4 Best Practices for Creating Customer Advocates
It’s no secret that it costs from five to 25 times more to earn new customers than to sell to existing ones, but there’s another side of this statistic that is rarely discussed – and often overlooked.
Because it costs less to sell to current customers, they could be your most profitable marketing touchpoint in recruiting new fans.
In light of recent digital trends, customer advocacy isn’t just a smart move – it’s becoming a necessity:
- Organic reach for brands on Facebook slipped 1-2%, while Instagram organic reach dropped 30% in 2017, meaning customers are becoming less likely to see the content you produce.
- 76% of Gen Xers and Millennials trust user-generated content more than branded content.
- Word of mouth marketing fuels 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.
Customer advocacy doesn’t just happen by accident. Rather, it takes careful thought and an ongoing commitment from all levels of the company to prove you’re worth advocating for.
Let’s explore these four best practices for turning happy customers into your most effective marketing channel:
1. Foster Conversations
In our current digital age, companies are breaking down corporate barriers that once prevented direct communication from consumer to brand. But companies should take it a step further by spurring two-way engagement.
People are talking about your brand, whether you realize it or not. Brands looking to build on customer advocacy must proactively step into these conversations and share responsibility in shaping a positive customer experience.
2. Promote a Customer-First Mentality
“The customer is always right” isn’t just an empty motto. Companies who continually put the customer experience first thrive while others flounder.
Customers want to feel their individual satisfaction matters. They feel important when you listen to their needs and grievances.
And, they’re more likely to rave about your company when you’ve gone the extra mile for them.
3. Personalize Your Messaging
Personalization is changing the face of marketing as we know it. It goes beyond adding a name to the subject line of an email. Rather, personalized messaging centers around creating a unique customer experience for every user.
Your customers aren’t account numbers or segments of an email list. Each has unique wants, needs and expectations of your company.
Adding personalized features like product recommendations or birthday messages, or getting a personal (not automated) response from your company can go a long way toward cementing a positive company image.
4. Give Them Something to Believe In
Have you wondered why the direct selling industry has grown to its current goliath state? It’s not just the products.
With over 18.6 million consultants and $34.9 billion in annual sales, the entire industry is based on customer advocacy.
And despite the number of consultants, these companies continue building their distribution base because they give sellers something to believe in.
Vacations, car bonuses, free products, heavy discounts, the chance to set your own schedule and quit your day job – these are driving factors behind why direct sellers advocate for their brands. They don’t just sell a product; they sell a dream — a desirable vision of possibilities.
Non-direct sales companies can follow this example and instill strong beliefs, too. Don’t just tell customers what a product can do – show them the full effects of how they can benefit from what you offer.
Customer Advocates Are Customers for Life
Creating customer advocates can be the best investment you make in your marketing. It’s becoming increasingly important for companies to promote authenticity, and your existing customers are in the best position to spread the word.
Interested in learning more about improving your online reputation and creating customer advocates? Download our free Online Reputation Management Success Kit today!