How to Create Brand Advocates
For small business owners, brand advocates can be a huge asset. Not only are brand advocates loyal customers, they also become key players in your marketing efforts. A brand advocate not only purchases from you, they also talk favorably about you or your product to others.
Acquiring customers is nice, but keeping customers is how you will stay in business. This is why it’s important to create brand advocates. In today’s internet-driven society, brand advocate’s are more important than ever.
Why? Consider these stats from BrightLocal’s 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey:
• 88% of consumers read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business
• 72% of consumers say positive reviews build trust with the local business
• 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
Turning existing customers into brand advocates can be time-consuming, but the payoff is huge. Here are 7 ways to turn your customers into brand advocates.
1. Encourage online reviews
When potential customers read positive online reviews about your company or products, they will be more willing to purchase from you instead of a competitor. To earn more online reviews, simply ask your best customers to write them. You could even offer an incentive such as a coupon or free gift. The key is to avoid being pushy.
2. Use email marketing
Email loyalty campaigns are the most successful ones you will ever send. In fact, 72% of email marketers rate loyalty campaigns as effective or very effective. Include information and content that is relevant and valuable to your readers like news, sales promotions, and product information. In your email campaigns, encourage subscribers to forward to friends and family.
Looking for a good email marketing service? Call us at (937) 387-0655!
3. Exhibit good customer service
Nothing kills a relationship faster than bad customer service. Answer questions right away. Even better yet, help customers before they even complain. One time, I was in the drive-thru lane at Chick-Fil-A. My wait was a little longer than usual, and when I got up to the window, they said my meal was on them because of the wait. I did not even need to vocalize my annoyance.
What did they get out of it? Well, I immediately tweeted my appreciation to the corporate account and told my friends what happened. Even better for them, I consider them more often when I go out to eat.
4. Offer helpful content at relevant times
Think one step ahead of your consumers at all times. When you are helping a customer with an issue, share follow-up articles that answer logical next-step questions. For example, if you help a customer pick the correct type of shovel they need for their garden, follow up with an email that includes links to articles about gardening.
5. Ask what they want
Asking your customers what they like and don’t like is the easiest way to learn what you could be doing better. Reach out to them via email, phone, social media, or even in person.
6. Accept short-term loss for long-term gain
Sometimes it costs more to accept a returned item or not charge for a service, but that can be cheaper than having to make up for a bad review and/or losing sales.
7. Improve your products
No amount of marketing or good customer service can fix a bad product, so find ways to make your core offerings incredible. Offering a great product eliminates the issue of having to make up with your customer.
In summary, invest in your customers and they will invest in you. Turn your loyal customers into brand advocates and keep them happy to increase your company’s longevity.