5 Surprising Facts about Brand Advocates

Brand Advocates are highly-satisfied customers and others who frequently recommend brands and products. Advocates are your most loyal, passionate, and engaged customers. They don't just buy your products -- they sell them for you. In short, Advocates are your best marketers and salespeople. 

Here are five surprising facts about Brand Advocates:

1. About 50% of your customers are potential Advocates.

We've asked 10 million consumers and business buyers the "Ultimate Question" for customer loyalty: On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend the product you purchased or company you do business with?"

On average, about 50% say they're highly likely (9 or 10) to recommend the products they've purchased or the companies they do business with. We've seen this percentage as high as 85% for some consumer brands.

2. About 25% of your potential Advocates immediately become active Advocates.

About 1 in 4 potential Advocates immediately recommend brands once they're invited using Zuberance advocacy applications. They create five-star reviews and glowing stories. They answer prospects' questions or refer friends. This 25% "advocacy rate" is 25X to 50X higher than standard  online conversion rates. ("Conversion = audience completed the requested action.) This shows how engaged Advocates are compared to average customers and how eager they are to promote, support, and defend your brand.

3.  Advocates' reach rivals ads.

Brands spent a ton of cash in 2014 trying to reach consumers  -- a whopping $545 billion, according to eMarketer. 

Thanks to social media, Advocates' reach now rivals ads. Millions of Advocates are reaching billions on people on shopping sites, social networks, brand websites, and elsewhere. A couple years ago, Forrester said there were 500 billion social impressions created by Advocates and other consumers.

TripAdvisor tells me that the two reviews I published on the site reached 4,268 travelers. Tens of millions of travelers have written TripAdvisor reviews. If their reviews are reaching similar numbers of people, the reach of these Advocates on TripAdvisor alone is staggering.

 

4. Referrals convert at up to 150X higher rates than other leads.

Most marketers know that referrals convert at higher rates than other leads. That's why referrals are the most coveted, valuable leads.

What's surprising is how much higher conversion rates are compared to other leads.  In a recent study of B2B leads by Implisit, referrals from customers converted at 3.63% compared to 0.02% for leads purchase from a list. That's an astounding 150X higher. Yowza!

5. B2B buyers are active Advocates.

Many marketers believe that advocacy is limited to sexy brands and products, like Apple, BMW, or Starbucks.

In fact, Advocates recommend a wide range of business products and services. Right now we're powering advocacy programs for companies that sell accounting software, back-up software, web hosting services, energy management, bundled Internet services, and more.

Advocacy is highly influential in B2B. Recommendations from peers is the #1 influencer in B2B purchases overall and at each stage of the business purchase cycle, according to survey research by B2B marketing experts Bredin.

I'll be spreading the gospel of advocacy at the San Francisco AMA meeting on Tuesday, April 28 at Hult International Business School. I look forward to seeing you there.