Happy customers fuel a successful business. But sometimes, those customers are harder to satisfy than you might realize.
It takes more than just a “thank you, come again” to improve customer experience.
The modern buyer is aware that they deserve the best they can get. Likewise, it’s easy for bias to blind you as a business owner or marketer. You’re loyal to your company and don’t want to see how you might not meet customer needs.
Sometimes, you don’t want to admit faults. There might always be a reason for customer dissatisfaction that doesn’t come back to your business.
But when your success is at stake, these reasons fall away. You have no choice but to admit and fix what’s wrong to get back on the right track.
That’s when customer advocacy comes in.
Why is Customer Advocacy Marketing Important?
First of all, let’s make sure you know what customer advocacy is.
Customer advocacy is when customers have a positive opinion of your brand and its products or services. They then recommend to others, or advocate for your brand, because of their positive customer experience. It’s also commonly referred to as brand advocacy.
Think of it as a sort of organic marketing concept. You get to sell more because you did a good job in the first place.
In general, customer advocacy is important because your potential customers turn into loyal customers. You need it because today’s customers use the Internet as a purchasing tool. They check the reviews and customer feedback for almost every product or service before they decide whether or not they want to buy it.
Back in the day, they used to rely on a sales team to make their decisions for them. Today, they are the primary decision-makers. They educate themselves instead of your team educating them. They know that your business might leave out information during the marketing process because you want to generate more money.
This relatively new type of word-of-mouth marketing is more than literal word-of-mouth. Customers don’t just hear their dad or best friend tell them whether your brand is the best one to pick. Instead, they have a wealth of knowledge just a click away. They hear a ton of information from other consumers who they’ve never met before.
Customers can scroll through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and many more social media platforms to find reviews.
So rethink your traditional marketing strategy. This is not the best way to achieve effective customer advocacy. Spammy ads frustrate your customers instead of engaging with them.
How Do You Manage Customer Advocacy?
There are a lot of ways you can manage customer advocacy. But we recommend some specific best practices for you to use:
- Keep customer advocacy in mind with customer service. It’s a crucial part of an engagement.
- Ask for customer reviews. It shows your customer base that you value their input. It also provides a bank of feedback for other potential customers to go to when they choose between you and your competitors.
- Act as a link between your customer service and marketing departments. It ensures top-notch customer service practices and lets your sales team close more sales. Pinpoint any looming problems and solve them before they happen. Address complaints as soon as they come in. Respond to customers in a timely manner.
- Consider a rewards program. This encourages each brand advocate to promote your company and all that it offers. You can host giveaways on social media platforms if customers like, share, and comment on a certain post.
- Share your customer advocacy strategies with your whole team. It leads to a streamlined approach. This way, you also retain top talent, and all stay on the same page.
- Have an internal customer advocacy team. Each member can collaborate on a positive customer journey. This provides value to your brand overall.
- Engage with your brand advocates or brand ambassadors. That generates more of them down the road.
- Practice authenticity. The modern customer can spot deceptive tactics from a mile away. If you’re authentic in your customer advocacy marketing, you attract a loyal customer base.
- Brainstorm often. Your competitive market changes all the time, so you also have to implement change.
- Don’t ignore the problems. Address them so that you can show how you fixed them. Customers find the problems no matter what, so it’s best to show you have nothing to hide.
Let customer advocacy serve as the building blocks to a fruitful brand. The benefits far outweigh the reasons you might feel overwhelmed. And we’re here to walk you through the process, every step of the way.
7 Reasons Why You Need to Strive for Customer Advocacy
It can be a little bit scary to turn a part of your business over to brand advocates. After all, you’ve worked tirelessly to ensure your brand got to where it is now. But read through our top seven reasons that customer advocacy can benefit you. You’ll probably walk away thinking: “Why didn’t I think about it all before?”
It’s not too late if you start now.
On the other hand, maybe you run a startup. If you’re stressed about everything you have on your plate, you’ve come to the right place too. Think of customer advocacy as an advantage. Your program will give you a competitive edge because it shows you put the customer first. Your customer base will thank you.
Let’s dive into some of the many reasons you need customer advocacy in marketing.
It Improves Customer Satisfaction
If you improve customer experience, you elevate your brand. It’s as simple as that. Once you do, you’ll have:
- Superior brand associations
- Repeat sales and business
- A positive brand image
Better customer satisfaction means higher customer engagement. More engaged customers generate public support of your products, services, and company as a whole. They also dole out their experience with family, friends, and other contacts.
A satisfied brand advocate wants to share with their social media followers or subscribers. If they post about your brand and how it scratched their itch, that’s more positive publicity.
