Advocacy marketing plays a role in boosting word of mouth marketing to happen. It makes loyal customers converse on your support and generates a ‘buzz’ for your business.
Advocate marketing uses a brand’s faithful customers to spread the word. Advocates wish to participate on their own because they like and rely on your brand. Advocacy is challenging to hone in on because it’s not as organized as other marketing models like influencer marketing or representative marketing. It’s about a brand offering an exceptional product or service and identifying those who love the brand.
In this article, we will learn more about advocate marketing like why Advocates are essential, how to attract them, and how you plan a budget for advocate marketing
Why are Brand Advocates Important?
Brand advocates can be invaluable for your business. You have to offer them something they like. Every customer aspires to get sound customer services, provide them with the best services, and win their trust.
- They will share about you without getting anything in return. Most of the advocates recommend you because they are satisfied with your product and services. Keep doing your work excellently, and they won’t demand anything extra from you. It is wonderful, right?
- They will spread words everywhere – Advocates will not be shy about sharing you wherever they get a chance. If they have a blog, they will definitely do word of mouth there. They will share about you on their social accounts.
- They will give reviews/testimonials – Another reason why brand advocates are great is that they will willingly provide you with fantastic online reviews. Most of the time, you won’t even have to request it because a genuine advocate will have already done so. We all understand the value of a useful review, so this is great to get some reviews or testimonials.
How can you build advocates?
Advocates are not easy to find, but you can build your team of advocates by making some efforts. Once you have gained the trust, then you can witness the magic of advocate marketing. Now, you may wonder how you can build your own advocates.
These are some ideas you can utilize for generating true advocates.
- Always be customer-centric – Placing your consumers first should be your priority. If you make the consumer feel important and satisfy their needs, they will acquire a sense of loyalty for you. A customer-centred culture is vital for a company. Plus, it means internal links are growing too.
- Try to become an influencer in your field – Some brands have established their name in such a way that people wait in queues whenever any new product comes into the market. The best example is the iPhone. People themselves become advocates and stand by the company because it gives something that they know they can’t get anywhere else. If you offer such products that people find unique or exceptional, then you have an excellent opportunity to get advocates.
- Pay heed to customer concerns – One of the most natural ways to create a team of satisfied customers is quietly to listen to them. If they think their voice is heard, they will feel valued, which leads to a healthy relationship with them. Once this appears, you start getting the benefit of it. Paying attention makes them connected with you for a long time.
- Welcome every feedback with a smile – It’s not only about receiving though. You have to work on feedback if you want to improve your goodwill. When you get feedback repeatedly for the same thing, you should take action to improve that, as it assures customers that their feedback is heard.
5. Always be grateful – It does not take much effort to show the thankfulness towards your customers. Gratitude is the way to tell your customers how pleased you are for their feedback and trust. Even if they share a negative opinion about something, take the time to attend, address, and acknowledge them for their feedback.
Since we have learned about the basics of advocate marketing, it’s time to learn how much it can cost your business and set a budget for rewarding them.
Estimating a budget can be difficult, notably for new initiatives like advocate marketing—but knowing the expenses can help.
Let’s dive in to learn more about it.
How much does advocacy cost?
While expenses for your program will differ, here are the two main costs linked with efficiently managing an advocate program
1. Advocate marketing software
If you have a centralized platform to connect with your customers, creating influential, personal relationships with hundreds of advocates are possible. It will also provide your advocates with an experience that a person with spreadsheets and emails can’t imagine.
The software makes sharing content and opportunities with advocates scalable. It also automates the identification process, so advocates get immediate feedback that encourages them to engage. Eventually, it should also blend with your current system to make advocate administration seamless across functions.
Software prices for advocate marketing platforms are usually based on:
- The number of representatives (or advocate persona types) in your plan
- Product add-ons, such as intensified reporting and referral features
- The level of consumer assistance you need to add.
