Everyone knows that person who always has the latest connected devices. These early adopters have the newest phone, smartwatch, fitness tracker or wifi thermostat before their friends. And they’ve got a strong opinion about the tech they use.
They don’t just buy something because it’s new. These thoughtful consumers do their research. And they aren’t afraid to share what they discover along the way with their networks on social media, review websites and public forums.
This is bad news for consumer brands. According to Startup Nation, 90% of people will not buy a product with bad reviews. That’s why it’s vital your business turn early adopters into advocates for your brand. Leveraging these vocal consumers can give you the upperhand against competitors and increase market share from the get-go.
But first, you need to understand why these buyers do what they do and how to motivate them to advocate for your brand.
The early adopter persona
Early adopters make up about 13.5% of the population, and are considered to be opinion leaders who gain attention, and often respect, from peers.
An Advertising Age report identifies four key motivating characteristics of early adopters:
1. They know their stuff—and want to show off
Early adopters do their research, and love to share experiences—from photos or videos of them unboxing their latest gadget; to comments, tips and feedback in online forums. This is partly because they want to earn bragging rights. Early adopters are just as concerned with their own “brand” as they are yours. And if they like your product or service, this means they can become seriously loyal advocates that go to bat for you—even if it’s in a self-serving fashion.
2. They like to make recommendations
On the other side of the coin, early adopters like teaching others about what they’ve learned, and will recommend a brand they love to others. They also aren’t afraid to share thoughtful product feedback with you. Their insights will likely to go above and beyond an average user’s.
3. They’re willing to take risks
Early adopters recognize the different or latent values and benefits of a product, and attempt to truly understand how it can help or improve one’s life. That’s why they love trying new things. Most early adopters fall into the young professional demographic—61% are aged 25-34 and in prime working age, meaning they likely have disposable income to spend on new tech toys.
4. They seek status and are well-connected
Early adopters build up profiles and reputations on review and community sites, and earn status that can yield tremendous influence on others. They are considered to be connectors with rich and diverse networks.
Knowing all of this, there are a number of ways you can try to engage early adopters and turn them into advocates for your brand.
- Find them and use them. If an early adopter is a clear fan of your products, reach out and offer up the opportunity to test your next product interaction. Taking their insights into consideration will boost their chances of becoming a loyal customer.
- Make them feel special. Invite them to join an exclusive community for top customers, where they can share their experiences and knowledge with others, get tips and insights and become an integral part of a larger peer group.
- Engage with them. Interact with early adopters on social media, and allow them to communicate openly with members of your team. Create content they crave, and share their user-generated content with your community to boost their profile. This will make them feel closer to your brand and its values.
- Offer rewards. As an advocate for your brand, early adopters will appreciate rewards– like discounts on future products, accessories, or upgrades that can enhance their experience. These thoughtful rewards will make them more engaged with your product and online community, which will increase their brand loyalty in the long run.
Early adopter consumers may already be powerful advocates for your brand, without you even realizing it. Tapping into them—particularly in your early stages of growth— and helping them increase their clout can, in turn, help fuel your brand’s word of mouth and put you ahead of the competition.
In this free ebook, you’ll learn:
- How to determine which is right for you: influencers or advocates (or both)
- Best practices for building your own influencer or advocate marketing program
- Case studies: How brands use influencers and advocates to drive engagement