Customer Advocacy Marketing: What Is it and How Does it Work?
For a moment, let’s put on our customer hats and consider brands that have gone the extra mile for you.
Recall the experiences you’ve had with these companies and why they motivated you to tell others about them.
Using peer-to-peer referrals to promote a business’s products and services is an excellent way for individuals to market to the people in their professional and personal networks.
People are more likely to buy products they learn about from trusted friends rather than those they see in ads. An advocacy marketing strategy involves mobilizing and engaging a company’s customers, staff, and other partners to promote products and services.
Advocacy programs are primarily marketing strategies. They encourage your company’s most devoted customers to interact with other potential customers by recommending the company’s products and services to them.
How can you leverage your happy customers and turn them into brand ambassadors?
- What is Customer Advocacy Marketing?
- 9 Advantages of Customer Advocacy
- 6 Tips for Creating a Customer Advocacy Strategy
- How to Turn Customers into Brand Advocates
What Is Customer Advocacy Marketing?
Advocacy marketing targets getting employees, customers, contractors, and other stakeholders to share their products and services with or among their networks.
Customer advocacy marketing programs transform loyal customers into advocates for your brand, yet they often overlook marketing strategies despite their affordability and effectiveness.
Often also called UGC, or user-generated content, this powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing can manifest as social posts, reviews, or any sort of appreciation around your products or services.
7 Advantages of Customer Advocacy
Customers and employees who engage passionately and lead to a new market within any company are the heart of its business.
Customer Advocacy marketing is when customers share your brand message on social media, often in their own natural tone and voice. This can be anything from resharing the content that you’ve published, to giving a full testimonial about their phenomenal experience with your brand, products, or services.
There are clear benefits to investing in customer advocacy marketing for B2B brands:
#1. Strengthens Loyalty: By leveraging social media to drive more business, you can create customer loyalty and better understand your customers. There’s nothing more powerful than “a current customer just like me” telling prospective customers what it’s like to work with you.
#2. Increased Reach: Customers can spread awareness of a company’s products or services to their connections, colleagues, and former colleagues, increasing the reach of advocacy marketing beyond its initial audience.
Advocacy marketing helps companies and their products to be more visible and memorable as more people talk about your brand. Not only is it leveraging your own corporate network, but their posts will reach their own networks as well.
#3. Enhanced Brand Value: The more satisfied customers a brand has, the more likely it is to be trusted and valued. When you have a loyal customer base that enjoys talking about your products, it may attract the attention of investors and business partners.
#4. Product Improvements: Product quality is improved: since customer advocacy marketing focuses on user testimonials, it might motivate you to find new ways to meet consumers’ needs. Getting constant feedback will help you understand where there might be issues in your offers and correct them quickly.
#5. Advocacy Marketing is Cost-Efficient: You can spend less on traditional marketing campaigns and advertisements when you convince customers to advocate for a brand. Powerful word-of-mouth marketing costs very little in terms of pure advertising, and will go a lot further than your own corporate message.
Advocacy marketing is one of the most cost-effective methods to attract new customers and increase revenue without spending big money. On average, brands see a 650% return on their advocacy marketing investment.
#6. Real-Time Relationships are Built Through Customer Advocacy: To build any online or offline relationship, digital or analog, you have to listen to your customers. Understand what their needs are and use a personalized approach. Through advocacy marketing, content seekers like bloggers and influencers could bring in more business opportunities.
Customer advocacy can bridge the engagement gap between your company and its target audiences to generate positive ‘word-of-mouth’ for your company.
#7. Build Communities Through Advocacy Marketing: Advocacy marketing implies that the content created by your organization needs to be gripping and original.
Therefore, building a community of advocates who can collaborate with you to make such content is a key to advocacy marketing. Paid marketing doesn’t necessarily create communities or engage audiences in the discussion.
6 Tips For Creating A Customer Advocacy Strategy
In the marketing world, advocacy marketing is often seen as a “holy grail” because it is cost-effective, high-yielding, and trust-rich. The following tips can help you build an effective advocacy marketing strategy:
1. Make Sure Your Products & Services Offer Value to Consumers: The best way to encourage positive feedback from customers is to provide better products and services than your competitors. Learn about what makes your products unique by analyzing the quality of your merchandise and conducting focus groups. By learning about market demand and the quality of your merchandise, you can improve customer experience and earn more customer advocacy.