Several companies expected to spend between $2,000 and $4,000 per month for an advocate marketing software. Businesses are expected to invest more, depending on the scope of their advocate base and program complexity.
2. Rewards and recognition
It is one of the most important marketing strategies. Since most of the active advocate marketing programs give advocates exclusive perks, attention amongst their peers, and occasional tokens of appreciation. These incentives often involve low-cost rewards (such as vouchers) and higher value items (like tickets to your annual conference).
The most relevant rewards don’t cost a lot. Experiential rewards that provide advocates access to your company, career growth, and social currency value more than physical rewards. Offering advocates a private meeting with your CEO or a chance to be in the limelight in front of their peers will incentivize them to engage more in the long run.
There are two methods for establishing a rewards budget:
Introduced a budget for rewards and made it work
Sometimes it’s simpler to fix a monthly reward budget and then create the monetary rewards that can be retrieved by advocates to stay in your budget.
The solution is to share these details with your advocates, so they don’t feel disappointed. It will also prompt them to achieve challenges faster so they can retrieve prizes before they’re gone.
- Attach value with every act of advocacy
Once you’ve set a baseline value for different acts of advocacy, you can calculate how much you should plan your budget for rewards based on the level of acts of support you expect.
For instance, let’s say you aim to get 100 referrals this year, considering the value of a referral to be $20. If you beat your goal, you’ll contribute $2,000 to get 100 referrals.
However, before you placed aside $2,000, you should remember that only 20% of advocates obtain their points for rewards. It means that you’ll likely to pay only $400 for 100 referrals (or $4 per advocate). It’s a great idea to plan a bit more than you require, so prepare for a 50% point recovery rate for all of your challenges to prevent yourself from going low on funds. In this case, you’d estimate $1,000 for referrals to be safe. Follow the same policy for any other advocacy challenges that you plan, such as recommendation or writing blog posts.
Three approaches to be considered while planning for the advocate marketing budget.
These are three other elements to analyze while preparing your rewards budget.
1. The best rewards don’t cost a lot.
You don’t require to give away costly devices or over-the-top experiences. The best rewards may not generate the results you desire.
For instance, advocates may enjoy a tour of your office and the opportunity to meet your team. They may desire to be featured in your webinars, success stories, and blog posts to uplift their professional profiles. A simplistic shout-out on social media accounts can also make them feel valued.
Low-cost reward plans include Amazon gift cards or vouchers. These rewards also have the potential to make your advocates feel privileged. But make sure that you estimate their delivery cost as well.
2. Use scarcity
Your marketing team must be aware that scarcity encourages action even if it can help you control the advocate marketing budget. The fewer rewards you have, the more value they offer.
For instance, you can launch an advocacy contest that asks consumers to send you referrals. Then, you can allow rewards to the first five customers who do so. Limited rewards will lead to faster action.
For more expensive rewards, such as tickets to your user conference, you can announce upfront that there are only a few seats available. In this way, advocates are excited to perform challenges quickly so they can reclaim their points before the reward runs out.
3. Start slow
Advocates feel motivated when you attach some value to the program. Advocates disliked it when you did not offer value from your plan. Instead of creating a vast rewards budget and blowing through it right away, it’s best to add some valuable rewards.
Your budget should progress as you notice more value from your advocacy program and learn which rewards drive the most action. You can also advertise (with small challenges) when you’ve added new bonuses, so advocates know that your program isn’t inactive.
Remember that connections take time to thrive. As advocates get to know you and earn value from your involvement, they will be less inclined towards monetary rewards. And by then, you’ll recognize what to do to keep them happy—and keep yourself on a budget!
In this article, we have learned all about advocate marketing since it is very necessary to have a fair idea about the program. Once you get a fair idea, it becomes easier to plan an advocate marketing budget.
Now, you must understand the role of an experiment with reward is crucial to have a better picture of expenses that can occur in the future.
Keep learning and experimenting.