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Incredible Ideas to Build a Successful Advocate Marketing

I will begin this blog, by giving you a perfect example of Advocate Marketing. I am sure every one of you has heard of the brand ‘Apple‘. Apple has its customers all around the globe. Whenever there is a new launch of any product you can see the long queues of people outside the Apple stores. To the customers of Apple, the price and product don’t really matter. You will always see them defending and boasting about the brand.

Thus, this is the power of advocates aka loyal customers. Advocates are the customers that initiate a little to a brand/business more than any other. The advocates of Apple defend its brand and also sometimes overlook the dissatisfaction.

This was pretty much about advocates and how they work for a brand and gives out best to the business. Let us now begin with the insights of advocate marketing. Further in this blog, we will learn how it works and how to recognize the advocates for your business.

What is Advocate Marketing?

Advocate Marketing is considered as one of the best ways to make your customers talk about your brand. But not all the hundreds and thousands of your customers can be the advocates. Out of the hundreds of 10 customers can be said to be true advocates for your business.

what is advocate marketing

Advocate marketing can be best explained if we know how word of mouth marketing works. As we all know word of mouth means when your customers spread the good word about your business to their friends. Similarly, in advocate marketing, you ask your advocates to talk about your brand and promote amongst the people.

Ask your advocates to write online reviews about your products because 92% of the people rely on online reviews before buying any product.

There are a lot of ways by which you can ask your advocates to engage in your campaigns. We will learn about all further in this blog.

Who are Advocates and How to Recognize Them?

recognize best advocates

Here are ten specific ways you can recognize and promote your brand advocates in return for their efforts:

  1. Invite them to executive retreats
  2. Send them to educational industry conferences
  3. Give them special status at user conferences (Reserved front row seating or early registration for track sessions, for example)
  4. Let them participate in product sprints or roadmap discussions
  5. Recommend them or endorse their skills on LinkedIn
  6. Follow, re-tweet, like, promote. Lavish social media love on them
  7. Go out of your way to make introductions & connections
  8. Put them on stage, as often as possible
  9. Offer them guest blogging opportunities
  10. Set them up with media & analyst interviews

How to Attract Advocates?      

The great thing about advocate marketing is that it’s not just a one-channel initiative.

Depending on how open or large you want your own program to be, you may use some or all of the following onboarding tactics:

attract advocates to your brand

1: Use email as a scalable recruiting tool

The email will be one of your most important channels to on-board advocates. You should test a variety of email templates. Some basic ideas to include:

  • A letter from the CEO
  • The promotion of content that was recently contributed by advocates
  • An update showing growth in the number of advocates
  • Articles in the customer newsletter promoting the advocate marketing program

2: Enlist sales and customer support

Employees from sales and customer support can help enlist advocates in the program in a one-to-one manner. Marketing should provide these “recruiters” with information on target advocates, key campaigns and tools, such as call scripts and email templates.

3: Leverage inbound marketing

You can incorporate the advocate marketing program into your content calendar. Blog posts, webinars and videos that feature advocates and the success of your program are all good tools for promoting it.

Regardless of the type of content you publish, make sure that there is a strong call to action about participating in the program and that the content links to a landing page where people can sign up as advocates.

4: Use social media

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all-powerful recruiting tools, particularly for companies that already engage customers, partners and influencers on social media. Use these channels to promote the overall program, specific campaigns and advocates who are active participants. Many social media applications are the ones who get to the advocate’s list.

5: Get your product team involved

Especially for technical audiences, some of your strongest advocates may be already interacting with product management and engineering teams through user surveys and product beta programs. Get these teams to ask which customers are the most active ‘hand-raisers’ for trying new product features, or who are actively involved in product user groups (either by hosting or speaking).

6: Align your launch with a customer event

Annual user conferences or customer-oriented conferences are a great place to launch your advocate program. Not only do they literally give you a stage from which you can deliver an impassioned call for participation, but physical events typically carry with them a level of excitement that you can tap into to boost membership.

Not to mention, events offer opportunities for dozens of types of advocacy that you can put into action – from spontaneous meet-ups and gatherings to the active promotion of keynotes and track sessions from impassioned customers.

7: Make advocacy part of the customer experience

The advocate marketing program should be embedded in your overall customer experience. For example, when on boarding a new customer, make the advocate marketing program part of the welcome email. You can also promote the program via customer channels, such as the support portal or online customer community.

8: Recognize early adopters and strong advocates

As the program grows, capture early feedback and success. You can record video testimonials about the program and recognize your advocates by promoting early adopters. You should also champion early successes internally to motivate your colleagues to talk to their customers and prospects about the program.

Where to Find the Advocates?

If you find enough fans out there in the marketplace, you can create an advocate marketing program. That advocate marketing program can help you increase your brand recognition, increase your demand, and create a sales pipeline for your team.

how to find advocates

The first thing you’re going to need, of course, is active advocates. So where are you going to find customer advocates? There are three streams of advocates that can fuel your program and create a flood of advocacy for your company.

1: Your #1 fans

The first is your most obvious stream of advocates – the self-identified brand advocates in the marketplace today.

You know who these advocates are. They talk to analysts on your behalf, do media interviews, speak at events and let you do case studies about them.

They’re passionate about your vision and they’re happy to be part of this program. They’re going to be the critical core of your advocate marketing program, but they’re not enough. You need to add additional advocates to that program to make it work.

2: Customers connected to your colleagues

You can find advocates by walking the hallways of your organization because customers interact with your business in a variety of ways. To find those advocates, you must start by talking with others in your company.

Think about it: product management teams run beta programs and do user surveys. They’re a great source for finding advocates that could join your program.

Salespeople always have references in their back pocket that they rely on as part of the sales process. They can identify advocates who can join the program as well.