2. Make Your Brand Experience Memorable: Ensure that employees provide an attentive and welcoming atmosphere when interacting with customers. Customers form opinions about companies based on their interactions with brands and purchasing experiences.
3. Prioritize Your Customers: A customer-first mentality can help you develop a loyal client base who is aware you value and respect the views of your clients. Listen to your customers and explain how you plan to address their concerns. By being honest, you can establish a customer-first mentality. Deliver your goods by the delivery date and communicate company policies consistently.
4. Provide Clients With Simple Ways To Promote Your Business: Create platforms where customers can describe how they feel about products and share feedback. Highlight the thoughtfulness of client responses and let them know that you appreciate their feedback.
5. Get To Know Your Active Customers: Your company should invest in identifying its top customers and communicating with them regularly. By maintaining a close relationship with those who love your business, you’ll foster the same with other customers.
6. Make The Most Of What’s Trending: Customer advocacy often takes place in public spaces, such as social media. You can make your business more relevant and approachable by opening yourself up to trends that relate back to your core business. Customers will be more likely to support it if it’s relevant to people’s daily lives, experiences, and interests.
Beware, only use trends if they’re relevant to your business. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a disconnect between what you’re posting and what you do.
How to Turn Customers into Brand Advocates
The people who have bought from you are your biggest advocates. You either solved a profoundly rooted need, or you exceeded their expectations.
To really “wow” your customers, you need to have a robust strategy. Leveraging your customer advocacy marketing means you’ll need to create content that appeals to potential buyers. You can use many different customer advocacy marketing strategies to do this.
1. Sell High-Quality Products and Services:
No matter how stellar your customer service is, if your products or services fail to impress, people will complain. Additionally, a good product can often compensate for a bad experience. If you loved something you bought but weren’t happy with the service you received, you’ll still probably recommend it to your friends.
There aren’t many products/services that are significantly better than average. Most products are marginally helpful, not genuinely excellent. Look at your complaints or your competitors’ complaints and resolve those issues. Use this feedback to improve your product.
2. Give your Customers an Unforgettable Experience:
Even if you are selling a product online, you are selling an experience—when someone buys from you, they are buying that experience. People buy from people, and a great adventure starts with a great experience.
Going the extra mile with your customers can be the difference between a lifelong customer and a churned one.
3. Deliver Excellent Customer Service:
The easiest way to stand out is by providing fantastic customer service. You can’t just meet customer expectations—you must go above and beyond and exceed them. Customers won’t sing your praises if you deliver an adequate experience.
4. Customer Feedback is Key:
By asking your customers for feedback, you can gain valuable insight into your business. Who better to tell you what you’re doing right and where you’re going wrong than the people who use your product or service?
Then, and this is key, take that feedback into actual consideration. Feedback is like gold to anyone working in the B2B industry—any feedback received, good or bad, should be taken to heart in its context, and analyzed thuroughly.
5. Ask Great Customers to Speak Out:
You know which of your customers are the best, most out-spoken advocates. Ask them to talk about their experience with your brand on social media. We’re all used to pulling key customers for case studies, and those case studies can make great content for socials as well.
For the truly great customer advocates, those who want to be evangelists of your brand, you can even consider bringing them on to your customer advocacy board so they can share your content.
It is essential to find current advocates and brand ambassadors in advocacy marketing. Find out why they promote your brand and why they are doing it. It gives you insight into how you can maximize their advocacy efforts or partner with them for more results.
By leveraging the current champions of your brand, you will guide your strategy, gain more significant support from them, and lead more advocacy initiatives, such as:
- Designing loyalty, rewards, and experience programs.
- Running contests around user-generated content.
- Providing the right tools, content, and assets to make it easier for people to advocate (employee advocacy software, rewards platforms, etc.).
Customer advocacy marketing can be amazingly effective if done correctly—and doing so does not have to be complicated. Make sure your customers are satisfied, nudge them in the right direction, and the rest will take care of itself.
Advocate marketing isn’t just a marketing strategy; it’s all about being the best every day. If you strive to be better every day, you’ll naturally attract advocates. And those advocates will attract more advocates, create more advocates, and so on. It only takes a commitment to excellence to skyrocket your business with customer advocacy.