If you have ever heard myself or Rob speak, you've heard us say "Advocates create content that marketers dream of," and it's absolutely true. Think about the last marketing meeting you were sitting in. Something along the lines of this is often said: "I wish we could talk about how much people love our brand without sounding self-centered or promotional."
We've all wished it. Check out this advocate-created story by a Rubio's fan:
Now, you tell me that your marketing team can come up with a better way to share with customers how much people love your brand. Not only do Advocates go out of their way to highly recommend your product or service to their friends and family, often they have emotional ties and memories associated with your brand. How will you know about the passion behind your brand if you don't ask?
Customers trust their friends, not brands
Neilsen's latest research shows that 84% of people trust recommendations from "people I know" and 70% trust customer opinions posted online. Are your Advocates creating, posting and sharing reviews and stories about your brand? Having a focused advocate marketing program will ensure they are. When customers or potential customers search online for their next car or taco, they're going to read user-generated reviews, they aren't going to care about how great you think you are -- they want others to tell them how great they know you are.
48% of marketers are devoting at least 10% of their budget to content creation in 2014
According to an August 2013 survey of marketers in North America from Unisphere Research on eMarketer, 48 percent of marketers are devoting at least 10 percent of their budget to content creation, followed by 19 percent devoting 25 percent or more. The most important channels for content to live, according to the marketers surveyed are:
Advocate-created content is perfect for all of those places. Imagine Advocate reviews and testimonials on your homepage, a status, and in marketing collateral. Advocate reviews also help with sales material, if you have a sales team. By sharing Advocate-created content, your brand is going to create more advocates, and in turn, more content. Let's pretend your brand is a restaurant, here are a few ways you could use Advocate-created content in these channels:
- Website: A testimonial from a tourist who stopped in your restaurant as soon as they landed at the airport and ended up eating there for lunch every day because they loved it so much, and ended up recommending it to everyone they know who is traveling to that city.
- Email: A testimonial from an Advocate who had a sneak peak of a new menu item. It might have a funky name or be a product people might be weary to try, so an Advocate recommendation/review of the product with additional information and a coupon for the product might be exactly what you need.
- Social media: See the Rubio's example below. Each week Rubio's shares an Original Fish Taco story written by an Advocate.
- Search (organic): When searching for restaurants or a specific item, Yelp is always at the top of search results. Zuberance powers Advocates to write and publish reviews on Yelp (and other platforms for non-restaurant brands). People who stumble up on Yelp will see the positive reviews left by your Advocates.
As you think about your marketing plans for 2014, where do content and earned media (advocate marketing) fit in?