You know what is one of the best things about satisfied customers? They can’t stop talking about your brand! And this word-of-mouth marketing goes a long, long way.
So much so that word-of-mouth marketing is said to be a key influencer for 74% of all consumers, and it is five times more effective than paid advertising!
For any business to leverage what is one of the oldest but most effective of marketing techniques, the key lies in successfully converting happy customers into brand advocates. What we have here is the ultimate guide on how to turn customers into brand advocates to help you do just that.
What is brand advocacy?
When satisfied customers start talking to their friends and family about your brand, they aren’t buying your product again. They are directly influencing others to buy your product. Simply put, this is brand advocacy at work.
Here’s what brand advocacy does:
It elevates your brand value among prospective customers.
It adds wings to your ongoing paid marketing and advertising efforts.
It brings in new customers, and as a result, new revenue as well.
The more satisfied customers you have, the more they’ll talk about your brand, and the more new customers will come in.
How to identify great brand advocates
While brand advocates are satisfied customers, not all happy customers are brand advocates. Here’s the ideal brand advocate profile.
1. They love your brand
The ideal brand advocate is not just happy with your brand, they’re in love! These are the customers that can’t stop raving about your products among their circles, both in person and on social media.
They’re also the type of customers who you can bank on to repeatedly do business with your brand as well.
2. They have reach
Word-of-mouth marketing includes in-person interactions and social media as well. A great brand advocate is active online and offline, has considerable reach within their social circles, and shares their points of view extensively.
3. They have had customer support interactions
The best brand advocates are also those customers who have contacted your customer support team, and have had positive experiences on that front as well. This is important because great customer experiences include both pre-sales and post sales experiences.
4. They leave reviews
As many as 95% of all customers read reviews before making a purchase. This makes it essential for your ideal brand advocates to be customers who have reviewed your brands and products on public forums favorably.
Four Ways to Turn Customers into Brand Advocates
Now that you know what the ideal brand advocate profile is, let’s jump into four effective ways you could convert customers into brand advocates.
1. Build the perfect customer service experience
Customer service is an integral part of ensuring positive customer experiences. In fact, customers are likely to move away from your brand because of poor customer service even if your products themselves are great.
This makes it imperative that you need to assure your customers of impeccable customer service if you want them to become your brand advocates. Here are some things you can do to ensure this.
Train your customer service team periodically to ensure that the level of service remains consistent.
Train your staff to be honest and transparent with your customers, even in difficult cases. An honest approach is more likely to win a customer’s trust than giving them false hopes will.
Always try to resolve your customer’s issues as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Train your team to patiently listen to your customer’s point of view instead of jumping into conclusions and rushing to provide incorrect solutions.
Use every interaction with a customer as an opportunity to exceed their expectations. This is what marketing gurus call “the wow factor”, and is one of the most effective ways to convert customers into brand advocates.
2. Engage customers on multiple channels
Do not ever limit customer engagements to any one channel of communication. Whether it is pre-sales or post sales customer service, engage with customers consistently across all available channels.
This includes personalizing experiences with them when they are on your ecommerce site, engaging them on social media platforms, communicating with them via email, messages and the telephone.
In fact, the ideal approach would be to leverage first party data and build omnichannel customer engagements to drive customer loyalty, and as a result, brand advocacy.
3. Reward customer loyalty
A great way to convert customers into brand advocates is by recognizing their loyalty to their brand. And nothing shows you appreciate them more than offering them rewards for their loyalty.
Customer loyalty programs offer loyal customers perks, such as special discounts, sneak peeks at new products and even freebies or branded swag. These rewards show customers that you not only recognize their loyalty to your brand, but that you also appreciate their business.
4. Set up referral programs
While loyalty programs reward customers for their repeat business and as a result, encourage them to spread the word about your brand, referral programs reward them for bringing in new customers.
These rewards could again be discounts for every new customer they bring in, or reward points that they could accumulate and redeem towards a purchase. An easy way to set up a referral program is to give them access to a members only referral code to pass onto their friends and family.
The fact that you reward customers for their word-of-mouth marketing efforts is sure to drive up brand advocacy and brand loyalty.
Best practices to nail brand advocacy
Here are some industry best practices to help you nail your brand advocacy strategies.
1. Make brand advocacy a core business practice
Let’s start with something every ecommerce business owner ought to do. Approach your business as a customer and check how easy it is to make a purchase on your online store. Then, interact with your staff and customer support team to judge the level of service they provide.
This will give you a fair idea about what is working well and what barriers exist. Work towards removing those barriers, and you will find that you have a lot more happy customers.
When customer happiness is what your entire business strategy is based around, your customers will automatically start spreading the word about your brand. This is what brand advocacy becoming a core business practice truly means.
2. Personalize experiences
Another sure-shot way of ensuring customer happiness and as a result, brand advocacy, is to personalize your interactions with your customers.
There are multiple ways you could achieve this. For example, you could analyze your customer’s buying behavior to customize offers and their entire online shopping experience.
Depending on the nature of your business, you could even send them push notifications to service their products or restock on their previous purchase. Leverage first party data to send them personalized greetings for birthdays and anniversaries.
Send them an email welcoming them when they make their first purchase. You could even add a discount coupon to show you appreciate their business and encourage them to buy from you again.
These personalized interactions show that you’re not looking at them as just another face in the crowd, but as individuals whose presence is appreciated.
3. Respond to feedback proactively
Use feedback and reviews as a tool to engage with your customers, even when they aren’t positive.
If a customer has left a negative review, get in touch with them immediately and understand what went wrong. Then, try to remediate the situation as best as you can. This shows that you care for your customers even after a sale has been made, and can help convert negative experiences into positive ones.
If a customer has any feedback for your brand, listen to what they have to say, and implement their suggestions to better your business. This helps build trust in your brand, and is great for encouraging word-of-mouth marketing.
4. Track engagement
Finally, it makes great business sense to keep your ears and eyes open to track what your customers are saying about your brand.
Doing this has two benefits. For one, you get a sense of what public sentiment is about your brand, and if there are any areas of concern that you need to address.
In addition, you also get to recognize who your biggest supporters are, and nudge these supporters in the right direction to become your brand advocates.
Use great post sales experiences to nurture brand advocates
While paying attention to prospective customers is essential, it is only after that first sale has been made that your relationship with your customers truly begins.
We at Dyrect recognize this, and have just the right tools you need to deliver great post sales experiences and nurture brand advocates.
From helping you access crucial first party data easily and helping you build great omnichannel engagements to enabling fast, transparent warranty resolutions and more, our expertise can help you build an unparalleled post-sales experience.
Connect with our team at Dyrect and learn more about how best to leverage our post-sales capabilities to build you a happy and loyal customer base.