What is customer advocacy?
Customer advocacy refers to a persistent, undying focus on your customers’ needs. It revolves around making changes in company culture with your customers’ best interests at heart.
It involves concentrating on customer success and always making efforts to increase customer satisfaction and create the most amazing customer experiences they have ever had. It means that you are on their side and you won’t betray their trust.
And what do you get in return?
Customers that swear by you. Customers that tell everyone they know how amazing you are. Customers that evolve into advocates for you.
And it’s not just a play on the reciprocity effect. Sure, you do good for them and they feel obliged to do good for you, but there’s more happening. They enjoy the social points that come with introducing people to something amazing, you just got to make sure that you create experiences amazing enough to encourage customer advocacy.
Why is customer advocacy important?
Customer advocacy is important for a wide range of reasons. Here are the most significant ones:
1. Word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing
92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth over all other forms of marketing, according to a Nielsen study.
Forrester studies have even show that people are 5x more likely to trust recommendations from others in their circles than they are to trust an online ad. They’re also twice as likely to trust recommendations from friends and family than they are to believe the information on your website.
2. Advocates tend to spend more
They’re not just telling their friends and family about you. They’re actually doing more business with you. Advocates tend to spent twice as much money than normal customers on the brands they love. But that’s not all; a 12% increase in advocacy has the potential to cause a 200% uptick in revenue growth.
3. Referrals evolve into loyal customers
When a customer reaches you through an advocate, you’ve been endorsed by someone they trust. That means that they already trust you more than they would trust a random business.
It’s much easier to turn them into loyal customers (and future advocates) than it is for normal customers. In fact, Deloitte studies have shown that customers who were referred by other customers tend to have a 37% higher retention rate than the average customer.
4. Customer advocacy programs are very cost-effective
Running a customer advocacy program is far more cost effective than most forms of marketing. And it keeps paying off, over a very long period. The amount of money you would spend on less effective traditional marketing (like a magazine advertisement) could fund a customer advocacy program for a long time.
And according to Forrester, most B2B marketers that participate in advocacy programs are able to directly attribute revenue results to them.
What is customer advocacy marketing?
Customer advocacy marketing, also known as advocacy marketing, can be defined as a type of marketing that concentrates on figuring out ways to get your existing customer base to spread positive word of mouth about your brand and offerings by making use of testimonials, reviews, and social media mentions.
Customer advocacy marketing is extremely important because more than 88% of customers look up products online before buying them, and brand advocates can help these new potential customers learn more about your offerings and even guide their buying decisions.
The most significant advantages of customers advocacy marketing are that advocacy marketing is simple, effective, and affordable. Most customers believe claims made by their peers (other customers) rather than the claims that the brand itself makes. Basically, advocacy marketing can make new customers trust you more, thus making them more open to trying your offerings out for themselves.
That other benefit is that it creates loyalty. Even if you incentivize your customers to recommend you, they’ll have to mentally justify their recommendation. To avoid dissonance, they’ll tell themselves that they referred and spoke positively about your brand because they actually like your products and the experience you offer.
Basically, it also helps you improve your existing customers’ perception of your brand, thus getting them to stick with your business much longer than they otherwise do, which leads to an increase in your customer lifetime value.
What are customer advocacy strategies?
There are a myriad of ways to drive customer advocacy. Here are X highly effective strategies to do that.
1. Understand your customers
Collect feedback, listen to the voice of the customer, find out what your customers want and what they feel is lacking. It sounds obvious, but far too many businesses do not even bother with it.
You can’t give your customers the experiences they are longing for unless you truly understand them.
2. Be responsible
What you deliver needs to match (or preferably, exceed) what you promise. You can’t expect customer advocacy if you don’t give them what you promised.
Being responsible also involves fixing your mistakes. Don’t send your customers swimming upstream in a river of bureaucracy if you mess up. That will just frustrate them. So, they’d be talking about you for sure, just not in the way you wish they did.
Owning up to your mistakes and taking immediate action to make things right though, that’s a recipe for turning negative experiences into positive ones. It shows your customers that you care about them, and there are many instances where customers actually praise brands for being responsible and fixing their mistakes.
3. Share their word
If your customers are talking about you, you need to amplify their message. Share user generated content on your social media, invite them on your webinars, share video testimonials.
Sharing user generated content is exceptionally useful. Customers see you doing that and they now want you to share their content, so they start creating content revolving around your brand. It’s a total win-win situation.