The Rule Of Thirds: Why Advocates Need Asks, Education And Fun To Stay Engaged
Your colleagues on your marketing team may love it when your advocate marketing program floods the web with product reviews and social media mentions, but every meal needs the right mix of ingredients to be pleasing to the palate.
If you want to keep your advocates coming back for more, you need to include a little fun and learning in addition to those hard-hitting asks.
Getting the right mix can be a bit tricky, but it’s also incredibly important. You don’t want to burn out eager advocates by asking for too many referrals or case studies. On the other hand, if your hub is just one big party, you may soon find your sales team knocking at your cubicle door.
We have a simple rule we use to try to make everybody happy: The Rule of Thirds. Following this rule ensures you always have an equal number of the three types of challenges: Asks, Education and Fun.
What exactly do these challenge types mean?
As the name suggests, this type of challenge asks advocates to do stuff for you. Good asks can include reference call requests or detailed product reviews on a third-party website. Your sales team will love you for them, but after a while, they’ll wear your advocates down. What’s an advocate marketer to do?
Get sneaky – in the nicest kids-eat-your-vegetables kind of way, of course. Or, the B2B equivalent: Turn an ask into an educational challenge. If you don’t want to just ask your advocates to share some content, ask them to read the post and answer questions about it instead. This way they’re getting something out of it too.
Educational challenges teach your advocates about your product and make them more knowledgeable customers. Educated customers are more engaged customers who require less hand-holding to get the results they’re looking for.
They’re also happier ones – as advocates gather all kinds of knowledge through educational challenges, they can use those skills to impress their boss or colleagues with their amazing results later on. And the more praise they get, the more likely they are to praise you!
Everyone loves to have fun, and I think by now we’ve established that these types of challenges are the ones that will keep your advocates coming back.
But they also have a hidden superpower – they drive engagement in other areas.
Let’s say you ask your advocates to take a picture wearing company swag while on vacation and post it on Twitter, or you ask them what book is on their wishlist to perk them on their birthday.
Sure, they’ll be thrilled. But as they click through challenges they enjoy, they’ll eventually find their way to the challenges you REALLY want them to do.
Before you know it, you’ll get increased participation in the education and ask type of challenges from people who just came in to have a little bit of fun.
That’s what happened when Quorum’s online marketing manager asked his advocates if they prefer Star Trek or Star Wars. Read Kevin’s story.
How to make challenges fun
When brainstorming fun challenge ideas, it’s often helpful to look to current events for inspiration. Holidays and sporting events are some of the most successful fun challenge topics.
One of our customers, Bomgar, decided to launch a fun football challenge ahead of the “big game” in February. It not only drove 60 challenge completions in just over 24 hours, but also led to advocates completing, on average, at least two additional challenges. The Bomgar Insider’s fun challenge got them off the bench, so to speak.
Final quick tips
Keeping these three different challenge types in mind will help create balance, but it’s not enough. You also need to keep an eye on how many challenges you have in your hub at any given time.
We’ve found that having more than 20 challenges available at once overwhelms advocates. If they’re logging in during a brief coffee break, they shouldn’t be bombarded by a million asks and requests. Too many choices will make them pull away.
But, at the same time, you also want to make sure they have enough challenges so they don’t get bored. Fewer than 10 challenges also tends to be a bad move, because you need enough challenges to keep them interested and give them a number of options to choose from.
If you need some fresh ideas, you can pop by AdvocateHub’s Challenge Template Library and the recently-added “New this Month” section. Your Advocacy Coach will also visit your hub regularly to make sure you have the right challenge mix and suggest changes, if necessary.
It may take a bit of experimenting, but you’ll get a feel for which types of challenges work best for your particular advocate mix and create the right balance.
So, what does your challenge mix look like these days?