Some people think that advocate marketing only helps the marketing department.
However, a successful advocate marketing program can benefit your entire organization.
My mantra is “My success is your success.” I believe in helping others reach their goals, so they can feel empowered through advocacy.
Prior to joining Influitive’s Customer Success team, I headed up the advocacy program at SMART Technologies. In this role, I learned that you must tie your advocacy efforts to each department’s goals. The more you help each department achieve its goals, the easier it is to get buy-in.
During the first 30 days of SMART’s advocate marketing program, our advocates completed more than 10,000 challenges or activities. This made our stakeholders take notice. From there, we had three years of nonstop success with the program.
Here are four ways an advocate marketing program can benefit your entire organization.
1. Get product feedback fast.
The professional development team at SMART Technologies once came to me for help. They were developing a new training program and wanted feedback from 10 customers. Prior to having an advocate marketing program, it would have taken me a week to collect these responses and put them in a format that I could share with the professional development team.
However, our advocate marketing hub made this process a breeze. I simply posted a request in our program that asked advocates for their opinion about the training program. Just 10 minutes later, I forwarded the 10 customer responses to our professional development team. Their jaws hit the floor. They were shocked when they saw how quickly their advocates would help them.
Your advocates will be happy to test your latest features and give you honest feedback. Get them involved in beta tests, so you can collect valuable customer feedback before you launch new features.
You can also test new training programs and certifications with advocates before you make these services available to your broader customer base. This will give you an army of advocate “power users” who will be prepared to promote you to their colleagues and peers.
2. Use advocacy to drive sales.
Today’s customers don’t trust marketing. Instead, they trust what their peers are saying about your products and services. Harness the power of your advocates to boost your peer-to-peer recommendations.
For example, you can invite advocates to attend events such as sales demos and road shows. You can also ask advocates to speak with new prospects and give your recommendations or referrals. If you can tie advocacy to sales, you’ll be more likely to get buy-in from the sales team.
Your sales team probably already has a short list of customers who they can call on when they need references, testimonials or case studies, but before long those customers get burnt out. An advocate marketing program provides an easy and effective way to identify, organize and mobilize the customers best-suited to each of these requests from a larger pool of advocates. Then, your sales team can help pick the advocates who are most relevant to their prospects’ industry, seniority and use cases.
Engaged advocates are typically happy to refer friends to your brand as well. Whether you post a referral challenge, run a referral contest, or actively ask for referrals, your sales team will be thankful if you score them more high-quality sales leads.
3. Help the Customer Success team help your customers.
CS teams can use an advocate marketing program to educate and motivate customers to become more successful (which will turn them into even stronger advocates). Posting product tips, case studies, and other helpful content can show advocates how to get the most value from your product, and speed up the onboarding process.
Asking advocates to share their success stories and product tricks through your program will make it easier for CS to find and communicate stories with your content and marketing teams.
(For more ways the customer success and marketing teams can align around advocacy, check out this eBook.)
4. Make your marketing more effective.
Advocates can help you get better results from all your marketing campaigns. For example, you can A/B test messages by asking your advocates which one resonates the most and why. This will help you send out more targeted marketing, so that you can engage your broader audience and increase your conversions.
Advocates can also help amplify your social media campaigns and content shares. However, it might be hard for others in your organization to see why you need advocacy in addition to your social program. That’s why it’s crucial to show your social media manager how advocacy can complement what they do and make them more successful. Work with them and ask to see their social calendar. Then, create advocacy campaigns together that will quickly boost your social media results.
You can also feature your advocates in testimonials, case studies, webinars and success stories. This makes your marketing about real people who achieved real results. After all, B2B buyers don’t want to hear what your company thinks about your products. They want to hear what your customers think about your products. Having advocates tell your story is the best way to make your marketing more authentic.