Once the honeymoon period of your advocate community has come and gone, how do you get new advocates to join your program?

Cloud Elements, a unified API integration and management platform, wanted to get more advocates contributing to their program to give it the feeling of a true community. Since their program was still in its infancy (only three months old), it was crucial to get more advocates active within their AdvocateHub to drive conversation and excitement.

However, they didn’t want to annoy their star customers with another email blast. Rather than sending out generic invites, they wanted to make sure the advocates they were inviting felt truly special—and were the right fit for their community.

Hannah Shain headshot Monica Peotter headshotHannah Shain, Cloud Elements’ Director of Marketing, and Monica Peotter, their Field Marketing Manager, knew they couldn’t do it alone, so they reached out to the people who knew their customers best: their team.

Want to find better advocates? Call on your team

In order to spread the word about advocacy throughout the company, Hannah and Monica coordinated a themed March Madness contest amongst their customer-facing teams to see who could invite the most advocates into their program, Mount EveREST. This campaign had a dual purpose: to help uncover new advocates and get employee buy-in for their program.

Cloud Elements sales and customer success team members were entered into brackets each week in which they went head-to-head with another employee to see who could convince the most customers to become advocates.

Hannah and Monica prepared a playbook that included a variety of ways the team could reach out one-on-one to potential advocates, like mentioning the program while they were on the phone or including it in a sales presentation.

Employees received:

  • One point for each advocate invited
  • Three points for each advocate who actually joined their program
  • Ten points for each advocate who did any activities

“It wasn’t just about inviting everyone,” said Hannah. “We wanted to weight points so that it was much more advantageous to get good advocates to participate than to invite a lot of people and not get anyone to join.”

mt. everest march madnessResults were recorded on a giant whiteboard in the office so they were always top-of-mind. Non-customer-facing employees were encouraged to bet on the winner of each bracket, as well as providing suggestions to their chosen winner on who to recruit.

“Our sales team is highly motivated by competition, and a small prize will get them to do just about anything,” said Hannah. Hannah and Monica decided to motivate the team by offering a 100$ Patagonia gift card as a reward to the top referrer as well as to the person who bet correctly on the winner.

The campaign ran the entire month of March (just like the real March Madness) with the winner announced April 1st at Cloud Elements’ team ski trip.

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Drumroll please: their campaign results

So, how did their campaign go? They ended up with 34 new advocates and a much more engaging customer hub. The winner of the contest was Tom May, one of their Business Development Representatives, who was responsible for activating seven new advocates.

Now that buzz is beginning to grow around their program, they’re focusing on how to harness the power of their newly activated advocates.

“I’m a strong believer that Influitive is powerful when there are a lot of people completing challenges,” said Hannah. “A big impact to us was getting more participation in our program to make it feel more like a community.”

This effect could also be seen in their employee advocates. Program interest skyrocketed throughout the company, as the competition—as well as top performers—were given shout-outs through their internal chat tool.

The best part? Their advocates—both internal and external—are already looking forward to the next one. “People are already asking us what our next campaign like this will be,” said Hannah.

Key takeaways from their campaign

What lessons from Cloud Elements can you use in your next advocate recruitment campaign? Here are three key tips:

1. There are more interesting ways than email blasts to gain new advocates

If you’re getting sick of generic spam, just think how sick of it your customers must be! Getting your employees to reach out to potential advocates individually packs a greater punch. Help them out by creating messaging they can easily share with customers.

2. Internal advocates are just as important as external ones

Having a great campaign can’t happen without buy-in. It’s vital to make sure all your employees, not just those who are customer-facing, are enthusiastic about the success of your campaign. Uniting everyone around a common goal helps ensure that everyone is passionate and wants to spread the word about your program.

3. It’s not just about numbers

It’s easy to invite a ton of new advocates to your program, but that doesn’t guarantee they’re the best fit for it. It’s important to make sure the customers you’re reaching out to will be involved and have a big impact in your community. Set up an advocate persona to help your team decide who they should reach out to first.

The Brand Advocate Persona
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