What is advocacy marketing? We know how important it is to acquire customers that love your brand. What’s even more important is whether or not that customer is willing to preach positive messages about you to anyone who will listen. Your advocates are driven by their passion for your brand and the desire to share that feeling with others.
What is an advocate?
An advocate is a customer who lives and breathes your brand. Their positive outlook means they not only believe in your product or service, but also in your values and ethos as a company. This passion turns into a more natural form of Word Of Mouth Marketing (WOMM), in which that trusted customer becomes an advocate for your brand with or without very little incentive.
How can you turn your customers into advocates?
Personalize Their Experience
Reach out via email, making sure to keep all messaging upbeat and friendly. Customize any messaging based on purchasing patterns and geographic location, so the customer feels a stronger connection to the brand.
Use Social Media Correctly
Focus on using your social channels as extensions of your customer service team to solve any and all customer-related issues. Transparency is key, so showing your efforts to solve issues publicly helps create a greater sense of brand loyalty for customers.
Ask For Feedback
Utilize review sections for products, encourage commenting on social media posts, and conduct post-contact surveys to gauge customer thoughts and opinions.
Create challenges for your customers to participate in, in exchange for some reward. This can be an exclusive discount, free merchandise, or another prize that strengthens their connection to your brand. These challenges can simply involve customer participation through social media.
How can brands use advocates?
Incentivize customers through referral programs that have benefits for both the referrer and the referee. Offer several different pathways for referral to maximize your reach and utilize your advocate’s connections.
Give customers the ability to earn points by leaving reviews, tweeting about a new product, or reposting content on Instagram. Then, offer exclusive experiences or products to those who have earned a certain amount of points.
Collect User Generated Content
Focus on the social channel with the most traction, and encourage customers to post their own content that positively portrays your brand for a chance at a re-post, possible use on the website, or even as content for future marketing campaigns.
Invite your advocates to join a brand ambassador community for a more robust offering of incentives and challenges that will encourage them to more completely represent and promote your brand. Creating a home for your advocates allows you to strengthen their connection to your brand, steer word of mouth messaging from the inside, and gain new customers through a low cost acquisition channel.
Brands Activating Their Advocates
We’ve put together some examples of effective advocacy marketing campaigns to help you get the most out of your strategies:
At Tesla, building positive relationships with customers stems from their referral program. This program specifically works brilliantly, because it creates mutual benefit between both the existing customer and referred customer through monetary discounts. On top of that, to encourage strong customer retention and positive outlook, Tesla added that for every 10 customer referrals, the existing customer would be eligible to purchase a limited edition Model X SUV. By combining referral marketing with advocacy marketing, Tesla incentivizes their loyal customers to promote the brand in a positive light that results in new business for the brand and .
Apple harnesses the power of seamlessly integrating user generated content (UGC) into marketing campaigns, the ultimate goal for low cost, high ROI. The “Shot on iPhone” campaign sourced images from Apple users everywhere to implement in advertisements, creating a natural relationship between customer and brand. Customers then transition to advocates because the content is more genuine and relatable for potential customers to see and be driven to purchase.
Starbucks’ Tweet A Coffee campaign where customers were able to tweet to the account @tweetacoffee and include the gift card recipient’s Twitter handle in order to receive a $5 gift card to Starbucks. Not only did this have a large impact on sales, but it allowed Starbucks to quantify the numbers of loyal customers who turned into brand advocates in order to further that relationship in future marketing campaigns. The long-term effects of this campaign far outweigh any costs associated because of the lasting relationship created.
GoPuff’s #GoBackGiveBack challenge on Instagram focused on cross promotion with a charitable backbone. The challenge involved posting a throwback picture with the hashtag, tagging @gopuff, and then challenging three other friends to participate. Upon completion, GoPuff donated $5 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America for every submission. Not only did this campaign help to build brand loyalty amongst consumers already familiar with the brand, but it helped visibility grow even more by including the tagging of additional people.
Customer loyalty and a positive brand image forge the way for advocacy marketing to effectively work for your company. Act on your authentic relationships with customers, so that they feel a deeper connection with your brand and are willing to work on your behalf.