With more B2B buyers relying on peer recommendations, companies are focusing on getting happy customers in front of those buyers. Brand advocates (also known as customer advocates) are genuine fans who recommend and support your brand — usually with a lot of passion.
According to Laura Ramos, Forrester vice president and analyst, B2B marketers are investing in advocacy because, “for little investment, many are seeing bigger returns.” Advocacy has become such a hot marketing topic that earlier this week our team attended an entire conference dedicated to the topic, Advocamp.
The good news is your brand most likely already has passionate fans. You just need to discover the right advocates, get them onboard, and keep them engaged over time. Here are five ideas to help you get started.
Find Your Advocates
“Search for people who are saying good things about your brand online, whether they’re sending messages directly to your brand, reviewing your brand or product on sites like Yelp, or simply mentioning it in a positive light in their own posts. You can also look for people who engage with your brand on social, such as followers who frequently Retweet, like, comment on, or share your posts. While they may not be as vocal as those who talk about your brand on social, they’re likely loyal and supportive followers and you don’t want to overlook them.” – Read more at HootSuite
Develop Advocate Personas (Not the Same as Buyer Personas)
“Your advocate personas should help your brand understand what will drive engagement and build a stronger relationships with your customers. Once you determine what they value most and how they’d like to advocate, you can start to build a program that will amplify their love for your brand.” – Read more at Influitive
Ask for Advocacy at the Right Time
“Customer success is about knowing your customer’s success milestones. What wins can you celebrate – such as when they finish setting up your product or see cost savings from it. Many of these milestones will have a logical advocacy ask that goes along with them. For example, when they get their first win, ask them to write a product review. When they reach a bigger milestone, ask for a bigger act of advocacy – such as sending you a referral.” – Read more at Upshot
Create Your Engagement Strategy
“From your customer journey research, you’ll be able to see which touch points work best on and offline with customers driving sales and growth. This will allow you to build the right customer advocacy engagement strategy. The most important part is to tailor engagement for each target vertical/horizontal sector. Also, it’s key to create a customer advocacy program that builds ‘mutual marketing currency’ i.e. it meets both the objectives of your customer advocates as well as your organization.” – Read more at B2B Marketing
Attribute ROI to Customer Advocates
“One way to encourage customers to give more great referrals is to share the dollar impact their referral activity actually had on your business. When you have the right tools in place, it is possible to track that lead from referral, through the sales cycle, all the way to closed. When it closes you can go back to your referring customer with some hard numbers and say, ‘Hey John, did you know the two referrals you gave us last quarter drove $63,579 in new revenue this month? That’s amazing! We are honored that you see value in our solution and want you to know your advocacy truly has an impact on our business’.” – Read more at Business 2 Community