Every day, companies around the world are competing to capture more market share and bring in new customers. They develop marketing strategies and distribute massive marketing budgets that aim to boost the customer base. But is that enough?
As businesses, simply acquiring new customers is not going to bring you immense success. You need to look beyond and focus more on converting your casual customers into repeat buyers. This can happen only when your existing customers become powerful brand advocates.
What is customer advocacy?Why is it essential to your business? These questions might have crossed your minds multiple times, given that companies across the globe are finding new ways to attract and retain customers. Out of the scores of options, brand advocacy has emerged as the safest and most efficient way of customer acquisition, retention, and brand promotion.
It’s a well-known fact that new customer acquisition costs more than selling your products to existing ones. But this doesn’t mean that you stop acquiring new customers. Question is how to win customers and keep them for life in a way that’s easy on the pocket and gives you better results than the traditional way of expanding your customer base?
Brand advocacy is the answer.
Invest in increasing the loyalty of your customers towards your company, and in no time, you will find that they have become natural advocates of your brand. Loyal customers not only stick with your firm but also play a significant role in positively publicizing your brand.
A strong brand advocacy strategy encourages two-way communication. Advocates inform prospects about what makes your products worth a try. They are active, engaged, and share the experience of being a part of your brand community in the most organic way.
This is precisely what customer advocacy is all about.
Regardless of how hard you try to sell your products, potential buyers are more easily convinced by your existing customers. This indicates that you should take every ethical step to turn your customers into brand advocates that will ensure that they talk favorably about your brand in their social circle.
Here are five ways to make this happen.
Launch Referral Programs
If people don’t know about your company or its products, it won’t be able to grow at a rate it ideally should. Are your customers telling others about their experiences with your company? If not, they’re not advocating for your brand. With that in mind, the first step we recommend is to launch a referral program.
A referral program helps you turn your existing customers into powerful brand advocates and acquire new customers. It works in a simple way – referral schemes give existing customers an incentive to bring more buyers your way. This motivates them to talk nice about your company and share the positive experiences they have had with your brand.
Image Source: referralcandy
It’s natural for your potential customers to trust their friends more. You talking ‘good’ about your brand, without anyone else doing it for you, gives a negative impression. On the contrary, your customers doing all the talking about your brand shows the credibility you have gained in the market, and instantly people will love to associate with you.
Referred customers are proven to be more beneficial than customers gained using traditional sales methods. These customers tend to have higher profitability and long association with your company, leading to much higher lifetime value.
2. Provide Excellent Customer Service
If you want to get brand advocates on board, you will have to broaden your horizons and give customers the best customer experience possible. Always strive to provide excellent services and quick support once they make a purchase and become a part of your family, as this will benefit you in the long run.
According to a recent research by Harvard Business Review – “Prompt and personal customer service does indeed pay off. Customers remember good and bad customer service experiences, and they’re willing to reward companies that treat them well.”
The first step towards providing unmatched customer service is consistently training your employees. Familiarizing them with your brand advocacy strategy is of utmost importance as this will ensure that they keep their best foot forward while dealing with clients.
Besides training employees, there are many other things you can do to be exceptional at customer service. Be honest and truthful as a brand, ask for customer feedback, and ensure that relevant suggestions are implemented. You can solve customer issues in real-time using customer support software, introduce special policies for specific customer groups, and much more.
Image Source: Warby Parker
3. Loyalty Programs
You might have seen loyalty programs of popular brands. One excellent example here is Amazon. By subscribing to Amazon Prime, its customers get various benefits such as free shipping on products that too without any restriction of minimum purchase, exclusive deals, ad-free songs, and much more. This strategy has been extremely successful, as can be seen with the popularity of Amazon Prime, and how it has penetrated the market.
By implementing loyalty programs, you can foster a customer base that not only makes frequent purchases from your online store but also has a higher potential to evolve into brand advocates.
Image Source: Amazon
How can you build a loyal membership directory, which will significantly boost your profits? It’s simple, show them the benefits that customers would like to achieve.
Express gratitude to your customers by providing a loyalty program based on their transaction history. It can be done by giving discounts, rewards, or freebies. You can even welcome new customers with a discount on or after their first order. Note that brand advocates are created when companies make an effort to understand their customers.
4. Social Media Management
Brands with most loyal customers are the ones that keep their social media game on point.
Positive comments on social media platforms should always be seen as an opportunity to interact with happy customers and build a solid relationship. Whether it is to appreciate them for taking their time out or for any of your running campaigns, acknowledging their feedback, or providing them answers to their questions, it’s important to make your presence felt on social media. It is one medium that can help you get closer to your customers by indulging in direct conversations with them and addressing any issues they have in the quickest way possible.
What about the negative responses your product receives? In such situations, you must handle them cautiously. Show compassion and ensure a quick fix if the problem persists. Stay true to your words after you make promises – that’s the best way to win the hearts of your customers.
Image Source: BT
Also, remember that social media provides customers the power to show appreciation for your brand as well as vent out their frustrations. Making or breaking your brand’s image can happen in a matter of a few seconds, especially on social media platforms. So, you need to be extra cautious and proactive in all your dealings with customers on social media.
It is crucial to identify every issue customers are facing and provide a solution to it within a specific time frame. This creates a positive image of your brand and shows that you genuinely care for your customers. Treating them right and providing them with exceptional experiences on social media will increase the likelihood of customers turning into your future brand advocates.
5. Personalized Communication
Personalization is key if you want to make your customers feel special, boost their egos, and keep them coming back for more. You will find scores of companies providing good quality products and services, but why do some of the brands stand out? What is it that makes them different and gives them an edge over others?
Personalizing your communication with customers and making them feel valued is paramount if you want them to support you for a lifetime. To achieve the ultimate goal of transforming your customers into brand advocates, one major thing you need to keep in mind is personalized communication and services.
Image Source: Amazon
In personalization, it’s the little things that count and make a big difference in your relationship with customers. For instance, addressing customers by their names while resolving queries or promoting your products, leaves a positive impression about your brand.
Treat every customer as a respected individual whose time, actions, and preferences matter. You may consider using a part of your marketing spend to train employees on how to personalize their communication with customers. This can produce excellent results in the long run.
Brand Advocacy – The Ultimate Game-Changer
What is customer advocacy – the answer to this question is pretty straightforward. But if you look closely, there are various nuances to it, given the fact that it’s entirely dependent on how customers experience your brand.
Brand advocacy is directly linked to how successful you are in keeping your customer base happy. Delighted customers are assets of your firm because they play a major role in spreading awareness about what you do and what you sell.
Research suggests that a whopping 83% of brand advocates share information about your brand, or at least are more likely to do so, and 50% of them might even impact the purchase decision of prospects.
The best way to create successful brand advocates is by cementing your current relationships and providing existing customers with one-of-a-kind experiences that they remember for a lifetime. The happier your customers are, the more willing they will be to talk about your brand.
Focus on providing customers with real value as that’s what matters in the end. In fact, it’s the secret to converting them into powerful advocates who speak favorably for your brand. The ways listed above will help you motivate customers and encourage them to promote your brand every time they get a chance.
Do you know some more effective ways of transforming a customer into a brand advocate? Let us know in the comments below.