Finally, don’t forget your customer success team. They’re the front lines in interacting with your customers and they can always identify customers that they’re coaching, educating or providing tech support to who come away enthusiastic and might become candidates for your advocate marketing program.

3: Your happiest and newest customers

Lastly, you need to build a pipeline of advocacy. It’s not enough to just identify a core group and run the program – you always want to be onboarding new advocates. How do you do that?

  • Net promoter score (NPS) program: If you run an NPS survey, you’re already measuring how satisfied your customers are with your product and services. Ask those who say they are satisfied to join the program and they’ll be more than willing to do so!
  • Customer onboarding process: When you first sign a customer, that’s likely the most enthusiastic they’ll ever be because they’re really excited to get started and be successful with your product or service. Talk to them about your advocate marketing program as you onboard them and see if they’d like to join.

Some innovative companies are even experimenting with onboarding customers through their advocate marketing software to start advocacy behaviour from day one!

When you combine these three streams, these sources of advocacy, you’ll find that in no time you’ve got a flood of goodwill that’s helping to support your marketing programs.

If you find enough fans and evangelists out there in the marketplace, you can create an advocate marketing program. That advocate marketing program can help you increase your brand recognition, turbocharger demand, and create a pipeline for your sales team.

The first thing you’re going to need, of course, is active advocates. So where are you going to find customer advocates? There are three streams of advocates that can fuel your program and create a flood of advocacy for your company.

How Keep Advocates Engaged?

There are a huge number of advocates available, you can run various advocate marketing campaigns. There are dozens of campaigns that advocates can support, but it’s important to keep in mind that all campaigns are not the same and created for all. Some may be better suited for newly on-boarded advocates while others are best for experienced advocates.

keeping advocates engaged

Some common examples to keep your new advocates engaged are:

  • Refer new customers
  • Contribute to a piece of marketing content
  • Follow or mention the company on a social network (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Review products
  • Contribute to a community discussion
  • Participate in a beta program
  • Take surveys
  • Participate in research
  • Act as a reference for the sales organization
  • Read and share a blog post

Regardless of the types of advocate campaigns you choose to run, there are a handful of best practices you should follow to ensure the success of a campaign.

You should always specify two types of objectives:

  1. Define the objective that the campaign will support, such as new customer acquisition or improved customer satisfaction.
  2. Define the tactical objectives, such as the number of advocates that will need to respond to the campaign.

The following are the practices that one marketer should keep in mind before launching their advocacy campaigns to keep their customers engaged throughout.

#1: Target campaigns to specific advocate personas

Successful advocacy campaigns send targeted tasks to specific advocate that are designed just for them.

For example, you might create an industry-focused white paper and ask for advocates to submit two or three paragraphs. The promotion for these asks should be sent only to advocates from that industry.

#2: Consider the advocate experience

There are three foundational elements that must be included in each campaign that will define the experience the advocates will have as they complete the various word of mouth campaigns:

  1. What you will ask the advocate to do
  2. What will constitute valid participation in the campaign
  3. How you will reward advocates who participate in the campaign

#3: Converting Advocates should be the Priority

Many marketers make the mistake of assuming that advocates will simply want to participate in campaigns. They don’t spend much time creating compelling campaigns that drive high conversion rates.

Asks should be presented like any marketing offer with good copy and a heavy emphasis on a compelling reason “why” the advocate should participate.

  • Draw Inspiration & Best Practices from your Social campaigns.
  • Use deadlines and limits to create a sense of urgency: Creating urgency will help motivate your advocates to take the time to complete a particular task right away.
  • One effective tactic is to set a date when the task will expire.
  • Another approach is to limit the number of people who can participate.

#4: Mix campaign types to maintain high Engagement

While you are building your advocate program to increase the effectiveness of your marketing and sales conversions, not every campaign should represent as a task to customers. Mix high-value campaigns with purely informational or even entertaining variations. These can be surveys, contests, puzzles or maybe trivia. Alert your advocates about campaigns.

How you alert your advocates about specific campaigns is dependent on their level of value or difficulty:

a) Low touch

Advocates should receive consistent updates about new campaigns as they are launched, such as a weekly program digest or newsletter that summarizes this activity via email. The campaigns included in this type of alert should be quick and easy enough to bring your advocates back into the program, where they’ll see and hopefully participate in additional campaigns while they’re there.

b) Medium touch

Campaigns that are only relevant to a small group of advocates or which allow only a limited number of participants may warrant a real-time email alert, similar to the type of notifications you might receive from a social network.

c) High touch

Some campaigns are so urgent, specialized or challenging that they require some form of personal outreach, such as a personal email or phone call. High touch alerts ensure your advocates feel that you respect their time and also provide the opportunity to explain exactly what you’re looking for beyond a short campaign blurb.

#5: Optimize your campaigns

Make sure you optimize your campaigns by analyzing a handful of metrics that tell you about their performance. For example, track the number of potential advocates for a task versus how many responded out of them.

You should also leverage feedback from advocates, especially in the initial phases of the program.

How to Implement Advocate Marketing?

There are a lot of software providers out there in the market who help you to create advocacy programs. It takes a lot of effort and interactive ideas to engage customers via advocate marketing. Thus, asking an advocate marketing software provider to create an advocate marketing for your business is a better idea.

Also, it is not easy to identify true advocates of your business this is why you need advocate marketing software. Such software captures the customers and advocates who will be promoting your brand.

Read more on the Importance & Benefits of Advocate Marketing Software

Sara Williams

Sara is a Content Writer at InviteReferrals. She is not only a creative writer but also paints a beautiful canvas. She makes sure that you are left with no doubt on keeping up with marketing and sales.