Effective marketing enables a business to promote its products and services before the target audience and increase the chances of sales.
However, in the last few years, many businesses have been doing aggressive marketing even if their offerings are not that promising.
So, once the customer has bought a product or service, they find the quality to be different from what’s advertised.
This is why customers are gradually losing their trust in brands and services.
But what about those brands that are genuine with respect to their offerings as well as advertisement?
Market researchers are looking for ways to overcome this issue. This led to the development of a brand advocacy program which is an organic way of promoting products or services without losing customer trust.
In this article, I’ll discuss how to build a brand advocacy program for your business.
What Is Brand Advocacy?
Brand advocacy is a unique word-of-mouth marketing strategy where a happy customer recommends a given brand to their friends and family. It is an effective way to drive organic growth by amplifying the brand’s reputation, gaining customer trust, and reducing customer acquisition costs.
Brand advocacy encompasses happy customers communicating positive reviews of your company to others through different mediums like social media, reviews, blogs, forums, etc. It is a powerful marketing strategy that encourages customers about your products or services.
Furthermore, brand advocacy is only possible when a brand continues to nurture relationships with the customers for the long term while upholding their trust and honesty. Excellent customer experience is another factor that drives brand advocacy and instills good faith in a brand.
The central sphere of this program is the brand advocates, who can be happy customers, employees, or influencers. These individuals spread the good word about your brand and values to their family, friends, and other known people, and then each of them further.
As you get more customers through brand advocacy, you also gain more brand advocates who help you generate more market presence through organic ways than paid marketing.
User-generated positive reviews on various platforms are far more valuable than paid campaigns because the former helps attract more attention from vendors and new ones who, in return, give you more exposure.
Who Are Your Brand Advocates?
Brand advocates are the individuals who recommend your brand to everyone and help your organization to grow its reach. They serve as an essential part of an organization because not only do they organically help in marketing, but they also support brand reputation management.
The brand advocates of a company can be:
Customers serve as the leading advocates of a brand, and they mainly spread good words about the brand out of the excellent experience they had with your product or service.
Customers can support a company’s marketing organically, as people tend to have more trust in customer reviews than in paid marketing. Since these customers are not associated with any brand, the reviews they put in are genuine. This helps in creating potential customers.
Not only customers but employees are also considered brand advocates because they know everything about the brand and the product or service you offer. When they know you are offering a good product or service and maintain a good office environment, it will automatically make them genuine advocates of your brand.
Consequently, they start recommending others to take up your products or services or join your company as an employee.
Influencers have become popular and important figures when it comes to brand advocacy. They can help your brand get more reach than paid campaigns. As influencers have a significant number of followers on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, etc., their opinions and thoughts about something are considered valuable.
So, when influencers talk about your product or services on their channel or page, it can influence people’s buying decisions. It helps your brand in garnering a lot of attention in the market and clock more sales.
Investors, organizations, and individuals associated with your company can also become your brand advocates. Like your employees, they are also well aware of your brand, so they can also influence buyers.
Importance of Brand Advocacy
Brand advocacy is important for businesses in the following ways:
#1. Greater Brand Visibility
Brand advocacy plays an instrumental role in expanding a brand’s visibility in the market in an organic way. Brand advocates help in spreading the brand name among the consumers, thus, increasing your visibility in the market.
As a result, you won’t have to spend huge amounts on advertising alone. Instead, you can focus on your brand advocacy program and make the customer keep coming back.
#2. Achieve Better Sales
Through brand advocacy programs, you can witness better sales performance due to increased customer trust, reputation, and visibility.
Many studies and surveys have shown that brand advocacy programs have helped organizations to get better sales performance and achieve new deals. Around 20% to 50% of purchasing decisions are influenced by peer-to-peer marketing.
#3. Creating a Buzz
When a customer or group of customers spreads positive reviews of your brand through various platforms, it spreads rapidly in the market, creating a buzz.
As general consumers trust the real-world feedback of other users more than corporate ads, it helps your brand get colossal attention among potential buyers. When people learn positive things about your product or service, they get more interested, generating more leads for your business.
#4. Attention Grabber
When people start talking about your brand or product more, it also attracts the attention of media and news outlets. You will not only see your brand getting mentioned in different media posts naturally but also on news pieces and forums.
This way, it helps expand the brand’s audience reach and results in more customer acquisition. Since many people nowadays watch the news and go through articles to look for a particular product or service, brand advocacy helps your brand in reaching new customers present in different geo-locations.
#5. More Reach
You will be surprised to know that brand advocates have more reach than paid campaigns and drive your growth naturally. They will share your brand’s information with people they know if they are happy with your product or service. Word of mouth has an immense penetration power in the market, and reach grows gradually when the positive review gets passed on.
#6. Humanizes Your Brand
When your brand advocates communicate about your brand to someone, the potential customer starts considering your brand not just a company but a group of actual people working for it.
When people start hearing experiences and positive comments from the brand advocates, it humanizes your brand. The effect intensifies when advocates share how your product or service helped them and the way the brand maintains a good relationship with them and appreciates their feedback.
#7. Saves Money and Time
Unlike paid campaigns and marketing, brand advocacy is inexpensive and less time-consuming. Since your brand advocates are the ones spreading your brand name, it doesn’t require extra time, and you can focus on other aspects to grow your brand.
