The first step to running a successful advocate marketing program is define what advocate marketing means to your company and what goals do you have for the program. Do you want to gain more referrals, have your customers share more of your content, obtain a relationship that is more “sticky” with your clients, expand your customer base? If you are like most companies, the answer may be “all of the above”. It is important that you first define what advocacy marketing is and then what you set out to accomplish (ex. goal setting) with the program as you get started.
If you have not done so already, you should choose what advocacy marketing program software platform may help you accomplish your goals. According to G2Crowd’s Best Customer Advocacy Software category, you can compare a number of worthy software platforms based on an assortment of criteria. CTG has had experience with advocate marketing software leader, Influitive. The company was founded in 2010 and has a 4.4 out of 5 rating on G2Crowd. Their client list tends to be midsize to large, enterprise technology vendors.
“The customers will be put on a pedestal when it comes to delivering relevant content that matters to them and their organizations. The community will drive action-existing customers will refer team members to create a more well rounded customer base. With Influitive there is a proven science of advocacy- Influitive powers advocacy with data, deep segmentation and personalization for each advocate.”
From our experience with administering Influitive over the past year and half for an enterprise tech client, we found this to be true.
In a 2015 live video discussion (moderated by Forbes contributor Mark Fidelman), Influitive Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors (former CEO) Mark Organ joined experienced advocate marketers Paul Hetherington, CRO at iCompass; and Bo Bandy, Director of Marketing at ReadyTalk, to share their advocate marketing program strategies and best practices.
To run a successful advocate marketing program Bo and Paul suggest following these five tips:
- Define what advocate marketing means to you
- Set goals
- Know when-and how-to ask your customers to join your advocate community
- Engage advocates the right away
- Mix it up
These tips have come into play when successfully running the customer advocacy program for this particular client. One of the goals they had for the platform is to share more relevant content. The client’s marketing and engineering teams were tasked with providing content that is helpful and relevant to the customers (not just marketing fluff). The customers in turn have been very appreciative of this “technical infused” content that is made available through the Influitive platform in a creative way. Another major benefit is that it broadens the reach of the content through social shares of engaged customers.
Now that your goals are set and your advocacy marketing program is up and running, you will begin to find, if done right, you are able to develop a personal relationship with the customers and find that elusive “stickiness”. You begin to learn the customer’s hobbies, interests as well as their goals. For example we promoted a challenge asking the advocates what were some of their professional and personal goals they had for 2020. A few customers informed us through the Influitive platform they had set professional goals to learn more about our client’s solution and become certified on it. We then were able to help these customers gain the information they needed to achieve that goal and become certified.
In summary, an advocacy marketing program is a great way to engage with your existing customer base. If you are new to advocacy marketing and want to learn more, CTG recommends downloading the “The Advocate Marketing Playbook” to help with your knowledge. Please also feel free to reach out to us and speak with one of our advocate marketing experts.