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HOW TO GROW AUTHENTICALLY FROM WORD-OF-MOUTH MARKETING

Why you should find and recognize brand advocates

It’s never easy… getting up the courage to make a public declaration of love. When it comes to loving a brand, it’s often made through a spontaneous shout out or these days, a quick click of a button to share feedback. Business owners need to pay attention: ignoring customer accolades and shout out’s may risk alienating a brand’s biggest fans and the valuable word-of-mouth marketing that follows.

Why pay attention to what advocates say about your brand? Aside from the fact that word-of-mouth marketing is essentially free promotion, there is evidence that these fans are big contributors to the bottom line. Advocates are typically 5x more valuable than an average customer in terms of their own spending and the referrals they generate, Zuberance. According to McKinsey, a relevant recommendation from a trusted friend is 50x more likely to influence a purchase.

Advocates are typically 5X more valuable than an average customer in terms of their own spending and the referrals they generate

A relevant recommendation from a trusted friend is 50x more likely to influence a purchase Click To Tweet

WHO ARE ADVOCATES FOR YOUR BRAND? ASK THESE QUESTIONS TO FIND OUT:

Who is sharing your content regularly? Do they cross promote offers and incentives with their networks? Are they Pinning images, retweeting tweets or forwarding your newsletter?

Who are the most influential advocates? How large is their network and are they considered authorities in their circles of influence?

Who is taking the time to create original content about your brand and which channels are they using to spread the word? Above and beyond sharing, original content is even more valuable when a fan sings your praises in their blog or in other articles.

What is the response to content that is shared? Are any themes emerging? What is being talked about the most? Check the comments in forums and read what others are saying and learn from this unsolicited feedback.

Are customers evaluating your product in public forums? Look at online discussions like Yelp reviews or Trip Advisor ranking along with mentions on your own digital platforms. These can be easy ways to find fans along with customers that need more convincing.

HOW CAN FANS BE ACKNOWLEDGED TO DEEPEN THEIR ENGAGEMENT WITH YOUR BRAND?

“Why not allow happy customers to speak on your behalf, and use the opportunity to create a dialogue that can improve your customer service, your product, and, ultimately, customer satisfaction?” Forbes

There are plenty of ways to reach out and give a high-five to brand advocates.

At a bare minimum, recognize their contribution:

  • Write a simple thank you and send it via email or right where they will see it
  • Share a shout out to highlight their comments / accolades
  • Send an invitation to provide feedback, fill out a survey or join a focus group

To deepen engagement, give them a special invitation:

  • Offer membership in a loyalty program
  • Send them special access to curated or unique content

Reward them or pull out the stops to surprise and delight:

  • Provide product samples or gifts
  • Ask them to test a beta version of a product or service
  • Send them branded product or swag

There are ways to estimate how an advocate helped the bottom line. Whether it be repeat purchases or product recommendations to a wide network, consider how the impact of an advocate’s endorsement could be measured. After adding this up, a bigger thank you might be due!

Remember, your customers are not: page views, click rates, email addresses or twitter handles. They are people – just like you and me. Chances are, they will appreciate the recognition for their efforts and be more inclined to share again in the future. Learn more about how to connect with brand advocates at a deeper level. Contact us today to capture new customers and grow a network of advocates.