Anyone can simply have customers. You might have lots of them. Perhaps they’ll come and go and you’ll keep working at getting more customers to make more sales. But, what if there was a better, less expensive, and more effective way? It’s certainly no surprise that we’re about to tell you there is a better way…a much better way.
Yes, creating and encouraging brand advocates is the answer. But, you may be asking why and, more importantly, how? We’ll explore both, but first, let’s define it.
What is Brand Advocacy and Why is it So Important?
Business2Community defines brand advocates as customers who genuinely and actively use your products and believe in your brand so much that they want to see it succeed. Brand advocates do not need to be asked to talk about your products or your brand, they are willing to share their experiences on their own.
Brand advocacy is so important for several reasons. First, it is mostly free marketing. You may want to put a little bit of extra expense into your brand advocates, but for the most part it is free of charge. Advocates are also likely to leave very positive and powerful reviews in various locations on your brand and/or your products. Plus, they are already trusted by all of their friends and family who will be motivated to try out your products as well.
Of course, since you don’t have to put too much effort into making brand advocates, it’s also advantageous for your time and energy as well. So, how do you make customers into advocates? Here are 11 ways you can try.
11 Proven Ways to Turn Customers into Brand Advocates
1. Be Proactive
Time to get out your crystal ball and predict the future. To make advocates out of customers, you’ll want to anticipate the needs of your customers before they even know they need or want it. Let them know of any advanced services that could help them and make it known where they can get in touch with you for any issues.
2. Offer Incentives for Referrals
By rewarding your customers with incentives for sending their friends and family your way, you’ll both win. They get a little something extra and you get warm leads and potentially get new customers. Those existing customers that receive the incentives are more likely to turn into brand advocates with such treatment.
3. Engage With Your Customers
It may seem like a no-brainer, but it isn’t always as easy as it seems. Make sure you take any and all opportunities to engage with your customers on social media, via chat options, phone, email, or even telegraph if you have to. Engaged customers are much more likely to become advocates.
4. More Targeted Marketing
Use your marketing prowess to make more appealing offers by targeting specific customers that you may deem likely to become advocates. Business News Daily suggests creating a fictional buyer persona in order to identify your target market and truly understand your customer to make this work.
5. Ask for Feedback
There’s nothing that says “you matter” to customers more than simply asking them for their feedback. Customers that feel like their opinions matter are definitely going to be more likely to become advocates. Plus, you will gain invaluable insights into likes and dislikes from your most valued customers.
6. Give Top-notch Customer Service
Offering the best customer service has so many advantages for your business, not the least of which is making advocates out of customers. This is a universal truth and something you must focus on to create advocates.
7. Encourage Re-purchases
According to smallbiztrends.com, 93% of professionals believe that customer retention is as important or more important than acquisition. There is a good reason for that. Customers who purchase more than once are much more likely to keep purchasing and to become advocates for your brand.
8. Offer Loyalty Programs
Giving your customers incentives to stick with you instead of going to the competition for their next purchase is often enough to keep them loyal to your brand. Loyal customers will likely become brand advocates. Make sure your program is easy enough to use that customers will actually want to use it.
9. Personalize Your Interactions
Personalization works. It’s why it is used so often within marketing campaigns. Personalization with your products, in whatever way you can, could be a big motivator, even it’s as simple as making your offerings fit their budget.
10. Avoid Disappointing Your Customers
Make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you make promises, deliver on them. When you plan to make a promise to your customers, under-promise just enough that you’ll be delivering even more than you stated, making your customers happy and avoiding disappointing them.
11. Be Honest
If you do something wrong, admit it. If there is going to be a delivery issue, let them know. If they are having issues with your business, let them know you are sorry they had that experience and that you’ll do whatever you can to fix the issue. Honesty also goes a long way to build trust and make advocates out of customers.
How to Make Advocacy Happen
In order to have all of the data you need to create brand advocates, you’ll need the right tool. Software solutions that offer customer relationship management (CRM) features allowing you to know what your customers have purchased, what they could benefit from as an up-sell, and information about their likes and dislikes can help you build brand advocates.
Agile CRM is one such tool that can allow you to collect and access all of the information you need to give your customers the experience they need to encourage them to become advocates for your brand.
Brand advocates can be the most effective sales strategy you have for the least amount of time and budget. Turning your customers into brand advocates is possible without having to invest too much into it. Using some or all of these proven ways to encourage customers to turn into brand advocates for your business will ensure you are able to capitalize on it.