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May 31, 2022

Are you able to track how many customers mention you positively in conversations? Do you use that to your advantage, such as by driving more sales and attracting more clients? Over the years, customer advocacy best practices have become vital to a brand’s development and ability to stay relevant to its target audience.

Customer Advocacy Best Practices

Building customer advocates doesn’t happen overnight. It takes careful planning and a commitment from everyone in your company to show your customers that you are worth advocating for.

Let’s look at four customer advocacy best practices that can turn satisfied customers into your most powerful marketing tool.

1. Foster Conversations

In the digital age, consumers want to communicate directly with brands. Companies should take advantage of this by fostering a two-way dialogue.

Your brand is being talked about, whether you realize it or not. If you want to build on your customer relationships, you need to actively jump into these discussions and share your side of the story.

2. Promote a Customer-First Mindset

The customer is always right is not just a cliché. Companies that put their customers’ experiences first and foremost will flourish while those that neglect this aspect of their business will struggle.

Your customers need to feel like their individual needs matter. They like to feel that their concerns are being heard.

And, they’ll sing your praises when you’ve taken the time to go above and beyond for them.

3. Personalize Your Messaging

Personalized experiences are changing the marketing landscape. It’s not just about adding someone’s name to the email subject, it’s about creating a unique experience for each user.

Your customers are real people, not numbers or email addresses. Each has unique needs, expectations, and goals for your company.

Personalization can go a long way towards building a strong relationship with your customers. Personalizing your greetings, using customers’ names, and offering them products based on past purchases are all great ways to build that relationship.

4. Give Them Something to Advocate For

With 18.6 million people working as independent sales reps and $34.9 billion in revenue, the entire consulting industry is based on customer advocacy.

And despite a large number of consulting firms, these companies continue to thrive because they provide sellers with something to aspire to.

Direct sellers advocate for brands because of the many perks they offer — vacations, car bonuses, free products, heavy discounts, and the chance to quit your day job. They don’t just sell a product, they sell a dream.

Companies outside of direct selling can adopt this tactic as well. Instead of just telling your customers what your product can do, give them examples of how it can improve their lives.

How to Launch a Successful Customer Advocacy Program

Many brands have seen an increase in customer loyalty and community as a result of their growing focus on creating advocates.

But, creating a successful advocacy program requires a dedicated group of people, a well-thought-out strategy, and the willingness to do things right.

Here are some tips on how to create a successful campaign.

Building a Community of Advocates

When creating a strategy for a sales development initiative, it’s important to first determine your “why”.

Why are you creating this program? What do you want to get out of it? Once you answer these questions, you can establish your vision for the program.

Having a realistic set of goals and benchmarks will help you stay on track and ensure that you are working towards your vision. Having success plans in place for both before and after your product launches will help ensure that you meet those goals.

Your customer advocacy program should be built around the needs of your customers. Keep their best interests in mind throughout the planning process to ensure that the program provides them with value and benefits them in some way.

By ensuring that your customers have a great experience, they’ll be more likely to share that experience with their friends and family.

When building your advocate community, you must have support from your executive team. This will ensure a positive experience for everyone.

When you have a team that is passionate about their work, it makes it much easier to build content that is sourced from different departments and levels within the organization. Having this buy-in from all members of the team ensures that the community you are building will be relevant and top-of-mind for everyone involved.

Before your initiative gets off the ground, it’s important to assign someone to be the project leader. This person will be in charge of keeping everything organized, and making sure that the initiative stays on task.

Give your program manager the support they need! They’re going to be interacting with your community members a lot, so you must give them the tools to succeed. By encouraging them, you’ll build a stronger community.

You’ll want someone who not only understands your target audience but also creates great creative content and builds relationships.

This role will be instrumental in building a community around your product.

customer advocacy best practices (Source)

Launching an Advocacy Program

Once everyone is on board with the plan, it’s time to start building the automated program itself.

It usually takes 45-90 days before an advocacy program is launched, depending on the company’s resourcing, recruiting style, and audience.

When brainstorming ideas for your program, don’t limit yourself. Be as creative and original as possible.

Your sales team needs to feel enthusiastic about your outbound marketing campaign for them to have success.

Think of yourself as your ideal customer. What type of information would you want to see? What would make it worth signing up?

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Be open to the ideas and feedback of your community.

Depending on your goals, you may want to invite only your most elite customers to join your community, or cast a wider net and invite anyone interested.

Building an active community doesn’t happen overnight, and your most active customers are a great place to start.

When launching an advocacy or referral marketing initiative, it’s often best to soft-launch it. By giving a select group of your best advocates early access, you can gain valuable insight into how they’ll behave and what drives them. This insight will be extremely valuable when you finally roll it out to a larger audience.

Launching Your Community

We’ve seen some really cool launches! While each program is different, there are some commonalities that they share.

This is an organization-wide effort. Who should be involved in launching the program will depend on its specific objectives. The best programs are run by people who are constantly engaging with the community and excited about its growth. This is organization-wide and those involved will vary based on the objectives of the campaign.

As your Hub becomes more complicated, having a dedicated team to manage all of the moving pieces is key. Integrations with your other marketing technologies, like your CRM system, are important to keep everything in sync. Your IT or marketing teams should be involved from the beginning, so they can help set up these integration points.

As you prepare for the launch of your online community, it’s essential to involve people from various departments. Your sales, marketing, and customer service teams all play important roles in the creation of a unique platform for your members.

Ideas, feedback, and contributions will flow freely through this channel as your membership base expands.

What is Customer Advocacy?

A customer advocacy approach focuses on providing the best customer experience possible, which will build their trust in you to the point where they will generate word-of-mouth referrals. This, in turn, will help to bring in new, loyal customers.

Customer advocacy starts with understanding your customers. Knowing their needs, expectations, and experiences is key to providing the best possible service. By putting yourself in your customers’ shoes, you can provide the best possible experience.

By adopting the customer advocate mindset, organizations can strengthen their bond with customers, build trust, and expand their client base.

If you want to establish trust with your clients and grow your customer base, then customer advocacy should be a priority.

Customer Advocacy is more than simply a strategy, it’s a philosophy of putting your customers first.

When companies integrate strategic adoption and integration of a customer advocate program, they can guarantee certain outcomes. These can include improved financial performance, operational efficiencies, and a better overall brand reputation and image.

Customer Advocacy vs. Customer Experience

Customer advocacy is different than your customer service and the voice of your customer. It encompasses your entire relationship with a brand through its products, services, and interactions.

This second method involves gathering information about your customers’ experiences, and their needs, directly from them, as opposed to from other sources.

While these ideas are different, they each affect one another. A business that bases itself on customer advocacy will directly influence the customer experience and the voice of the customer.

Measuring Customer Loyalty with the Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The Net Promoter Score is a helpful way of measuring customer loyalty. It is based on a simple question: “How likely would you recommend us to someone else?”

Customers answer on a scale of 0 to 10, and their responses are used to generate three categories that measure the degree of loyalty to the brand: Promoter (9 and 10), Passive (7 and 8), and Detractor (0 to 6).

Companies that achieve an above-average Net Promoter Score (NPS) in their market will double their growth rate.

This proves that customer advocacy is key to the economic turn of your company.

Conclusion

Customer advocacy best practices are becoming an increasingly important part of marketing. It can help companies promote their authentic selves, and customers can be the most credible advocates for a brand.

When it comes to measuring customer loyalty and advocacy, the Net Promoter Score is a great place to start. By following the best practices outlined above, you can get the most out of using NPS as a tool to improve your business.

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