Beyond Advocate Reviews: 7 Ways to Turn Advocates into a Powerful Marketing Force

Getting Advocates to write positive reviews is an effective way to leverage your enthusiastic customers. But reviews aren’t the only way to activate Advocates. In fact, getting Advocates to write reviews is just the tip of the advocacy iceberg.

Here are seven ways that companies are currently leveraging their Advocates in addition to Advocate reviews. They’re enabling Advocates to:

  1. Create glowing stories. YouSendIt, a business content collaboration service, generated 4,000 highly positive stories in three weeks. These stories increase engagement and build credibility. By attaching promotional offers to the stories, you can also generate sales and revenues.
  2. Answer prospects’ questions. Advocates are eager to answer prospects’ questions. They’ll happily tell prospects about why your products and services are better. Ooma, a VoIP company, is getting a 25% sales conversion rate from its Advocate answers program. This approach is very effective for B2B’s and other companies that sells products and services where prospects ask others before buying.
  3. Share promotional offers with their social networks. Parallels, which enables Apple users to run Windows software on Macs, is getting an eye-popping 21% sales conversion rate from Advocate-shared offers. This is about 10X to 20X higher than standard online sales conversions rates.
  4. Boost sales for value-added services. 24 Hour Fitness is mobilizing its Advocates to build awareness and sales for revenue-generating services like personal training, group exercise classes, and more.
  5. Launch new products. Jarden Home Brands is leveraging its Advocates to launch a new automatic jam maker. They’re giving Advocates the new jam maker and encouraging them to write stories and reviews about the new product. On the B2B front, NetApp mobilized its Advocates to build buzz for a new product.
  6. Boost membership in customer clubs. Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill is finding that leveraging Advocates is the most effective way to get customers to join Rubio’s Beach Club. A stunning 51% of Advocates’ friends joined the club after getting invitations from Advocates.
  7. Defend you from Detractors. Today, nearly all companies – including yours – can become social media roadkill. NetFlix, P&G, the Gap, Comcast, and Domino’s are just a few of the companies whose reputations and sales have suffered from social media ambushes. Your Advocates will rush to your defense and protect your cherished reputation. (Of course, this assumes you’ve created an Advocate Army.)

Advocate marketing isn’t only about reviews. It’s about creating a powerful and sustainable Advocate marketing force. This marketing force will support, promote, and defend your company, brand, and products in multiple ways and over many years.

“A review created by an Advocate is only one manifestation of advocacy,” says Lauren McCadney, head of social media at online IT retailer CDW.  “This is just the start of a relationship with Advocates, not the end,” says McCadney.

Read more Brand Advocacy success stories by downloading, "Turning Your Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force."

-Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance