|How can you reward brand advocates?
Marketers go to extraordinary lengths to convey a positive brand image, with a view to building awareness, trust, loyalty and engagement. But in this social media age, marketers aren’t always the most influential group when it comes to reputation. Indeed, a new study by iAdvize has found that 75% of UK consumers trust the opinions and knowledge of their peers more than those of a retailer. Meanwhile, more than half said product reviews left by other customers have more of an influence on them than a company’s official advice and information.So what does this mean for customer-facing brands?
It means that existing and loyal customers can potentially be powerful and influential advocates for your brand. Here are a few options to encourage product reviews and other forms of feedback from existing customers …
If you are unveiling a new product or service, why not let loyal brand advocates know about it before the general public? You could create a bespoke landing page for customers and / or create a marketing piece that details the launch and web page.
Invite brand advocates to special events
If you are holding a product launch or attending a festival, show or other event, why not give brand advocates a chance to join you? If space is limited, you could hold a competition in which a place at the event is the prize. Even those who don’t win might get caught up in the buzz and be happy they were valued enough to be in with a chance of winning.
It may be worth scheduling additional promotions exclusively for established customers and clients. It lets longstanding customers feel valued and important to a brand, which could in turn help them refer friends, family and colleagues as well as promote your products and services on social media. Exclusive promotions could range from a discount on a product or service to receiving freebies such as a pen, coaster or keyring through the post.
Access to exclusive content
With many brands publishing blog posts and white papers online, you could make a good impression by releasing some content early to brand advocates.
Ask for feedback
Even loyal customers might have strong views on where you could improve or how your business could be even better. Post online surveys on a regular basis for a steady stream of feedback. It can be the case, a great idea can come from a complaint. And, at the same time, pay close attention to what is being said about you on social media.
Support causes they care about
A brand’s ethical or moral viewpoint can be highly influential among customers when choosing who to spend money with. Companies could therefore strike a chord with their advocates by actively supporting causes they know are important to them. This could be done in many ways such as making a donation to sponsoring or setting up a display stand at an event.
According to iAdvize, 58% of regular customers would be willing to help a brand in an advocate capacity. As Chief Executive Julien Hervouët notes: ‘It’s interesting to see the crucial role that regular customers now play in the sales process as it’s often an area that many retailers leave uninfluenced.’ That means there’s a rich seam to be mined here, so businesses should be looking at ways of engaging with loyal customers and seeing how they can best utilise the positive feelings they already possess.
Sources / further reading
Rise of reviews: 75% of UK shoppers trust other customers over retail staff Netimperative