I’m very much into new gadgets, apps, products – whatever. I’ll try things out and if I like them, I will be a fierce supporter until either I get bored or something better comes along.
One of these technical masterpieces is an app called Buffer. Buffer lets me effectively and efficiently post to my different social media channels from my iPhone. It’s really a cool product but what I like about the company is that they regularly send me information on how I can get better – not only at using their product but at being a social media junkie. They know me well and, at least for now, I’m a loyal customer.
Your product is cool – great
The transformation when a customer crosses that imaginary line and embraces your company can be very simple. You have an awesome product, your customers love it and they want to share this with their friends.
Building customer loyalty and advocacy takes more
To build customer loyalty and revenue-generating advocacy, however, you need to go further. There are too many competitors out there that can leave you in the dust if you stop there.
Think about your customer. What makes them tick? What do they want? What makes them loyal when others are not? Why do they advocate for you? If you’re not sure, you need to find out.
From what we’ve seen from our clients, building loyalty among your customers and turning them into advocates isn’t that difficult. The most successful companies have made the advocate/company relationship a symbiotic one in which they give and take.
An advocate can’t be expected to only provide you with testimonials, referrals and references. You need to help them. Many advocates want to network with others. They want to get the most out of your product to make money for their company. They want that promotion. They want that executive position. You need to help them to build customer loyalty and encourage advocacy.
Education: The final frontier
You may be thinking, “But I have a training program for my customer” or “I have a regular newsletter with tips for my customer. Isn’t that enough for advocates?”
No. You need to assume that your advocates have ignored other types of customer education efforts that you’ve done (unless you have explicitly recorded that they have viewed certain materials). The truth is that your customers are extremely busy and may have missed your previous attempts at educating them.
Using an advocate marketing program to highlight the most important or popular tips demonstrates the exclusivity of the advocate experience as well as your commitment to further their careers.
For B2B companies, we recommend performing regular advocate-only product release or roadmap webinars. There you can then provide more hand-holding for new features to increase adoption amongst your biggest supporters as well as provide advocates with greater access to senior members of your product team. Many advocates see this as a tremendous perk.
Besides just providing information and education, seek feedback and advocate input. For example, if you ask your advocates to test out a new feature, ask them for their opinion. Would they use this? What did they like most? What did they like least? This engagement helps advocates internalize what you are trying to teach them as it forces them to read up on a feature or test something out.