5 Steps For Setting Up A Successful Advocate Marketing Program

Growing and engaging your advocate community takes time—unless you know how to kick your program into overdrive from the start.

In a live video discussion (moderated by Forbes contributor Mark Fidelman), Influitive 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. 


Here are five steps from Paul and Bo on launching an engaging advocate marketing program from the start.

Step 1: Define what advocate marketing means to you

Paul suggests identifying what advocate marketing means to your company and your advocates before getting started. He believes in using advocate marketing to connect industry-related customers, and offer them a platform to be showcased as thought leaders. Once advocates see the value, they’ll be ready to promote your brand, act as references and more. “[It’s] having friends sell for you.”

For Bo, advocate marketing is a mutually-beneficial relationship between a company and its customers that tells the story of why their customers love them, and why they will continue to use the company’s product or service.

Take the time to decide what advocate marketing can accomplish for your company. This will help you decide on your success metrics.

Step 2: Set goals

Whether it’s getting more customer stories, referrals, reviews, or social shares, your company needs to decide what goals are the most important—then ask how advocate marketing can help you achieve those goals.

After you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, set up a way to measure results and determine the value of your program. As an example, ReadyTalk saw a 112% increase in customer referrals within the first six months of launching their advocate marketing program, compared to the previous year.

ReadyTalk Case StudyFree eBook: How ReadyTalk Shortened Their Sales Cycle With Advocate Marketing

Download this case study to learn how ReadyTalk used advocate marketing to boost lead generation with customer referrals, build a community of engaged customers, solicit valuable product feedback, and more!

Step 3: Know whenand howto ask your customers to join your advocate community

Bo says the best time to ask your customers to become members of your advocate marketing program is after they have expressed satisfaction with your product or service. For ReadyTalk, that means inviting customers that have given them a Net Promoter Score of 7 or greater; or customers who have been identified by account managers and sales team members for high product usage and positive feedback.

When it comes to sending the invite, Paul stresses the importance of leading with the value of joining the program. You need to show your advocates what’s in it for them, before asking them to help you.

Step 4: Engage advocates right away

Bo and Paul both agree that engagement with your advocates needs to begin as soon as they enter your program. If you don’t, they’ll never come back.

Immediately provide them with a channel to connect with you; ask them why they joined your advocate community, invite them to do beta product testing, or to leave feedback for your product team. These types of advocacy challenges let customers feel like they’re connecting with your brand right off the bat.

Step 5: Mix it up

You can’t ask your advocates for favors all the time. You need to make your advocate marketing program fun so customers return on a regular basis.

Bo advises making one third of your advocacy challenges fun questions or tasks. Something as simple as asking what your advocates’ favorite snack foods are, or what music they like to hear while on hold will help make your advocate marketing community experience more enjoyable overall.

Even if these challenges don’t provide direct value to your company, they will keep your advocates active in your program—making them more likely to complete other advocacy-related tasks while they’re in there.

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For more advocate marketing tips and tricks, read The Advocate Marketing Playbook for a blueprint on how to build and manage a successful advocate marketing program. The five-part Playbook is a detailed “how-to” guide based on proven best practices.

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13 Responses to 5 Steps For Setting Up A Successful Advocate Marketing Program

  1. […] business goals with advocate benefits. Tie the business outcomes—like increased social media advocacy or better relationships with […]

  2. […] the onset of your program, you can set up nurture paths to encourage your customers to engage with you on social media—much […]

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  4. […] a few weeks of using some of the tactics she learned at Advocamp to launch an advocate marketing program, Kate generated new referrals, references and higher engagement […]

  5. […] The same can sometimes be said about the love affair between an administrator and their advocate marketing program. […]

  6. […] The same can sometimes be said about the love affair between an administrator and their advocate marketing program. […]

  7. […] The same can sometimes be said about the love affair between an administrator and their advocate marketing program. […]

  8. […] the impact advocate marketing can have on your sales funnel, and the fundamentals of creating and running a successful advocate marketing program with this certification program run by an expert whose done it all […]

  9. […] found a way to make its content generation and distribution process a lot easier. By launching an advocate marketing program, called QuickBase Heroes, the brand has been able to work with hundreds of advocates to help create […]

  10. […] get so many passionate advocates to vote for them? It all started in 2014, when Kim launched an advocate marketing program to build stronger relationships between BMC’s customers and its employees. “BMC Software has […]

  11. […] Setting a specific goal and working towards it helped Blackbaud achieve some incredible results. […]

  12. […] invite brought in 220 new advocates—far surpassing his goal. Davin recommends starting by inviting customers who are the most likely to become advocates. From there, you can ask advocates to refer their friends and colleagues to your […]

  13. […] efficiently generate this social proof, you’ll need to identify your happiest customers and transform them into advocates that will publicly share their love for your […]

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