates:
- Improve customer service
- Ask for feedback
- Use their name
- Introduce a loyalty and referral program
- Keep them informed
- Use employees
- Build a community
Improve Customer Service
The first thing you should understand is that most advocates are customers, but not every customer will become an advocate. It can also be impossible to know who is likely to advocate for you and who would prefer to be a buyer and nothing more. Rather than trying to weed them out, improve how you treat all consumers by amping up your customer service. A happy consumer is one who will promote your brand so, by making all customers happy, you increase the chance of building a large groups of advocates.
Turn Your Customers into Brand Advocates By Asking for Feedback
Often, the idea of actively promoting a brand doesn’t cross a consumer’s mind and it shouldn’t. That’s the power of brand advocacy: a person feels so positively about a business that they can’t help but tell others about it in the spur of the moment. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage a specific result by asking for feedback and testimonials. These user-generated testimonials can be shared on your website and social media as a way to improve trust and awareness in your company. By asking for their thoughts and opinions on your products and services (and thus proving you care about their ideas), you also establish a stronger relationship with your buyers.
Use Their Name
One of the simplest ways to turn your customers into brand advocates is to simply use their name every time you connect. Use it in emails, customer service chats, and on social media threads. Every time you refer to them by name, you reaffirm that you value the person as an individual and will increase the chances that they advocate for you in future.
Introduce a Loyalty and Referral Program
Although it isn’t the most flattering thing to point out, human behaviour proves time and again that we’re more likely to do nice things for others if we know there’s something in it for us. That’s why one of the best ways to turn your customers into brand advocates is to offer a loyalty or referral program. Loyalty programs, which offer bonuses like free products or shipping for repeat purchases, extend the life cycle of your customer relationships and ensure that they stick around for long enough to potentially become advocates. A referral program is an even more powerful tool because you directly reward customers for spreading the word about your business, while encouraging them to remain brand loyal.
Keep Them Informed
An advocate does marketing on your behalf but, because they aren’t official employees, you have no control over the content they share. This could lead to misinformation and outdated news being spread in your name. Reduce that risk by keeping all consumers informed. You can do so by writing a weekly newsletter, sharing news on your social media, and highlighting it on your website.
Although you pay employees to work on your behalf, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they advocate for you too. In fact, employees who dislike their job are more likely to quietly badmouth you to friends and family. Impassive employees simply won’t mention you at all. However, employees are one of the most valuable resources you have when it comes to promoting your business. To encourage positivity outside the workplace, encourage it within the workplace as well.
Build a Community
It’s easier for a person to advocate for something when they feel an emotional connection to it. Offering your customers a community to engage with is more likely to create that connection. Your advocates can interact with one another and feel as though they’re part of something special (because, of course, they are).
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