What if you could build a sales force of five, 10, 20, 50, or 100 people, for free?
What if each of these people had a huge influence over your target audience, happily shared positive information about the products you sell, and did it every single day?
Think about the impact something like that would have on your bottom line—a lower customer acquisition cost, better margins, and a passive stream of new business. It's the bedrock of any successful business, and it's built on top of one thing: brand advocacy.
It's what fuels your most highly satisfied customers to share positive information about the stuff you sell, whether that be online or offline—information that is far more credible than any form of paid advertising.
For this reason, brand advocates are worth twice as much as an average customer and are 75 percent more likely to share a great experience with their personal network. The positive word of mouth generated by advocates is two times more effective than paid advertising and drives 20-50 percent of all purchase decisions. This adds up to $6 trillion in consumer spending each year.
B2B brand advocacy—it’s a thing
And, it's not just limited to B2C marketing channels. B2B buyers are now putting more weight on peer recommendations when it comes to purchase decisions. According to Google, 60 percent of business technology customers search for peer testimonials during the decision-making process.
The brand advocacy gap
Despite the value, there is still a wide advocacy gap. In the United States alone, less than 10 percent of brands have half of their social media mentions classified as having positive sentiment. To compound this, 80 percent of companies are not leveraging advocacy in their marketing strategies, and 58 percent have not identified who their advocates are.
This gap presents an opportunity for many businesses, despite the industry you are in. If you can cultivate a team of brand advocates, you'll be much better positioned for success in the market.
But, how do you identify the ideal advocate? How do you cultivate them?
Strategies for building advocacy
There are many strategies your business can use to build advocacy among its customer base. Here are a few:
Focus on the relationship: What makes customers fall in love with a brand? A quality product, great service, and consistent experience. Always start with the fundamentals.
Share successes: Amplify the feedback and current successes of your current advocates—mention them on social media and feature their results in case studies.
Reward customers: Host special invite-only events, provide sneak peeks into new features, create a loyalty program and send exclusive offers. Give them the VIP treatment.
Solicit and act on feedback: Consumers love to feel like their feedback is heard and valued.
Those are a just a few ways you can start to build advocacy among your customer base. To dive deeper, check out the infographic below provided by the team at JitBit Helpdesk. It covers the who, what, where, how and why of brand advocacy, while highlighting its bottom line impact for your business.
Robbie Richards writes for JitBit, a company that provides live chat and help desk software to help businesses simplify and improve their customer support.