You probably don’t think these advocate marketing skills affect your team’s success, but they do.

Only 9% of marketers can confidently say their digital marketing is effective. One reason for this is prospects ignore most of the content they see. After all, they’ve seen nearly every trick in the content marketing playbook, and they’re exhausted. And your B2B content is no exception.

So how do you ditch the self-promotional stories and get your message across in a meaningful way? How do you repair your relationship with your prospects and regain their trust?

Most B2B marketers need to get back to the basics and build real rapport with prospects. The best way to do this is with the help of your customer advocates. Advocates bring humanity back to your marketing. They’re the real people your prospects believe and look to for product recommendations. If you can leverage their voice, you can create the authentic social proof for your brand that your buyers are looking for.

However, being a great advocate marketer means using two basic advocate marketing skills you may often forget about: personal rapport building and sincerely praising others.

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1. Building one-on-one relationships

b2b_marketers_russell_banzon“Marketers really need to listen to advocates and tailor a program to them,” says Russell Banzon, Demand Gen Manager at Inkling. Catering to your individual advocates is an art, one that requires a time investment.

“If your customer success team is doing a client onsite, quickly sit down with them once they return to understand unique characteristics about that customer,” recommends Russell. He says to look for things like an advocate’s favorite coffee drinks and sports teams to build rapport. We suggest also knowing a customer’s birthday, favourite activity, and any other information you can build a relationship on (common love for dirt biking? That’s an awesome one).

Next, interact with your advocates in a meaningful way. Check in with them about the marathon they recently ran, how their new puppy is doing, and always look for ways to make their day better. Doing this will create goodwill that you can leverage for your next campaign, or that reference call you need to secure.

2. Showing sincere gratitude & recognition

b2b_marketers_kim_leedsTaking the time to properly thank those who help you out (regardless of how much they did for you) demonstrates your commitment to them, says Kim Leeds, the rockstar manager behind Dyn’s customer marketing program. Showing gratitude creates goodwill, and people who know their goals matter to you are more willing to help you out again. After all, it’s what the human brain is wired for.

So next time a customer agrees to star in your upcoming campaign, or gives you a sincere testimonial, follow up with a sweet thank-you gesture. Show people they continue to matter, even after you’ve received what you need from them, and you will be creating a basis for a long-lasting, invaluable relationship.

Back in June we launched an advocacy education course called EDGE. Jumping into a new course takes time, energy, and effort. It’s not something people just do on a whim. But a handful of B2B marketers—many of them our customers and partners—passed it with flying colours. Since they gave us their undivided attention, they deserve a huge shout-out. So we’re sending our awesome students sweet thank-you notes and social media shoutouts. They deserve it!


The key takeaway

If you’re going to remember one thing from this post, remember this: you’re in business for the long haul. And just like in your personal life, long-lasting personal relationships make everything better. How you do that is with a little thoughtfulness, some effort and a thank-you gesture here and there.