Last Updated on November 23, 2023 by Asfa Rasheed
Do you have a business? If so, you know the value of reputation. Having a reputation of being a high quality brand, service, or product is one of the most reliable ways of generating sales and bringing customers – just look at any company that has been able to establish themselves as the go-to product or service in the field.
In this day and age, the most trusted type of advocacy for a brand comes from your customer base. One study found that more than 80% of millennials judge the quality of a brand, product or service based on the factors such as user-generated content, and individual’s engagement with a brand – having other consumers advocate a brand publicly and organically is what brings in business. An example we know is with TechQuarters, an IT support company that have been providing business IT support London organizations have been advocating for more than a decade. They have a strong customer-centric culture, and as a result their clients are loyal advocates.
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Leads vs. Customers vs. Brand Advocates
To understand brand advocacy and why it is so valuable, you have to understand about leads, customers, and brand advocates, and what the difference is.
Leads – a large part of the job of a business is generating leads – if you do the job correctly, a lead is an individual or group that is part of your target audience, and who will potentially give you their business. The goal is generate as many viable leads as possible, as this increases the chance of conversion.
Customers – leads are converted into customers. All this means is that a lead has purchased your business’ product or service. There are two types of customers, one-time customers and repeat customers.
Advocates – a brand advocate is a customer – usually a repeat customer – who has a high level of engagement with your brand. They may have a significant presence on your social media accounts, as well as sharing and mentioning your brand on their own social media accounts; they may also advocate your brand to their friends and families, possibly even referring them to you.
Why do you need Brand Advocates?
Brand advocates may only make up a small percentage of your overall sales, but they are an excellent form of organic promotion that authentically reflects the quality of your brand – if you provide an exceptional product or service, and customer experience, customers are more likely to become brand advocates.
So, how does a business convert customers into brand advocates? Just as every business is different, and must find their own way to success, you must find your own unique way of developing brand advocacy among your customer base. However, below are some of the top tips that, if you follow, will help you with the process:
Understand why customers become advocates
In order to attempt to turn customers into advocates, you need to decide why customers advocate brands organically. It is easy to keep track of brand advocates, as most other customers don’t engage as much as them. Looking at how individuals advocate your brand is a good way of understand why they do it; what aspect of your business has driven them to be outspoken in their support of you?
- First impressions are a key to advocacy
A customers first impression is their first interaction with your product or service, and if it is a good first interaction, they will be much more likely to return as customers. The way you onboard customers onto your product or service can make them more likely to recommend and praise your brand.
- Develop a strong customer experience
As with the onboarding process, the customer experience influences one’s decision whether they will return to a product or service in the future. Research has revealed that more than half of customers are actually willing to pay more for brands if they have a really good customer experience. To achieve this as a business, you need to factor customer service into every decision you make as a business.
- Create incentive for referrals
Personal recommendations is the most trusted form of advocacy. As a business, there is an easy way to generate brand advocacy yourself. By offering incentives for customers to refer other people to your product or service, you are turning passive customers into brand advocates. An ongoing referral program may be the easiest way to turn customers into advocates.
- Develop a great loyalty program
As mentioned before, most of your customers, even if they are happy with your product or service, will be passive customers. Your goal is to make your customers more active. Offering rewards for referrals is one way of doing it, and another way is a loyalty program. We’re all familiar with these – virtually all cafes have a rewards program. If you can devise a unique and attractive loyalty program, you’ll not only convert some one-time customers into repeat customers, but you’ll also make customers more inclined to recommend your brand.