It Increases Conversion Rates
A Harvard Business School study showed us that just a one-star increase in ratings can cause a 5 to 9 percent increase in revenue. The researchers then concluded that positive reviews and ratings mean more overall revenue.
You can increase your conversion rates with more quality reviews.
A lot of small businesses don’t have a huge budget to spend on full-blown marketing campaigns. That might sound like a disadvantage. However, it could be just the opposite.
It means that they rely on customer or client advocacy to spread the word. Say that they keep customer advocacy in mind during product development. Then, they produce a quality service or product that breeds quality reviews. High sales numbers then come about organically.
As a result, you can say it with confidence: customer advocacy converts leads into trackable revenue.
It Reduces Customer Acquisition Cost
You probably already know that it costs way more to land a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
But if you don’t, that’s okay. Let’s look at some customer data to really drive the point home:
- Customer acquisition costs up to five times more than customer retention
- If you increase customer retention by 5 percent, you can increase profits by 25 to 95 percent
- The success rate of closing a sale with a new customer is 5 to 20 percent. However, the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent
Those are some pretty solid numbers. The good news, though, is that customer advocacy leads to better customer relationships within your company.
Loyal customers and customer advocates don’t just offer advice on how to improve your existing products or services. By itself, that already betters your business. But that customer feedback means you can improve up-and-coming products or services during product development.
They also boost your conversion rates. That helps you with more cost-effective customer acquisition. You can turn those new customers into loyal ones that you get to retain down the line.
It Enhances Brand Engagement
Customer advocacy is more than sales. It doesn’t assign a price tag to each customer and tell you what they can do for your brand.
Rather, it fosters a beneficial relationship between both your business and each of your customers. It does that through emotions. Did you realize how much a consumer’s emotions influence what they buy? If not, you soon will.
Here’s a scenario to imagine: it’s November and you walk into a superstore like Walmart or Target. You just went in to buy some basics, like toothpaste and a few groceries. You’re hosting Thanksgiving this year and you have a lot to worry about before the holiday even comes around.
But right when you step into the store, you see Christmas decorations. You didn’t want to think about Christmas yet since the stress of Thanksgiving is weighing heavily on your mind. But that falls away. You can’t help but feel that child-like excitement when you see the shiny red wrapping paper tubes. You feel the thrill of the winter holidays as soon as you look at the green tins of Christmas cookies.
There’s even a big poster with a hashtag on it. It encourages you to post your goodies on Instagram with the hashtag. The best post wins a holiday giveaway. You purchase a few ornament sets and decorations. When you get home, you post on Instagram with the hashtag.
Do you see what they did there? They appealed to your emotion with customer advocacy. It worked. You felt like you were a part of a community, so you engaged with the brand.
It Increases Your Brand Value
You of course want your market to think of you as a trustworthy brand. With customer advocacy, you can do just that. Once you establish trust with your customer base, you get to tack a higher price onto your products or services.
Your brand stands out from the competition, so consumers are willing to pay more.
Here’s the flow of that process when your customer advocacy program creates trust:
- Potential customers think about buying a new product or service that you offer
- They go onto different sites to read reviews of that product or service and your company
- If you have positive ratings, they want to buy it
- They know that your price reflects the quality they want
It Creates Strong Branding and Following
When you use a customer advocacy program, you open the door to a stronger brand. That means more people want to follow along with your brand and see where it goes.
More brand awareness only leads to more sources of revenue and higher profits from your customer core.
Advocate for your customers and they will advocate for your brand. A great way to go about this is through loyalty and referral programs.
It Promotes Decentralization of Your Team
A centralized team is made up of a lot of internal employees. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of sales reps who just want to close the sale and be done with it.
But a decentralized team has many brand advocates who promote your business. They don’t stop there. They’re sales reps in their own right. They can answer potential customers’ questions and share their own success stories, too.
Let’s think of an example:
Say you want to find a new brand of red wine. You’re not sure if you want a Merlot or a red blend. You go online to see the best options.
First, you find a cheap one from a company that everyone says gives you a terrible headache.
“You get what you pay for,” everyone says.
The next site you find is one that offers a wine subscription service. It’s a little pricier than you wanted. But you remember seeing a lot of Facebook and Instagram posts about this service and they were all positive. You look at the reviews and they’re almost all five stars.
They offer a solution for you since you don’t know what kind of red wine to get and they give you a variety every month. You go for it.
As you can see here, customer advocacy is crucial for brand success. Luckily, we also have solutions for your business to succeed. You’ll find more tips like these ones on our blog.
Our other services and solutions include increased leads, better sales training, and top talent recruitment. But here at Selling Revolution, we’re so much more than that. When you’re ready to level up in the industry, book a call with us.