Looking to boost your small business this year? Eager to turn your loyal customers into your secret marketing weapon? Then it’s time to master advocacy marketing. 

Advocacy marketing leverages your existing customers and brand advocates to spread the word about your awesome products and services through social media posts, user generated content, and word-of-mouth marketing. By focusing on improving customer satisfaction and creating great customer experiences with your company, you’ll inspire more customer advocacy. Read on to discover how it all works.

What is advocacy marketing?

Advocacy marketing is a smart strategy that taps into your most valuable marketing resource: your happy customers. It involves turning your satisfied customers into brand advocates who promote your business to others.

The goal is to get your advocates to share their positive experiences with your company on social media, write online reviews, and recommend you to friends and family. This kind of word-of-mouth marketing and user generated content is very persuasive to potential customers.

An advocacy marketing program encourages your loyal customers and brand advocates to actively promote your products and services to their networks. You can offer incentives for social media posts, blog reviews, case studies or video testimonials, but the key is providing a great customer experience so people naturally want to rave about you.

At its core, advocacy marketing is about customer satisfaction, building real relationships and giving your loyal fans an opportunity to support your brand in an authentic way. When done right, advocacy marketing can be one of the most powerful forms of marketing for any small business. 

What are the advantages of advocacy marketing?

Benefits of advocacy marketing

Advocacy marketing should be the number one strategy in your marketing program, because it motivates existing customers to spread the word about your products and services to new potential customers. A famous Nielsen study found that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other forms of marketing. 

 Here are some of the benefits of advocacy marketing for your small business:

  • Increased brand awareness. As your advocates share their experience with your company on social media, more people will discover your brand.
  • Higher conversion rates. People trust the recommendations of family and friends over traditional forms of marketing, which leads to more new customers.
  • Greater consumer trust. Customer posts, reviews and testimonials are seen as highly authentic forms of marketing, which encourages them to trust your business.
  • Stronger customer relationships. An advocacy marketing campaign also bolsters your connection with customer advocates, driving repeat sales and long term loyalty.
  • Improved search rankings. User generated content and social media posts containing your brand name and keywords boost your visibility in search results.

How to build an effective advocacy marketing strategy

An effective advocacy marketing strategy starts with focusing on your existing customers. Here are the steps you should take to create a successful advocacy marketing strategy that keeps generating more passionate brand advocates. 

Identify your potential advocates

It’s worth taking the time to identify your brand advocates and loyal customers. Look for people who were the most enthusiastic about your product or service, and then reach out to ask them to share their positive experiences with your company on social media or other platforms.

Provide loyal customers with meaningful content

Invite your best customers to exclusive brand events. This highly effective strategy improves their experiences of your business, strengthens their connection to your brand, and gives them valuable content to share on social media. You can also make it easy for them to promote your business by providing sample social media posts they can copy and paste. 

Offer incentives

Hopefully, all your satisfied clients will be happy to post reviews or recommendations the moment you ask. But you can sweeten the deal even more by running a customer referral or affiliate program that rewards them for every new customer they bring in, or hosting social media contests and campaigns that encourage customers to generate and share content related to your brand.

Deliver amazing customer service. 

Satisfied customers are the ones who become advocates. Go above and beyond to ensure a positive customer experience from first contact through product delivery and beyond. Survey clients about their experience with your company and what you can improve, so that they know you value their opinion and so you can deliver even better customer experience. 

Boost their voice 

Once you’ve cultivated supportive brand advocates, make the most of them. Amplify and engage with their posts to spread their message even further. Tag them on social media, feature their customer stories and testimonials on your website, and make sure that you always respond quickly when they tag you or respond to your posts. 

Advocacy marketing example

One of the best examples of advocacy marketing in action is Tesla’s ongoing marketing strategy. Tesla owners love their cars and want to share that experience with others. This user generated content acts as powerful word-of-mouth marketing for Tesla.

Tesla in turn amplifies many of these social media posts on their own channels, further spreading their customer’s enthusiasm and advocacy. This approach has been instrumental in establishing Tesla as an aspirational brand and helping them reach new audiences. 

Tesla’s advocacy marketing strategy demonstrates how valuable your existing customers can be in promoting your products and services through authentic word-of-mouth marketing. Starbucks’ “Tweet a Coffee” campaign and Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign are two other successful examples of advocacy marketing in action. 

Measuring the success of your advocacy marketing efforts

How to measure the success of your advocacy marketing

Once you’ve launched your advocacy marketing campaign, it’s important to analyze how effective your efforts have been. Here are a few ways to evaluate the success of your advocacy marketing strategies.

Examine your marketing funnel

See if more people are moving through the stages from awareness to interest to desire and then action. Are more people signing up for your email newsletter or following you on social media? Are sales or appointments increasing? These can indicate your advocacy marketing program is working.

Monitor social media traction

Monitor user generated content and social media posts. See if your brand advocates and loyal customers are sharing about their positive experience with your company on social media or review sites. This shows their satisfaction and can influence new potential customers.

Track customer engagement 

Keep tabs on how your existing customers are engaging with your advocacy marketing campaign. See if they are sharing social media posts, writing reviews, referring friends, or participating in other ways. Their enthusiasm and willingness to advocate for your business demonstrates the importance of advocacy marketing.

Run customer surveys

Finally, survey your customer advocates and loyal customers about their experience with your company and products or services. High satisfaction scores indicate your advocacy marketing strategy is effective and important for growing your business. Ask open-ended questions to gain valuable feedback on how to improve their experience and better support their advocacy efforts.

While advocacy marketing may be one of the most powerful forms of marketing, it still requires measurement and analysis to maximize its effectiveness. Paying close attention to these metrics will help ensure your advocacy marketing campaign and overall marketing efforts are successful.

Advocacy marketing is the marketing strategy your business needs

Advocacy marketing should be your number one strategy because it turns your loyal customers into brand advocates who will spread the word about your products and services. By cultivating brand advocates and delivering amazing customer experiences, you’ll build a tribe of passionate customers eager to spread the word about your business. This organic advocacy marketing is more powerful than most other forms of marketing, and will grow your customer base exponentially as your existing happy customers recruit new ones for you.