• 6 Great Ways to Turn Customers into Advocates

    As I pointed out a couple weeks ago, many old marketing and sales models, particularly AIDA, are open-ended, meaning that once the sales conversion is complete, the model stops and has no means of putting the customer back into the conversion loop, like turning them into brand and/or product advocates.

    Creating advocates not only increases the chances of the them returning, but their actions will influence others to become customers too, and so they end up doing your sales and marketing for you. For free.

    Let’s look at some of the ways, especially for ecommerce sites, you can create brand and product advocates.

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    • Build a Community: You hear this one a lot and writers like me tend to make make it sound easy as pie, but it isn’t. Great rewards rarely come easily, but if you manage to build a proper community around your business or products, you will have the most loyal advocates. And it can work for just about any product: check out these communities built by a scissors manufacturer www.fiskateers.com and WD40.
    • Ask for Reviews: Customer reviews are the digital marketing gift that keeps on giving. First, you engage a customer to the point that she is willing to give her time and thoughts to review your product. Second, she instantly becomes an advocate because that review influences others. Third, your product and site get more content, which boosts your SEO. All at no cost to you. Sweet. If your ecommerce site doesn’t have reviews, it may not be as difficult as you think. There are a number of pre-packaged options. Here’s one from the UK: www.loudervoice.com
    • Loyalty Programs: The granddaddy of advocacy creation tools, loyalty programs are proven to work; but they’re not foolproof. In addition to the standard “points rewards” model, you can also offer promotions exclusively to certain segments, like email subscribers; reward the return of packaging, like print cartridges; offer added-value for extended or repeated purchases; and the list goes on. Our friends at Get Elastic have a great post about loyalty programs here: www.getelastic.com/8-loyalty-programs
    • Coupons or Other Incentives: With high-profile media exposure and a tough economy, coupons and couponing are more popular than ever. If there is a customer advocacy program you can run on your own, it’s couponing. The trick with coupons and similar incentives is timing. When your customer has just made a purchase, flush with excitement as she looks at your confirmation/thank you screen, it’s the perfect opportunity to present a coupon or value-added incentive.
    • Encourage Social Media Mentions: Even though a Facebook “like” or Twitter mention will not necessarily trigger a sale, the cumulative effect of social media mentions improves your brand reputation and influences shoppers. Put yourself in this situation: you’re trying to decide between two very similar retailers before making a purchase, one has 10 Facebook Likes, the other has 10,000. Which would you choose? BTW, please follow Invesp on Twitter 😉
    • Customer Service: The perennial “no brainer” of all business marketing, when you set yourself apart by serving customers well, you create loyalty and advocacy. Bonobos is a great example. While many online retailers struggle with whether to offer free shipping, the first thing you read at the top of www.bonobos.com is “Free & fast shipping, insanely easy returns”. Imagine telling potential customers how easy it is to return your products. But being able to make a return is a major concern with online shoppers and Bonobos eliminates it immediately.

    Creating brand advocates works and there are many ways to make it work. Google Fiber is rolling out to areas with the most demand, so they encourage those who want the service to get their neighbors on board – and another advocacy program is launched.

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One thought on “6 Great Ways to Turn Customers into Advocates”

  1. Jon says:

    Great post, I read something similar from the guys at 37 signals about turning irate customers into loyal ones. You have some really great ideas and some no-brainers that are unfortunately rarely used!

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