Fun fact: Customer acquisition is the top priority for B2B companies according to BtoB Magazine. Here's an even funner fact: Each energized Brand Advocate will bring a company three new customers. The best part? You don't have to pay them!
First, what do we mean by an “energized Advocate?” This is a highly-satisfied customer that authentically recommends your brand, product, or service, whether it’s face-to-face, on social networks or third party review sites, via email, etc.
Advocates Deliver $567 Million for an Enterprise Software Company
In their book, Answering the Ultimate Question, How Net Promoter Can Transform Your Business, authors Richard Owen and Dr. Laura L. Brooks stated that, on average, each Advocate for an enterprise software company will bring in about one-half of a customer via referrals (the actual number was .54). The average customer spend within this industry is $1.05 million. In other words, 1,000 Advocates would bring in 540 new customers, generating a whopping $567 million for the company.
Each Advocate Brings You 3 New Customers
Using .54 as the base case for advocacy, we add 2.5 new customers. Why? There are four additional factors that were not accounted for in Owen and Brooks’ original estimate.
1. Advocates are highly effective “sales people.”
Living in the era of social media, we all know that people trust their peers more than advertising (92% vs 24% in fact, according to Nielsen). Plus, 89% of people say online reviews influence their purchase decisions, according to the eTailing Group. Parallels, a desktop virtualization software company, got a stunning 30% sales conversion rate – about 60X higher than traditional online conversion rates – when Advocates shared offers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and via email.
2. Advocates are frequent recommenders.
In many high-interest categories like restaurants, travel and tourism, and media and entertainment, Advocates refer many more than four prospects. (This was the assumption in the Owen and Brooks analysis.) For example, think about the incredible hotel you stayed at during your recent trip to New York and how many friends and colleagues you raved to afterwards. In fact, 28% of Brand Advocates recommend their favorite brands and products once weekly (source: Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates, Zuberance).
3. Advocates recommend in multiple ways.
In addition to referrals, Advocates drive sales by creating positive reviews and testimonials plus sharing promotional offers and content with their social networks. These activities drive not just social chatter, but sales.
4. Empowered by social media, Advocates reach thousands of prospects.
Since Owen and Brooks conducted their study in 2008, the adoption and use of social media has skyrocketed. Facebook’s Paul Adams states in his book, Grouped, that one Advocate recommendation reaches 10,000 people if it’s passed along only three times.
Depending on the size of your Advocate army and customer lifetime value, energizing your brand’s Advocates may boost several millions of dollars in sales. And since you don’t need to pay authentic advocates, the cost of acquiring customers via advocacy is dramatically less – about 50 percent less in many cases – compared to traditional marketing programs like paid media advertising. Now is the time to turn your Advocates into powerful and inexpensive customer acquisition machines.