Turning Customers Into Advocates The Smartpay Way

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Let’s face it, in business it’s sometimes hard to get attention. But there’s a powerful tool you can add to your marketing toolbelt that really works – the brand advocate.

Brand advocates are dedicated fans of your business: customers who champion your credibility and amplify your message without being asked. It’s simple word-of-mouth marketing where your loyal customers recommend your business to family and friends. And it works. 

So just how powerful is word-of-mouth marketing? Here’s what we know. Word-of-mouth marketing leads to almost 15% of sales to consumers around the world and people are 90% more likely to buy from a business that was recommended by a friend. Even marketers love this form of marketing with 64% of them believing word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing there is.

We know that when brand advocates tell others about your business, it enhances your own marketing messages and builds trust. Brand advocates help grow your reach to new customers and even lead to more revenue. Research shows customers will spend up to 43% more when they’re shopping with a business they feel loyalty to.

So, where do you find these advocates? Brand advocates are actually created when customers have positive experiences with your business. Let’s explore how you go about turning customers into brand advocates and get you making the most out of word-of-mouth marketing.

It’s All About The Facts

The difference between a brand advocate and a happy customer is that brand advocates go out of their way to make positive comments and spruik your business. Businesses love them because brand advocates are 50% more likely to have an influence on another’s buying decision than a regular customer.  

As a business owner, make it easy for these loyalists to get the right information about your business so they can share it. Consistently and clearly communicate your messages and engage with customers through a variety of channels, including your website, social media, an email newsletter to your database and blog posts.

Ensure Your Social Media Is On Point

From a marketing perspective, social media is an important way for businesses to connect with their brand advocates. Once a business has established a relationship with a brand advocate, these advocates are more likely than regular customers to become repeat customers and engage with brands they love on social media through comments and sharing content. So, make sure you keep your social media contact details up to date and regularly post fresh content. Get posting about current products and services as well as your brand and business itself. 

You can also use social media to keep brand advocates in the loop ahead of regular followers and give them the opportunity to share exclusive deals with their contacts in real time.

Make Sure It Gets Personal

All customers want a great experience when interacting with your business and a key way to enhance this experience is through personalisation. In fact, when they’re browsing online, more and more customers expect a personalised interaction with businesses. Nowadays, businesses can readily collect data through booking systems or customer loyalty programs, which they can use to tailor each customer’s shopping experience. 

Offering engaging, personalised customer service goes a long way to creating customer loyalty and brand advocates. If your business processes and staff are easy to deal with, accommodating and provide a great level of service, customers will be more likely to become repeat customers and therefore brand advocates.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Customer Feedback

While your brand advocates are talking to friends and family, you also want them talking to you.

We recommend regularly collecting customer feedback. This helps you stay on top of current trends (brand advocates are savvy about these things), uncover any negative experiences and respond to your customers’ changing needs. You can collect this information at the point of sale, through your social media, via third-party (like Google) reviews or simply by inviting customers to share feedback through direct contact or surveys.

Get Your Customers Onboard with Rewards

It’s really easy to reward loyal customers. You can try out ‘refer a friend’ campaigns, a loyalty points system, percentage discounts or ad hoc ‘reward with purchase’ gifts to incentivise loyalty. 

Offering discounts or special rewards to loyal brand advocates and building a successful customer loyalty program for your business gives customers a reason to return and can help attract new customers.

Just remember, your true brand advocates don’t need rewards. For them, it’s all about a great customer experience. This is far more important than incentives or rewards.

Harness The Power Of Your Staff

Your staff can also become powerful brand advocates for your business. They have opinions about your business and its products or services so it’s important to ensure they have a positive experience too. 

Online and through social media, customers are much more likely to engage with brand advocates and employees than the business itself. In fact, content shared by employees on social media gets eight times more engagement than the same content shared by the business itself.

So, check in with your staff regularly, ensure they don’t feel overworked and ask for feedback from them. And don’t be afraid to ask them to post on social media or leave a review.

Creating positive experiences for your customers and staff helps enhance your relationships with them, potentially turning them into long-term brand advocates.

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