How To Build A Thriving Advocate Marketing Program—Even If You’re Short On Time

Sand clock iconYour advocates are your secret marketing weapon. When you call upon your advocates, they will often help you with your marketing and refer you new customers. This can boost your brand and give you a huge advantage over your competitors.

To engage your advocates, we recommend posting a steady stream of challenges that ask your advocates to do everything from sharing your content to watching a funny video.

But it can be hard to find the time to create challenges and keep your AdvocateHub fresh.

Heather.PHeather Pepe, sales enablement manager for PGi, is here to help. PGi is the world’s leading provider of collaboration software and services. Heather runs the company’s advocate marketing program—PGi Insiders—and has plenty of creative ideas and time-saving tips to inspire you.

“We launched PGi Insiders in January 2015 because we wanted to get more customer references and case studies,” said Heather. “The program has helped us do all this, and much more.”

Within a year and a half of launching, the PGi Insiders program has resulted in:

  • 560 new customer advocates
  • 92 referral submissions
  • 190 product reviews
  • 10 published case studies
  • 54 product testimonials

powerpoint icon hourglass 2Video Chat: How To Make Time For Advocacy…And Save Time In The Long Run

Tuesday, May 24th, 10am PT | 1pm ET

Join Heather and other successful advocate marketers for an interactive video chat where they’ll discuss how much time they invest in their advocate communities, share-time management tips and more.

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The PGi Insiders complete an average of 3 challenges every time they log in and are active 24/7. One Insider submitted a product review at 1:50 AM on a weeknight!

Heather engages the PGi Insiders through a variety of advocacy challenges. She divides her challenges into three equal pillars: fun, educational and asks.

Pillar #1: Fun

Just because you’re selling to professionals, it doesn’t mean they’re all business all the time. Making things fun can help you engage more advocates and get better overall results from your advocacy program.

PGi’s advocates are the most active over lunch, so Heather likes to entertain them during their break. She posts a new fun challenge every day. Her most popular fun challenges have included:

  • Quizzes. The PGi Insiders love Rebus puzzles, trivia questions, riddles and fun quizzes. One of Heather’s top challenges of all time was an “Are You Smart Enough to Work for NASA?” quiz.
  • Contests. Sports predictions, such as picking winners for March Madness, and a photo caption writing competition where advocates voted on a winner were crowd favorites.
  • Meet the Insiders.  Each week, Heather features a different PGi associate and provides two truths and a lie about the person and the advocates guess the lie. For one of the team members, Heather posted a video of a PGi sales rep doing a cartwheel and landing in a split because no one believed he could perform the acrobatic feat.
  • Holiday-related questions. By tying into holidays you can make the challenges very timely.  For instance, asking advocates what resolution they broke a few days into the new year. She also ran a contest where PGi Insiders voted on the worst Valentine’s Day gift and posts quizzes relating to the history of holidays.

pgi_advocate_challenges_1

It’s worth noting that fun challenges aren’t worth a lot of points, but they do serve a purpose: they keep Insiders coming back to the program so they will complete bigger challenges once they are engaged.

Pillar #2: Educational Challenges

Educating your advocates can help them get more value from your products or services. Then, they will be more likely to recommend you to others, and be better able to write reviews.

One of Heather’s most popular challenges asked advocates to read product literature and then take a quiz on how well they knew the material. This is a clever way to get customers to learn more about your products.

A few of Heather’s other top educational challenges have included:

  • Posting articles about industry trends. PGi Insiders like to read articles about productivity, focus and collaboration.
  • Product information. This can include content such as videos and release notes.
  • Training, including tutorials on how to use PGi’s products on mobile devices.
  • A tip of the week. This helps advocates get more value from being a part of PGi’s customer advocacy community.
  • Customer success stories. This allows Insiders to see how other companies are using PGi products and learn best practices. It also opens the door to see customers would like to ask for follow-up information on a particular solution.
  • Information on upcoming events. PGi regularly hosts webinars and participates in conferences, which gives advocates another way to engage with the brand.

pgi_advocates_challenges_2

Pillar #3: Marketing Asks

The more you engage advocates with fun and educational challenges, the more likely they will be to help you with your marketing efforts. Here are some ways your advocates can help:

  • Sharing your blog posts and other content on social media.
  • Providing testimonials.
  • Agreeing to be featured in a case study.
  • Writing product reviews.
  • Sending you referrals.
  • Participating as a customer reference.
  • Attending your events.
  • Completing feedback surveys about your products or services.
  • Completing their profiles, so you can collect demographic information.pgi_challenges_advocates_3

How to Create Tons of Challenges When You Don’t Have Tons of Time

Heather publishes 20 or more new challenges each week. This number may sound daunting, but you don’t need to devote all your time to your advocacy program to see results.

Here are three ways you can get more done in less time.

1. Get your team involved. Heather’s colleagues are committed to the success of the advocacy program. They brainstorm ideas for challenges. They also send Heather content that she can share with advocates.

2. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Heather doesn’t create all of her content from scratch. She finds fun quizzes online and shares links to them. She also posts links to articles from popular sources, such as Harvard Business Review and Entrepreneur. You can also have recurring themes. For example, post a new quiz every Monday and share your latest blog posts on Tuesdays. The more structure you have, the less time you will spend managing your advocacy program.

3. Clone your challenges. After you create a challenge, you can clone it so you can quickly reuse it later. For example, Heather clones all of her trivia challenges. That way, everything is already set up, such as the number of points she awards when someone completes a trivia challenge.

“You don’t need to spend all your time managing your advocate marketing program,” said Heather. “If you use these tips, you can greatly reduce your management time while you keep your advocates engaged and turbocharge your marketing results.”

Contact Influitive today to learn how mobilizing your advocates can make your marketing and sales programs more efficient, authentic and engaging.

This blog was originally published May 15, 2015.