8 Strategies For Keeping Your Best Advocates Engaged

Word of mouth campaign strategies matter

Eight strategies to ensure success of your word of mouth campaign

With a pool of advocates available, you can run various advocate marketing campaigns – something that you ask an advocate to do.

There are dozens of campaigns that advocates can support, but it’s important to keep in mind that all campaigns are not created equal – some may be better suited for newly-onboarded advocates while others are best for experienced advocates.

Some common examples include:

  • Refer new customers
  • Contribute to a piece of marketing content
  • Follow or mention the company on a social network (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Review products
  • Contribute to a community discussion
  • Participate in a beta program
  • Take surveys
  • Participate in research
  • Act as a reference for the sales organization
  • Read and share a blog post

Regardless of the types of advocate campaigns you choose to run, there are a handful of best practices you should follow to ensure the success of a campaign.

Specify your word of mouth campaign objectives

You should specify two types of objectives:

  1. Define the business objective that the campaign will support, such as new customer acquisition or improved customer satisfaction.
  2. Define the tactical objectives, such as the number of advocates that will need to respond to the campaign. It’s often helpful to think of these tactical metrics as conversions in a funnel, starting with the total number of available advocates and ending with the number of advocates who respond to the ask.

Target campaigns to specific advocate personas

Successful advocacy campaigns send targeted asks to specific advocate personas that are designed just for them.

For example, you might create an industry-focused white paper and the ask is for advocates to submit two or three paragraphs. The promotion for these asks should be sent only to advocates from that industry.

Consider the advocate experience

There are three foundational elements that must be included in each campaign that will define the experience the advocates will have as they complete the various word of mouth campaigns:

  1. What you will ask the advocate to do
  2. What will constitute valid participation in the campaign
  3. How you will reward advocates who participate in the campaign

There are other elements that impact the advocate experience and you may wish to include the following details within your campaigns as well:

  • Popularity of the campaign or type of campaign
  • Time commitment required
  • Level of difficulty or effort

Spend time on converting advocates

Many marketers make the mistake of assuming that advocates will simply want to participate in campaigns. They don’t spend much time creating compelling asks that drive high conversion rates.

Asks should be presented like any marketing offer with good copy and a heavy emphasis on a compelling reason “why” the advocate should participate.


Use deadlines and limits to create a sense of urgency

Your advocates may set your asks aside as they go through their busy days. Creating urgency will help motivate your advocates to take the time to complete a particular ask right away.

One effective tactic is to set a date when the ask will expire. Another approach is to limit the number of people who can participate.

Mix campaign types to maintain high engagement

While you are building your advocate program to increase the effectiveness of your marketing and sales conversions, not every campaign should represent an ask. Mix high value campaigns with purely informational or even entertaining variations. These can be surveys, contests, puzzles or trivia.

You can even promote campaigns that profile active members of the community to contribute to that ‘social capital’ that advocates desire, while also encouraging other members to increase their participation.

Alert your advocates about campaigns

Recruiting advocates for participation in each campaign is the single biggest determinant of advocate marketing success and a one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t work here. How you alert your advocates about specific campaigns is dependent on their level of value or difficulty:

Low touch

Advocates should receive consistent updates about new campaigns as they are launched, such as a weekly program digest or newsletter that summarizes this activity via email. The campaigns included in this type of alert should be quick and easy enough to bring your advocates back into the program, where they’ll see and hopefully participate in additional campaigns while they’re there. While these campaigns are typically low-value, they keep your advocates active and engaged in the program on a regular basis, reducing advocate churn.

Medium touch

Campaigns that are only relevant to a small group of advocates or which allow only a limited number of participants may warrant a real-time email alert, similar to the type of notifications you might receive from a social network.

High touch

Some campaigns are so urgent, specialized or challenging that they require some form of personal outreach, such as a personal email or phone call. High touch alerts ensure your advocates feel that you respect their time and also provide the opportunity to explain exactly what you’re looking for beyond a short campaign blurb.

Optimize your campaigns

Make sure you optimize your campaigns by analyzing a handful of metrics that tell you about their performance. For example, track the number of potential advocates for an ask versus how many responded.

You should also leverage anecdotal feedback from advocates, especially in the initial phases of the program.

What strategies do you employ to keep your advocates engaged?

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This post is part of a series of resources excerpted or adapted from The Advocate Marketing Playbook, created by TOPO. Click here to read the other posts in this series.

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