Because new customers represent new revenue, common goal when marketing your business is to attract such customers. Every business and marketer strives to do this with their marketing efforts.
However, oobtaining new customers should not be the only goal a marketer reaches for. As important as it is to obtain new customers, it is also important to remember your current ones. After all they have already given you their hard-earned money so you know there is an interest there. While you should focus much of your marketing on growing your base of customers, you should also devote some effort into turning your current customers into brand advocates.
What is a brand advocate?
According to Sprout Social:
“A brand advocate is someone who elevates your brand through word of mouth marketing. Brand advocates leave positive reviews about your product. They also refer new customers and create content on your behalf. Brand advocates even contribute useful insights to your user personas.”
Some consider brand advocacy the holy grail of marketing. When you consider the following it is not hard to see why:
- 83% of brand advocates are more likely to share information
- 50% of brand advocates are more likely to influence a purchase decision than a regular customer
- 90% of consumers report that a word-of-mouth recommendation is the leading influence on their purchase decision.
Essentially brand advocates are fans of your business who want to see your business succeed. Given their influence over the purchasing decisions of other brand advocates have the power to help your business grow.
Now that we have established who brand advocates are and the positive impact they have, let’s take a look at how you can turn customers into advocates for your brand.
Deliver Good Customer Service
Quality customer service is so important to the success of any business, regardless of the industry. Given the reach of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and directories like Yelp, if you provide poor customer service, people will know. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to get someone to speak on behalf of your business. Even if they do, can they drown out the negative comments or reviews?
When it comes to developing brand advocates, it all starts with providing good customer service.
Know and Address Their Problems
Remember, the reason your business exists is to address the needs of your customers. If you cannot effectively do that, then you will not be in business for long. Before a customer can become a brand advocate, you must demonstrate that you know their pain points and are capable of addressing them.
If you can do that in an effective manner, while providing quality service you will set the stage for a person to go from customer to advocate.
Remember Communication Is a Two-Way Street
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who does not let you speak? It does not take long to tune them out and you may avoid future interactions. Marketing is very similar. If all you do is send marketing or promotional material to your clients, they may eventually tune you out or ignore you altogether.
Avoid this by including them in the conversation. Social media is great for this sort of interaction. Ask questions, do polls, or even ask for reviews. If you really want to go deep you can do a focus group to learn more about who your audience is and their pain points. This type of interaction shows you are interested in more than a quick sales and could result in some customers becoming advocates.
Keep Your Promises
This one ties into addressing the needs of your clients. If you promise something to your clients, either through an ad or via the sales process, make sure you follow through on that process. Remember, no one likes to feel they were lied to or taken advantage of. If you fail to live up to your promises, your customers might feel you tricked them.
However, if you consistently live up to your promises you customers will begin to trust you. For some, this could be the first step in becoming an advocate. Remember if someone is going to refer someone they like or care about to your business, they must believe you are trustworthy and have faith you can address their needs.
Be Transparent and Admit When You’re Wrong
I thought about separating these last two points, but they really go hand-in-hand. Over the lifetime of your business, it is likely you or your employees will make a mistake or two. If a customer calls you out on it or if you notice it yourself, be honest and apologize. If possible, explain what caused the problem and explain how you plan on preventing it happening in the future.
Your customer will feel better because you owned the mistake and detailed how you plan on fixing it. This is something else they can point to as they consider becoming an advocate for your brand.
You have put a lot of hard work into developing your business and your brand. Capitalize on your efforts by turning your current customers into brand advocates. They will help you solidify your current base of clients while helping you attract new customers.