When it comes to promoting small enterprises, organizations, and teams, competition is fiercer than ever. This growing competition makes the cost for acquiring and keeping customers and fans higher than ever, and organizations are seeking new, cheaper alternatives. One of the best ways for managing these costs is through the leverage of brand advocates.
A brand advocate is a someone that talks positively about the organization, service, or product. These customers love the product and pass on positive messages to others, commonly known as word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. Believe it or not, feedback from brand advocates is typically seen as being more reliable than direct marketing from a company. Brand advocates spread the word not just to their friends, but to potential customers that they don’t know as well. Because feedback from customers is seen as more reliable than direct marketing from companies, brand advocacy is a marketing tactic that small enterprises, organizations, and teams need to be paying attention to.
- The first step in a brand advocacy strategy is actually identifying who your brand advocates are. Companies identify brand advocates in a number of ways, so it is important to identify what exactly makes someone a good candidate to be a brand advocate. For some companies, it may be the customers who have been customers the longest. For others, it may be top spenders. Regardless, companies must identify a list of top customers.
- While it is important to capitalize on the feedback of top customers, it is also important to nurture relationships with all customers. Some customers may simply need a little bit more of a push to be great brand advocates. Nurturing relationships with these customers by reaching out to them frequently and going over the top to provide value may lead them to become brand advocates.
- An important part of nurturing relationships and encouraging brand advocacy is through showing appreciation. Advocates are motivated by recognition. While they may be more likely than other customers to offer feedback and help others by providing information about an organization, service or product, they also place a higher value on being recognized for their loyalty. Some ways of showing appreciation for these customers include personalized thank you notes, invitations to special events, and access to premium features.
- Another crucial element to a successful brand advocacy strategy is being proactive in soliciting customer feedback. Companies should frequently collect reviews, and use the feedback to improve the service. The success of organizations relies heavily on the company’s ability to process feedback from customers and audiences, improve the service, and ensure satisfaction and success. Asking for feedback can help to identify potential brand advocates while simultaneously aiding in the constant and consistent improvement of the service and the organization.
- To take it even further, companies should take advantage of in-person interactions with customers, and maximize face-time. Those that are attending a company’s events are already proven to be more likely to become advocates. Companies must make the most of face-to-face interactions to identify users who could be advocates, and ask them to get involved by sharing feedback, joining the program, or sharing a referral.
In conclusion, with competition for recognition fiercer than ever, more and more small enterprises, organizations, and teams are beginning to see, and reap, the benefits of brand advocates. Customers that will talk positively about the service and spread positive word-of-mouth messages to friends and strangers alike are great assets that cannot be ignored. Organizations must put an effort to identify these customers and maintain relationships with them, encouraging them to become influential brand advocates for the organization,. This will ultimately save the organization money and drive the organization’s success as the advocates play an active role in improving and growing the business.