In our last post, we discussed what advocate marketing is, why it works and why marketers love it. Now let’s dive into how to motivate your advocates and keep them engaged for the long-term.
Motivating through value and needs
Let’s be honest. Happy customers will spread the word without much nudging. But you often can’t turn loyal fans into raving advocates without serving up the right incentives. Advocates have their needs, too!
For advocate marketing to be most effective, participants need to feel valued, recognized and be rewarded with perks and feedback.
Here’s a recipe for success:
1. Create a surplus of value early on
To hook your advocates in the early stages of the relationship, first ensure they are experiencing great value from your products and services. Exceed their expectations in the very first days to generate true fans and build relationships that will carry you beyond future support cases and provide the foundation for advocacy.
2. Deliver a compelling invitation
Just like any other campaign, the invitation to your advocate marketing program should clearly indicate what it is, why you’re asking them to join and what’s in it for them. An aura of exclusivity, a welcome email from the CEO, and recognition of early successes may also help your advocate conversion and retention rates.
3. Provide an amazing advocate experience
Too often advocates are abused or neglected. Your program needs to avoid these pitfalls and deliver what they really value. What makes advocates tick?
Feeling like part of the team. Customers who are deeply invested in a brand want to be involved in decision-making and appreciate opportunities to provide their feedback.
Knowing they’re making an impact. Customers like to know that their contributions make a measurable impact on the business and need feedback on their engagement. If they provide a referral, let them know if that turns into a new customer. If they suggest a new product feature, let them know if it’s going to make the product roadmap.
Increased social currency. While many advocates respond positively when they unlock badges, perks and awards, what they’re really looking for is status and recognition. For example, invite them to speak as an expert at your next user group or provide a LinkedIn recommendation highlighting their industry expertise. They’ll love it.
Advocates can be kept engaged with fun, interactive challenges and regular feedback. Segment advocates to provide the right activities that align with their interests and the motivations that are irresistible to them.
Creating value and keeping advocates fully engaged are what keeps an advocate marketing program effective, fun and profitable.
As social communities continue to evolve, word of mouth will keep impacting buyers’ decisions. Companies who tap into this force with advocate marketing will stay ahead of the curve. And the best part is that they’ll be doing it while growing an organic community of like-minded fans who want nothing more than to share their happy experience, earn some recognition and have fun doing it!
Curious about how an advocate marketing campaign can put you ahead of the curve? Download Influitive’s Advocate Marketing Playbook and discover how to turbocharge your next marketing campaign.
Chris Newton is VP of Business Development at Influitive. He started the first product-centric customer advisory board at Siebel, and created one of the earliest advocate marketing programs using Influitive’s AdvocateHub platform at Xactly before joining Influitive. In his life before software marketing, he was a pilot in the U.S. Navy and earned an MBA at Harvard.
Photo of social media heart collage by Kathleen Donovan, used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.