What is one of the most powerful marketing tactics out there that can bring you new customers? Word of mouth! It's no secret that people are more likely to listen to their peers' thoughts and opinions over the ads of the company trying to sell their product/service. Your loyal customers bring you repeat business and sing your praises, so it only makes sense that they should be your biggest brand advocates.
While most businesses would agree having brand advocates is awesome, over 50% of businesses don’t know who those people are. Even more surprising — 80% of the companies who have identified their advocates don’t leverage them in their marketing, according to JitBit. Crazy, right?
In this digital era, it's important for marketers to make customer advocacy and loyalty a priority. Brands need to figure out what makes their customers tick and then capitalize on it. These brand "cheerleaders" promote your product naturally, and best of all, companies don't pay a dime for this type of advertisement.
Here are some digital marketing strategies that can help turn your customers into those highly sought after brand advocates.
Promote a Customer Loyalty Program
Many companies offer some type of customer loyalty program. Consumers may belong to many different loyalty programs, but do they actually use them all? Probably not. The key is to make your program stand out. You can do that by keeping it simple. Try using a point based system that makes converting easy. For example, for every dollar they spend with you, they get 1 point. This point can be equivalent to whatever cash value you determine.
Another option is to charge a fee to be a part of your loyalty program. Seems counter intuitive, but it actually works. An example of this type of loyalty program is a Barnes & Noble membership. Their VIP program costs $25 a year and provides discounts, free shipping, and other perks for it's members.
Don't forget to let your customers and leads know about your loyalty program. Promote it on your website, on social media, and within your marketing emails.
Leverage User Generated Content
User generated content is any type of content that has been created and put out there by fans. It can refer to pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, and everything in between. It's the act of users promoting a brand rather than the brand itself. Research shows that 40% of consumers are seeking out user generated content of some kind before making a purchase.
User generated content is a great tool for building awareness, generating leads, and boosting sales. User generated content gets more engagement because people naturally trust one another over the brands that are marketing to them. Use this to your advantage and build a voice of loyal followers and real customers with opinions about your brand that encourage engagement and promote authenticity.
Some examples of how to incorporate user generated content in your branding efforts include:
- product reviews on your website
- unboxing videos on social media
- running photo and video contests in which followers create content specifically for you
- share and respond to customer reviews and tweets on social media
- using calls to action that encourage people to share with a branded hashtag
- community led support forums
Stand back and let your customers take center stage. By doing so, you'll be exhibiting trust and encouraging positive engagement. Use this branded content in your inbound journalism initiatives, which doesn't just influence, but drives business with it's direct connection to ROI.
Pop-Ups for VIP Offers
Pop-ups, you either love them or hate them. Our goal as inbound marketers is to provide a good user experience, but at the same time, generate qualified leads for sales. No matter what you opinion of pop-ups, they actually do work. A study by Sumo found that the top 10% highest-performing pop-ups averaged a 9.28% conversion rate! There is a fine line between annoying and effective pop-ups. The key is to create user-friendly pop-ups that don't suck.
When designing pop-ups with VIP offers, to be most effective, you need to customize the pop-up to the content on the page. Pop-ups, like HubSpot's lead flows, allow you to customize your pop-up to only show on certain pages. With keeping relevant to the content on the page, you could offer a 15% off coupon or free shipping offer on your products page. Or, once a customer has completed their purchase, use a pop-up on the confirmation page offering another coupon when you refer a friend. These VIP offers are a great way to stay front of mind with your customers. Keep them happy and they will share their positive impressions of your brand with their friends.
Create Advocates Through Personalization
We all want to feel important. No matter what industry you are in, your customers want to feel that they are number one. Personalization delivers that feeling. It's a way to get closer to your customers and it allows you to build deeper connections. Show your customers and followers that you care about the type of experience they have with your brand. They need to know that they are not just a dollar sign.
Personalization is a way to help turn your customers into brand advocates. Think about a brand that remembers your birthday and sends you a little something special on that day. Or perhaps you just bought a new dog bed for your pooch and in the package are some free dog treats. How did that make you feel? Let your customers know that you actually care about their individual experiences. Send marketing emails addressed specifically to them. Go out of your way to accommodate special requests and wow them every chance you get!
Brand advocacy is all about developing and maintaining relationships. These digital marketing strategies aren't going to break the bank, but you'll reap the benefits in the end when you work to successfully turn your customers into brand advocates. Your job is to build your brand up to something that these advocates want to share with their networks in authentic ways.
Need help boosting your online reputation? Check out our digital positioning guide.