6 Proven Techniques to Turn Customers into Brand Advocates
- When businesses think of growth, they usually think about reaching out to more people and acquiring more sales
- Besides traditional marketing and customer acquisition strategies, it is brand advocacy that can help you keep your marketing costs low
- It is one of the most valuable marketing strategies where you tap into your happy customer base to spread the word about your brand
- There are numerous strategies that can help companies to harness the enthusiasm of their brand advocates for business growth
Getting new customers is good for any business.
But real business growth comes from existing customers.
In fact, a research by Bain and Company shows that return customers spend 33% more per order compared to new clients. Another study suggests that existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products.
Why is this important?
In an era where it has become surprisingly easy for consumers to walk away from brands after a single bad experience, turning your customers into brand advocates should be at the top of the to-do list. This is more critical than ever since new acquisition costs have increased by almost 50%.
Think of this as a fandom, similar to how major sports teams and musicians operate.
Instead of buying out the tickets, these brand advocates will fill their social media feeds with news about your brand, helping move prospective customers through the marketing funnel.
So how do you build brand advocacy? And what should be your brand advocacy strategy?
As you get down to turning your target audience to brand advocates, remember it all starts with the efficacy of your customer success solution. Only when you deliver experiences that delight your customers will they endorse your brand in their network.
What is Brand Advocacy?
|Did you know that a staggering 76% of individuals surveyed said that they have a deeper trust in the content shared by “regular” people than content shared by brands?|
Simply put, brand advocacy means that the people who are closest to your brand will continue to show their love and support for your product(s) or service(s) by promoting your organization organically to new audiences. While referring new customers, they also create content on your behalf.
Your brand advocates can include your customers as they are not affiliated with your company which makes their support genuine and more influential. Your employees can be brand advocates too. Armed with deep insights into how your solution caters to clients, they can positively influence your brand through superior customer success management.
Your business partners can also affect your customers’ purchasing decisions. These include charitable organizations and other companies affiliated with your brand. Lastly, you have influencers. A well-known influencer can extend the reach of your brand far and wide.
Turning Customers into Brand Advocates: Why is it Important?
With brand advocacy, you will quickly find an increase in your revenue without increasing your marketing budget. Your fans will do a lot of word-of-mouth marketing for you on their social media platforms.
Another good reason is that your happy customers will continue to return to you again and again.
According to a report by PwC, 17% of consumers will leave a brand after just one bad experience. Since finding a brand that precisely caters to their needs can be challenging, customers who genuinely love a brand will stick with the company for a very long time.
Strong brand advocates will increase awareness about your company beyond your immediate target audience. This will help you eliminate costs associated with customer acquisition strategies.
For these reasons, both B2B and B2C companies have begun to focus their initiatives on developing effective brand advocacy programs.
How Do You Turn Customers into Brand Advocates?
1. Know Your Customers
Despite the expansive power of brand advocates, this will still be a small portion of your overall customer base.
Most customers will probably purchase from you once (or perhaps repeatedly) but will not engage with your brand as much as you hope. This means that you need to keep a steady eye on the ones who do and who are taking their time to spread the positive word about your product or service.
A simple question such as “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend” can help you understand what makes your customers happy. Social listening can come in handy. Keep an eye on people who are speaking favorably about you on social media.
2. Appreciate Your Customers
Your customers want to feel like a VIP when they do business with you.
Deliver an enhanced and personalized customer experience at every touchpoint, whether it means optimizing your website for search engines to having helpful support, both chat and call options, in place.
Having a happy customer base can also be achieved through giving extra perks.
Loyalty programs can help deliver this value to your customers consistently.
Rewards, discounts, promotions, and special events will demonstrate that your relationship is more than just transactional.
3. Establish a Memorable Onboarding Process
Your onboarding process has a direct impact on your customer retention rates. It’s also a crucial facet of your brand advocacy strategy.
In fact, 86% of consumers are likely to stick longer with a product if they experience a better onboarding process that gives a holistic education about the many offerings.
So how do you do this?
Start with asking your customers why they are using your product and what they want to achieve with it.
Equipped with this information, guide them to the most useful features of your product rather than throwing all your product features all at once. This will also minimize friction points for your customers.
You can also give them templates so they can start using your product features at once. Additionally, develop an email sequence that educates your customers on the best use of your product.
4. Give Them Exciting News
Turning customers into brand advocates means sharing exciting news, exclusive sneak-peeks, and one-time-only discounts to keep the excitement going.
Hold special “fans-only” shopping events where customers have unique access to your products. This will encourage them to spread the word in their network.
Amplify this word-of-mouth marketing with referral rewards for fans who successfully encourage someone to buy your product or service. Such rewards can be a free product, a discount, or even cash for their next purchase.
5. Create a Customer-Centric Culture
Zendesk conducted a detailed study of more than 45000 businesses across 140 countries and found that almost 70% of customers expect companies to collaborate between different departments on their behalf.
If your employees are transferring a customer to another BU for issue resolution, it can create a bad image in the eyes of your customers.
This is where a customer-centric culture can help you. Brand advocacy can only be effective if you help establish a culture where customer satisfaction and happiness are at the center of all your key decision-making.
Such a culture must be part of your core value system and every department should take the onus of effective customer success management.
|Related Read – Building a Successful Customer-Centric Culture|
6. Amplify Your Presence
While 70% of consumers expect brands to respond within a day of reaching out over social media, the average brand response rate stands at just 25%. The more active you are on social media, the higher your chances are to reach out to your potential brand advocates.
Don’t be active on every channel. But you should be present in more than one.
Conduct an analysis of the platforms where your customers are the most active.
Once you have established the channels, it’s time to get creative.
Encourage your brand advocates to create their own content. This can be through video submissions of how they are using your product for YouTube or images where they are using your product for Instagram Story.
Immersing your brand advocates with content development can help them feel like they are part of your brand and not just observers.
Ready for Brand Advocacy?
Your job is not done when your customer has successfully transacted. Keep your customers engaged to turn them into brand advocates who will do a lot of the marketing work for you.
Brand advocates play a critical role in driving sales for you.
While in the age of 24/7 connectivity and social media, it’s not so tough to keep your customers engaged. The challenge, however, is to be consistent in providing your customers with first-class services. This helps to nurture your customers into brand advocates.
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