Customer advocacy marketing plans help brands amplify the positive impacts of satisfied customers. While some loyal shoppers will take the initiative to share their thoughts on social media or refer a friend, brands can improve those results by implementing a plan. So, how do you put together a customer advocacy marketing plan?
Creating a customer advocacy marketing plan
Here are things to consider for your plan:
Consider what you’d like customer advocates to accomplish. Most brands plan to leverage customer advocates as promoters. They might ask them to participate in interactive social media campaigns, attend events, or review products.
Before you identify advocates, though, think about:
- Your team’s availability
- What kinds of campaigns you’ll create around advocates
- The potential payoff you’re hoping to achieve
Essentially, you need to assess whether or not you have the time and money to see ROI from your efforts. Usually, advocates aren’t (officially) recognized by a brand, nor are they paid for their support, so advocacy plans are often cost-effective tactics for brands. However, there is a time investment to identify advocates and engage with them, so consider availability.
Part of your customer advocacy marketing plan is to identify people willing to share their brand experiences with others. You can usually find advocates by:
- Looking for people who engage with your brand on social
- Looking for people who leave glowing reviews
- Reviewing data and listing customers with multiple purchases over the last year
- Sending a customer satisfaction survey and identifying the happiest of customers
Think about how you plan to communicate with advocates as well, and as you identify them, jot down their social media handles or email so you can reach out if needed.
Consider a structured program
Some brands create structured customer advocacy programs. For example, a brand could ask advocates to join an online platform and create something similar to a rewards program. For each task completed, like buying a product, leaving a review, or following the brand on social media, advocates are given points to redeem towards products. The idea is to reward advocates for supporting your brand.
If you’d rather not put that kind of investment in, you can certainly curate a list of customer advocates and reach out to them on an as-needed basis. When you’re ready to launch a new product, for example, you could reach out and ask them if they’d like a free product in exchange for an honest review, or you could invite them to participate in a photo-sharing contest on Instagram.
As always, it’s best to start small. If your brand is new to customer advocacy marketing, start by engaging advocates on your terms and shift to a more structured program when you see success.
Plan a series of campaigns
How do you plan to activate advocates? Devise campaigns that mobilize them. For example, you can:
Run a UGC campaign
Ask advocates to participate in a campaign that encourages them to share a photo or video on social. A company that sells bakeware could ask advocates to share a picture of their favorite holiday recipe, for example, or a makeup company could ask advocates to share a tutorial.
Ask for reviews
As more people research and buy products online, reviews have become essential. Ask your team of advocates to write reviews. You can collect reviews via a survey or direct them to Google to leave a review.
Remember, you can repurpose testimonials too. Consider adding them to your website or share reviews in your monthly newsletter.
Set up a referral program
Your advocates are happy to share their thoughts with others, so why not ask them to direct those cheery thoughts toward potential customers? Through a referral program, you incentivize advocates to turn their friends into customers. You could give advocates a cash incentive, like $10 for every friend they refer, or give them a different perk, like first access to popular products.
Identify ways to measure success
As with any marketing plan, you need a way to gauge your success. You can consider monitoring:
- Revenue growth stemming from referrals
- Engagement rates on social media
- Social listening
- Customer satisfaction score (CSS)
- Net promoter score (NPS)
The metrics you plan to measure are based on the purpose of your customer advocacy program and the types of campaigns you engage them in.
Customer advocate marketing has a lot of perks. It’s often an affordable marketing method that gives a voice to loyal customers. Your brand can boost brand awareness, social engagement, and even sales through authentic advocate promotions. Consider using the information above to create an actionable customer advocacy marketing plan.