Moreover, you won’t have to make a considerable investment in paid marketing as your advocates cover much of your marketing for free. However, in the beginning, you will have to invest some money and time and money on developing your brand advocacy program, which will incur colossal growth as it progresses.
Other Benefits of Brand Advocacy
- Better human resources: Employee advocacy has a significant impact on the company because each employee plays a major role in the betterment of your brand’s reputation. When you have a strong employee base, not only will it attract quality candidates, but it will also inspire them to share with their peers about the goodwill of your brand.
- Increased loyalty: Brand advocacy helps your brand gain loyal customers who would buy your products more frequently than new customers. Moreover, loyal customers would bring more potential customers than your ad campaigns would.
- Valuable insights: Brand advocacy programs help you get valuable insights into the customers and market trends. Your brand advocates can help you test new products or services and assist you in getting honest feedback.
How to Build a Strong Brand Advocacy Program
Brand advocacy programs are not all about providing good products or services; there is more to it than meets the eye. You need to take certain steps to build a strong brand advocacy program. These steps are:
Propagate the Benefits and Build Trust
One of the vital imperative steps to building a solid brand advocacy program is spreading the benefits which will help in building trust.
You will have to familiarize your product along with its benefits to your employees and stakeholders so that they can feel encouraged to share their positive views with others. When you create trust and encourage their work, then naturally, your employees will get more engaged in employee advocacy.
Identify Vital Factors
When you decide to build a brand advocacy program for your business, you need to identify factors that will make your customer your brand advocates.
Quality and services are the primary factors that will develop the base of your program. Along with it, customer relationships and customer service will also play a significant role in the development.
Train Your Brand Advocates
Well, it is pretty impossible to train your customers for brand advocacy programs, but you can certainly train your employees, who can be your advocates.
Not everyone is appropriately aware of how and what they can share to spread good words about their company or the product they are associated with.
Focus on Relationships
If your customer or an employee doesn’t feel connected to the brand or product, nothing will drive them to become brand advocates.
You will have to develop a personalized relationship with your customer and employees which will inspire them to become brand advocates.
According to a report posted by SaaSquatch, referred customers are 18% more loyal, spend more money, and have higher lifetime value than regular customers.
Inspire and Surprise Your Customers
To build a strong brand advocacy program, you can surprise your customers with exciting benefits and impressive customer service, which will encourage them to share their experiences.
From social media platforms, identify your customers and appreciate them with a surprise that will inspire them to build a bond with your brand.
Encourage Your Brand Advocates
Encouraging your brand advocates will go a long way. When your customers provide feedback or praise about your brand, you should share them on your brand’s social media, making them more inclined towards the brand.
Offer shoutouts and special offers to the advocates who have caused more brand engagement than others. You can also organize monthly content and reward your advocates with unique prizes.
Track the Overall Impact
When you have made progress in your brand advocacy program, you should track and examine the overall result. You can use different analytical tools and other programs to measure the overall impact. This will help you understand your positive and negative points to improve upon.
How to Measure Your Brand Advocacy Program
So, you have created a brand advocacy program and are running it. But how would you know it’s working?
This is why it’s vital to measure the impact of your brand advocacy program. Apart from understanding the performance of your program, it will also help you decide the next moves for your company’s growth.
Here are some essential factors that will help you measure your brand advocacy program:
#1. Total Brand Advocates Gained
It is no secret the more brand advocates you have, the more reach you are likely to get in the market. The total number of advocates tells you about the popularity of your product in the market and how good your product or services is.
#2. Advocates’ Actions
When it comes to measuring the impact of your brand advocacy program, the number of actions taken by advocates serves as a crucial metric.
The total number of actions that advocates have taken gives you a broader view of the engagement of your advocates. If the total actions taken are more significant than the number of advocates, then it is a huge achievement.
#3. Contents Share
Brand advocates primarily advocate about your brand by sharing their views on social media platforms in the form of content like posts, blogs, videos, podcasts, etc. So, to measure brand advocacy and growth, take a look at the kinds of content your brand advocates share.
Besides, you need to keep track of channels or platforms where they spread the good word about your brand. It will help you gauge what the audience is thinking about your brand by looking at the number of likes and shares and reading the comments.
#4. Conversion Rate
Conversion rate serves as one of the crucial criteria for measuring brand advocacy because it is the ultimate goal of your campaign. A high conversion rate indicates that you are getting popular among new consumers and that your brand’s message is reaching the right audience.
Apart from the above, when you build a brand advocacy program, ensure you produce quality products and services so that your customers continue loving them and buying from you. You must also maintain an excellent company culture and environment that can impress everyone inside and outside the organization.
Brand advocacy plays a significant role in growing your business because it is authentic and can create an excellent market presence organically. This unique strategy offers many benefits, like better reach and visibility, higher sales, brand loyalty, and more.
This is why many brands and organizations are implementing brand advocacy programs to grow their business and market presence and gain more profits.
So, if you do it right, a solid brand advocacy program can pave the way for your product, service, and organization to be successful. This guide has all the essential information you need to understand and implement a brand advocacy program in your organization.
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