Here are some customer advocacy marketing strategies that actually work

Who is the most important stakeholder in a business? Is it the CMO, the CEO, investors or the regulator? Whilst these are all very important, there is no business without your customers. The shocking truth is that not everyone treats their customers like royalty. Believe it or not, there is money on the table here if you can get a few basics right.

Why the long face?

The worst thing a business can do is ignore customer feedback. You have great services and products but somehow fail to hit the spot. If the customer is contracted for 2-3 years, you set yourself up for a torrid relationship and at worst they tell others of their plight.

So, what is Customer Advocacy? It is a methodology that puts customer services and customer marketing at the forefront in delivering what is best for customers. In terms of service, this could be an account manager who picks up issues and queries. In marketing, this could be regular content to educate customers and promote other services.

If you don’t know what your customers think of your company, services or processes, read on.

The power of making someone’s day

Making customers happy doesn’t cost the earth. In fact, if you think about the cost of losing a 3-year SaaS customer at the end of the term, customer retention has to form part of your marketing strategy. Additionally, if you have costs to extricate yourself from a customer at the end of a term, you may want to go a step further and consider Account Based Experience (ABX).

So, what does a happy customer look like? You could start by asking them. Customer Advocacy is the end product of a great Customer Experience (CX) and Customer Satisfaction (C-Sat). If you deliver great CX and measure great C-Sat, customers are more likely to advocate for your products and services. All it takes is research and feedback to start making a difference.

Yes, that’s right, you can advocate for customers internally to make sure that they are well-served. You can educate and communicate with them about exciting new features and ways to leverage your product. You can encourage customers to shout about you from the rooftops, nominate you for awards or complete online reviews. We just need to understand where to start.

Customer Advocacy is the lightning rod

If the ownership of a business involves private equity, the onus is on generating free cash flow. That means layering on as many new, contracted revenue sources as possible. Depending on the time horizon of that investment in growth, there has to be an emphasis on retention and advocacy. If you can layer on new customers, retain the existing ones and cross-sell and upsell to them at the same time, that cash flow will be overflowing.

Many customers invoke measures such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) to act as a proxy for advocacy. In its basic form, this regularly asks how likely you are to recommend your products or services to others.

A hidden aspect of Customer Advocacy programmes is the galvanising impact it can have on staff. Connecting CX and customer success teams to NPS gives everyone something to aim for. It also sends a powerful message that we care about our customers, not just our profits.

If your demand generation and lead generation programmes are stalling and profits are stagnant, Customer Advocacy can be the lightning rod you need to change your strategic approach.

Customers make sales

Customers pay the bills. In the aftermath of a pandemic that we all want to see the back of, keeping hold of your customers matters. Customers make sales and bring much-needed cash flow. If you can turn them into champions of your products and services, it’s a win-win scenario.

In conclusion, while the focus is mostly on new business, customer retention plays an important part in sustainable cash flows. It pays to allocate some of your marketing budget to keeping customers happy and even to encourage them to write reviews online for a small reward. Make great experiences, keep customers happy and then get them to shout about it. It almost sounds too easy.

Interested to find a little more help on CX and advocacy? Check out this related article https://www.think-beyond.co.uk/customer-experience-marketing-make-their-choice-easy/

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