Your biggest fans spend 13% more and refer 45% additional value in new business.
This was one (of many) fun facts I learned last week at a presentation by Influitive at the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit. So what is advocate marketing? Advocate marketing is akin to customer evangelization, coined by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba in their excellent book, Creating Customer Evangelists. Advocate marketing puts your best customer advocates at the center of your marketing and sales efforts. It harnesses the passion of devoted fans into a campaign to spread the word about your products and services. Rather than general efforts to improve word-of-mouth, this process focuses on a few selected customers who are vocal and want to see you grow and succeed.
Effective advocate marketing involves three simple steps:
1. Identifying your best customer advocates. According to Influitive, customer advocates are often customers, but they can also be partners or employees. Advocates can be singled out based on a combination of sales, referrals, social mentions or Net-promoter scores (a simple but effective means of calculating how likely someone is to “promote” your products and services).
2. Creating a reasonable, doable “ask” for them to advocate for your company. Once you have identified your group of customer advocates, you want to have a variety of simple tasks they can do to further your marketing and sales efforts. Ideally these “asks” should be something that is either quick and easy, or enjoyable for the advocate. For example, some fans may be active in social media, others may love testing new technology, others may love presenting at conferences. Here are some of the activities you can request of your customer advocates:
- Reviews for your company on LinkedIn.
- Reviews on rating sites such as Yelp
- Product feedback and testing
- Content for your website or blog
- Presentations on behalf of your company at conferences
- Customer testimonials
- Social shares
- Blog comments
3. Providing rewards for active advocates. Rewards do not have to be monetary incentives. Often customer advocates are simply looking for emotional or other intangible rewards such as:
- Career value
- Being part of a team
- Respect and a reputation as being knowledgeable within their industry
- Special perks, such as dinner with the CEO
Influitive cited examples of impressive returns such as 500% more leads, increased sales and higher overall customer satisfaction. The key to success is in creating a focused campaign tied to marketing goals. Click here to get the Advocate Marketing Playbook.