You may spend millions of dollars on elaborate marketing campaigns. But there is nothing more powerful than a trusted recommendation from a Brand Advocate. Here are ten real-world examples of companies turning their enthusiastic customers into powerful marketing forces. 1. Give you referral leads and help sell you products and services, serving as a virtual sales force.
Club One, a California-based Fitness chain, has created an Advocate army of over 10,000 enthusiastic Club One members which have generated thousands of referral leads.
2. Write highly positive reviews of your products or services, boosting your online ratings.
Parallels, a desktop virtualization software company, has created an army of 30,000 enthusiastic Advocates who have written hundreds of highly positive reviews and published them on shopping sites like Amazon.com. This quickly boosted ratings for Parallels Desktop 7 software from 3.5 to 4.5 stars.
3. Create glowing testimonials about their experiences with your company or products.
In only a few weeks, Buick Advocates have written over 1,600 love letters and 16% of Advocates have shared them on Facebook.
4. Answer prospects’ questions, overcoming buyers’ objections and reducing shopping cart abandonment rates.
Ooma, a VoIP provider, gave Advocates the opportunity to answer prospects’ questions. 1,587 Ooma Advocates or about 8% of Advocates opted in and each question is getting an average of 2.3 answers. Ooma received a staggering 50% click through rate among prospects who get their questions answered by Advocates.
5. Share your content and offers with their social networks, driving referral leads, clicks, and sales.
Chili’s Bar & Grill, the casual dining chain, generated nearly one million inbound referral clicks from its Advocates sharing offers with friends, a 120 percent response rate.
6. Help you launch new products.
NetApp gave its Advocates a sneak peek video of a new version of one of its products a couple of weeks before it was released. NetApp Advocates shared the video with their peers which generated about a 100% response rate; that is, for every outbound share by Advocates it got one inbound referral click.
7. Create better ads than your high-priced ad agency and more compelling copy than your most skilled wordsmith.
Here’s an example of a story written by a Rubio’s Advocate:
Now, can an advertising copywriter produce content like that??
8. Defend your cherished company and brand reputation from detractors.
Safelite, an auto glass repair service, saw its star ratings on SuperPages.com leap from 2.35 to 4 stars after its Advocates wrote reviews. The average star ratings for Advocate reviews were 4.9 out of 5 stars.
9. Alert you to competitive threats and market opportunities.
Advocates will alert you when they discover similar companies claiming to offer a similar service or when they have an experience with your brand they don't believe is up to standards. For example, as a Four Seasons Advocate, I've notified the manager on duty when I found the room service did not meet Four Seassons' standards of excellent customer service.
10. Give you profitable ideas and produce feedback.
Method, maker of non-toxic, biodegradable household products, sent out a tweet asking its Advocates to contribute phrases the company could put on the bottom of its bottles. More than 500 Advocates responded.
To learn more about finding and activating Brand Advocates, purchase "Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force" by Rob Fuggetta from the retailers on the right.
For a sneak peek, download Chapter 1 here.