I’ve got a question for you, marketers—what if there was a way to generate:
- Thousands in sales pipeline
- Hundreds of online reviews
- Countless pieces of user-generated content
- Increased web traffic and social shares
- Higher engagement rates and Net Promoter Scores
…by tapping into a network of fans and evangelists your company already has?
You might say that sounds too good to be true.
But I say it’s quite possible.
In fact, that’s why we here at Influitive created the Best Advocate Marketing Awards (a.k.a. The BAMMIES). They honor ten incredible teams who put their advocates (customer, partner, or employee) at the heart of their growth strategies.
And, each year, we reveal the tactics, strategies, and programs these award-winning companies used to engage customers and deliver value to their businesses in an annual eBook (which has been downloaded over 1,700 times the past few years.)
If you want to read all of the 4th annual BAMMIE winners’ stories, you can access them here.
Or, you can enjoy a preview by reading this blog about how the Customer Success team at Jon Wiley & Sons won the 2017 BAMMIE award for ‘Best Discover, Nurture and Mobilize Strategy.’
How Wiley drives pipeline through an advocate marketing program
Wiley, a global research and learning company, helps people and organizations develop the skills they need to succeed.
In 2016, they launched WileyPLUS Studio, an invitation-only advocate marketing program, using Influitive’s AdvocateHub platform.
Its goal? To support and engage college instructors and student ambassadors who use the WileyPLUS learning platform.
Within the first year of launching the program, they built a community of nearly 1,100 advocates.
In 2017, they wanted to aim higher, and increase this number to 1,800. They also wanted to generate 50 references for their sales team to help close new business more quickly and effectively.
But how would they motivate users to join and help them?
“We know from previous research that customers who are properly onboarded and trained achieve the highest levels of satisfaction with our product—which translates into increased revenue and usage,” says Nicole Dingley, Director of Customer Success at Wiley.
So, the team set out to consistently uncover new advocates for the program and create a strategy for nurturing relationships with them.
Guiding customers toward advocacy early
Wiley took a multi-channel approach to recruiting new advocates by:
- Promoting the WileyPLUS Studio program through a landing page and a video that went out to 6,000 instructors
- Inviting conference attendees to drop by their booth, join the program, and receive a WileyPLUS jacket
- Funneling users of the WileyPLUS Academy, an asynchronous product training platform, to the WileyPLUS Studio advocate marketing program
- Asking customers to register and submit questions for a virtual town hall via the WileyPLUS Studio
The key message to future advocates about the program focused on four main benefits: connecting, sharing, free swag, and learning about Wiley products.
As a result of these tactics, the Wiley team grew the WileyPLUS Studio community to 2,010 advocates—an 83% increase from the previous year.
Now that they had a process in place for uncovering new advocates, they needed to get these advocates excited to interact with Wiley and contribute to the company’s success.
Building trusted relationships through education and engagement
To nurture relationships with instructor and student advocates, Wiley used fun, interactive Challenges to train and educate them on WileyPLUS best practices and features.
“Through the WileyPLUS Studio program, we’re able to educate advocates on best practices, training paths, feature enhancements, and more,” says Nicole.
Top performers who completed the most Challenges were given insider access to the Wiley team through product feedback opportunities and special events, such as Wiley’s interactive customer Town Hall.
Learn more about Wiley’s successful Town Hall program in this video.
The virtual Town Hall’s goal was to bring Wiley’s advocates, management team, and non-member customers together outside of the WileyPLUS Studio program to learn from each other.
All registrants had to create an account in the WileyPLUS Studio program to join the Town Hall.
And, instead of coming up with an agenda for the event, the Wiley team asked advocates what they’d like to see covered.
The results: the Wiley team received 200 responses through the WileyPLUS Studio program, which helped them shape the content they would cover for the day. They ended up having 175 online attendees, and uncovered 62 new advocates for the WileyPLUS Studio program in the process. The Town Hall also received a CSAT score of 4.6/5.
Nicole says, “Moving beyond the numbers and thinking a little bit bigger, there’s something intangible about what happened that day. We started to form a new sense of trust with our customers: when they tell us what they want, we’re going to listen.”
Mobilizing happy advocates to drive business results
By guiding their advocates’ journey with a ‘Discover’ and ‘Nurture’ strategy, Wiley is able to ‘Mobilize’ advocates to help them achieve their goals.
Through the WileyPLUS Studio program, the Wiley team:
- Motivated 30 instructors to write 111 reference letters that influenced $250K in new business
- Supported the achievement of $65M in sales for the WileyPLUS product through better retention and expansion
- Reduced WileyPLUS user churn by 54%
- Generated 917 testimonials
- Received 1,466 pieces of product feedback
- Improved Net Promoter Score for Studio members by 380%
- Sourced 50% of Wiley Exchange blog content from the program, which generated 127K views
To show their advocates appreciation for their help, Wiley rewarded advocates with branded swag and recognition in the community through an awards program.
“We’ve seen 98% validation rates on adoptions affiliated with the WileyPLUS Studio,” says Nicole. “The results are more than we anticipated!”
See more best advocate marketing program examples
If you’d like to read more success stories like this one, download this year’s BAMMIES winners eBook.
You can also read more in-depth case studies about advocate marketing by checking out how: