Marketing Advocacy: How to get your clients to be your brand advocates
Marketing advocacy is a type of marketing that focuses on getting your current customers to talk about your brand and products through tools such as testimonials, product reviews, and social mentions. Since over 88% of shoppers research online before buying, brand advocates help new customers make decisions about the products that they buy.
Advocacy works because people are more likely to trust their peers – even if they don’t know them – over your advertising. In other words: People trust other consumers.
Besides, people want to share good experiences. Think about the last time you had an awesome time at a restaurant or event. Did you tell people about it? I’ll bet you told everyone who would listen.
That’s also why marketing advocacy is so affordable. It doesn’t really take any extra effort or money. It builds off previous investments with your customers.
What is marketing advocacy?
So, to make it clear…
Advocacy marketing is the process of harnessing the voices and experiences of your company’s customers to power your marketing and engagement strategies. It’s your marketing strategy that is based on your customers happiness with your brand or produts, and capitalizing on that happiness to achieve your business’ goals. It’s more authentic than traditional marketing because it’s powered by real human connections.
Types of advocacy in marketing
When it comes to marketing advocacy, there are two types you can generally focus your efforts on: your team and your customers. What your organization decides to focus on is entirely up to your business goals and strategies. The best solution is to focus your efforts on both and really power up your brand.
Team advocacy or Employee advocacy is a type of marketing advocacy that encourages employees to share and create content around the company they work for in an organic way to attract new business and top talent.
Customer advocacy is a type of advocacy marketing that encourages customers to share and create content and leave company reviews organically in order to drive more awareness and sales.
How to turn customers into advocates
Inspiring people to continually advocate for you is a really “simple” formula:
- Give them something they want or value.
- Offer them a variety of ways to advocate.
- Recognize and compensate them when they advocate for you.
Advocate marketing works best when you develop a formal system for discovering, nurturing and mobilizing your potential advocates. This is also known as a marketing advocacy program.
How to develop your marketing advocacy program
1. Provide the best product or service possible
Without a great product or service, customers or employees are not going to be your advocates. Figure how to deliver on those areas, continue to delight, and advocacy marketing becomes much easier and more effective.
2. Focus on the customer experience
The customer experience is one of the most important needs when it comes to how you deliver your product or provide a service. The better these interactions and experiences, the easier it is to harness a customer advocacy strategy.
And it becomes less of an intensive process because you have customers that do not need much additional encouragement to leave reviews, create social posts about your brand, and tell others about your company.
3. Build an attractive brand
Ask yourself, what attracts you most to a brand? There are probably tons of qualities you look for in a company, but what about their brand makes you want to advocate for them? You have to put yourself in the customers’ shoes, but also how employees feel, too.
It doesn’t mean your company needs to get it completely perfect on day one, but continual efforts need to be made to make more emotional connections.
4. Find current advocates and learn from them
Your company probably already has advocates talking about your brand online, even without you realizing it. The more obvious advocates are customers — as reviews, social media company tagging, or emails can be some indications of their experiences.
But employees are also talking about your brand online. 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company.
Spend time identifying customer advocates and employee advocates via social listening, review sites, or surveys (internal and customer feedback).
5. Get Brand Promoters
Finding current advocates and brand ambassadors is important to marketing advocacy. You need to get to know them, why they are promoting your brand.
From there, it helps you know how to build campaigns to ramp up efforts or how you can partner with them to encourage more advocacy results.
Utilizing these current brand promoters helps you guide your strategy, gain more enthusiasm from them for their recognition, and can help you lead more advocacy initiatives such as:
- Creating loyalty, rewards, and experience programs
- Implementing contests around user-generated content (UGC)
- Making it easy for people to advocate with the right tools, content, and assets.