Do you have a sales team that is tasked with creating leads and closing contracts? If this is so, then what are your current strategies? Do you have one for increasing your web presence to help boost sales through your website? Or one to re-engage leads by sending out email drip campaigns?
No wonder these are some of the most amazing techniques that can help generate new business for you. But, if such is the case, then you wouldn’t be reading this article right now. Isn’t it so? The real problem is these amazing strategies require the active involvement of an equally amazing team to make it work. More so true for startups who do not have the time or even the resources to invest in their business.
Won’t it be a relief if instead of burdening your team members with all the responsibility of your new business, you could share some of the hard work with your customers? Wait… what? Is this even real?
Yes, it is. And it’s got a name as well; Customer Advocacy. Wikipedia defines it as “a specialized form of customer service where the companies focus mainly on what’s best for their customers. It is a change in the company’s culture supported by customer focussed service and marketing techniques.”
In other words, it is everything that you do to put customers needs above yours. It includes never to pull a quick one over your customers to make a quick buck or to lie to them in order to land a sale. How else do you expect to turn your customers into the advocates of your brand? But before the how comes the why.
Why do you need to turn customers into advocates?
Because nobody will trust a new company in the market if they proclaim just how great they are. But wait they hear it from their friends about the exceptional customer service they received and see if they don’t believe this time.
Also, the loyalty of every brand advocate you make will always be with you i.e. he/she will continue to spend with your company only, add their lifetime value to your business and see if it doesn’t go through the roof.
You need to turn your customers into advocates because they lend a certain credibility to your brand by being a low-cost way to spread your message through word of mouth publicity which the majority of your marketing strategies fail to do.
How to create your own Customer Advocacy Program?
I have mentioned the following points keeping in mind that you are new to this whole customer advocacy thing, but even if you are an already established business, still there are a number of ways you can update and modify your customer advocacy strategy.
a) Before jumping headfirst into this program, take some time for preparation. First of all, develop your own working strategy (that too a solid one) that perfectly sums up your customer advocacy program. While doing so, carefully analyze how you will communicate the news regarding your customer advocacy program to those who are interested. For better results, pick your team that comprises of both marketing professionals and customer service agents.
b) After the team selection its time to select the right people among your customers to be your brand advocates. How? By reaching out to them at the right time in the right place with the right message. Usually, the best bet is the people who are already successful bloggers or the ones with a huge fan following. The idea here is to choose the customers with a reputation within the community and turn them into your best brand advocates.
c) Now you have both the right advocacy program and the right advocates to reach out to, all that’s left is get in touch with them and develop a relationship. How? Based on trust and mutual understanding. Think of your customers as friends, listen to them, invest your time, and show support to them. Invite them to test out your products before buying and ask for their feedback in return. Turning your customers into your brand advocates requires a continuous, ongoing effort.
d) Lastly, the feedback that you received previously can be passed down to your research and development team to be acted upon. Also, you need to make sure to provide your brand advocates with a proper platform that allows their voice to be heard. As a final step, its time to fully integrate your customer advocacy program into your current working schedule. The best part is, it will all happen naturally though it might require you to make efforts to keep the momentum going.
A strong customer advocacy program can help your business by converting customers into your brand advocates thus driving in new leads, increased ROI and an improved brand reputation.