When a customer says something positive about your business, this sparks a level of trust and credibility for potential consumers. But what is a brand advocate
Brand advocates “are highly satisfied customers who share information about your products and services, without being incentivised to do so.” They are essentially free marketers who are willing to share their positive experiences, influencing their family and friends and tell two times as many people about their purchases than non-advocates.
Brand advocates aren’t found. They’re created because of a positive and possibly ongoing experience they have had with a business. The challenge for small businesses however is the way they connect with these positive customers and turn them into brand ambassadors. This post will provide insight into ways to encourage brand advocates and make the most of their ‘word of mouth’ marketing tool.
Provide relevant information
Brand advocates love sharing information and are 83% more likely to do so than the average internet user. What makes them brand advocates rather than just a happy customer is that they go out of their way to make positive comments and spruik your business.
As a business owner, you should make it easy for these loyalists to share information about your business. Ensure to consistently communicate the same message and engage with customers through a variety of channels, whether that’s your website, social media, an eDM to your database or even blog posts.
Ensure your Social Media is on point
From a marketing perspective, social media plays an important role for brand advocates. In fact, they are four times more likely than non-advocates to share information about products, brands, sales or stores using an online platform. Once a business has established brand loyalty, these advocates are more likely to become repeat customers and engage with brands they love on social media through comments and sharing content, more so than general followers.
Ensure your social media includes up to date contact details, fresh content and includes relevant information on your current products and services in addition to reflecting who you are as a brand to create that level of credibility. Social media also gives your brand advocates the opportunity to share exclusive deals with their contacts in real time so ensure to always consider various social media platforms as a marketing tool.
Personalisation is key
A KPMG Australia Covid-19 consumer report identified six fundamental components of every great customer experience and the number one driver of customer loyalty is personalisation. Nowadays, businesses can readily collect data through booking systems or customer loyalty programs which can be used to tailor a shopping experience to a consumer’s wants and needs.
Having quality and professional one on one interactions and prioritising customer service goes a long way in creating customer loyalty and brand advocates. If your business processes and staff are easy to deal with, accommodating and provide the right level of customer service, customers will be more likely to buy or use you again as well as recommend your business to others.
Collect customer feedback
Some marketers see brand advocacy and loyalty as a top priority in the digital landscape given the many marketing channels in which consumers are being targeted. Word of mouth is such a powerful tool when it comes to brand advocates. In fact, word of mouth generates more than two times the sales of paid advertising and 73% of millennials feel it’s their responsibility to tell friends and family how to make smart purchase decisions.
As a business, you should be constantly collecting customer feedback to ensure you stay on top of current trends, any negative experiences and can respond to your customer’s changing needs. You can collect data at point of sale, via social media or Google reviews or simply invite customers in your loyalty program to submit feedback via short satisfaction surveys.
The process is simple; engage, direct and reward loyal customers. Incentivising your customers to spread the word about your business can be successful however, you shouldn’t use it as a replacement for good customer service and true brand advocates don’t need to be incentivised to share information. A few types of loyalty programs include ‘refer a friend’ campaigns, a loyalty points system, percentage discounts or ad hoc ‘reward with purchase’ gifts.
Offering discounts or special rewards to loyal brand advocates and building a successful customer loyalty program for your business not only gives customers a reason to return but can also help attract new customers and capture data about your audience.
Remember your staff
It’s not just customers who can become a brand advocate, your staff are equally important. They too have an opinion and if treated unfairly can turn a positive relationship into a negative one, telling family and friends of their experience. If your staff are happy, this translates to another avenue of brand advocacy for your business so be mindful to check in with your staff, ensure they don’t feel overworked and share the work roster in advance to accommodate any leave requests to avoid any disappointing situations.
By implementing the above tips, your business should be on its way to creating positive experiences and bridging the gap between you and your customers, turning them into long term brand advocates.
This article has been republished with permission from Smartpay.
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