Brand advocacy is one of the most powerful elements for growing a business. Whether through word of mouth, social media or online reviews, what a customer says about your product or service is oftentimes more effective than traditional business-led marketing methods. As a small business, enthusiastic advocates can increase brand awareness and drive new customer acquisition, but turning customers into brand advocates is a tall order. Below are some steps you can take to turn customers into loyal advocates who will help grow your brand and business:
Develop a referral program
A referral program is an easy way to encourage existing customers to share information about your brand. According to research, referred customers are more valuable than customers acquired with other marketing efforts such as direct mail and advertising. Referred customers tend to spend more money and be more loyal, leading to an overall higher customer lifetime value. By developing a referral program, you can reap these long-term benefits.
The use of incentives is an effective way to attract new customers and maintain customer loyalty. Incentives are particularly useful when first building a loyal customer base, and they are also a great way to show appreciation for your brand advocates and encourage continued engagement. If your brand advocates don't feel valued for their loyalty, they are unlikely to sing your praises. Rewarding customers for reviewing your products or services is one way to show appreciation and increase engagement that spreads brand awareness.
Launch a loyalty program
Implementing a loyalty program can drive new customer acquisition and turn these customers into advocates for your brand. Customer loyalty programs also reward the people who are already using your product or service. Be aware though that many loyalty programs fall short by operating as a standalone program, such as a transaction-based loyalty program. In order to be successful, a loyalty program should increase customer engagement with the brand through a wide variety of activities, therefore building a relationship with customers and, in turn, creating brand advocates.
Act on customer feedback
To create another avenue for brand advocacy, act on customer feedback. Respond in real time to customer feedback to demonstrate how much you value your customers. Even negative comments are opportunities to create brand loyalty. Any time you receive negative feedback, demonstrate your business' ability to go the extra mile to satisfy customers. Doing so can also improve your brand's reputation in a more personalized way than traditional marketing. Also consider collecting customer feedback to develop a process for incorporating that feedback into decision-making.
Personalize the experience
Personalizing the customer experience is one of the easiest ways to make brand advocates feel valued. To better connect with your customers, address them by name. Whether you're communicating over the phone, in an email or in person, referring to a customer by name will help personalize a customer's experience with your business and make them feel valued.
Brand advocates don't just buy your products or services, they sell them for you. Turning customers into loyal advocates for your small business is a powerful marketing strategy that can build your brand and lead to new customers. Some tried-and-true methods for fostering customer loyalty and turning customers into brand advocates include developing a referral program, offering incentives and a loyalty program, acting on customer feedback and personalizing the customer experience. By using one or several of these methods, you can ensure overall business growth and customer happiness!