This post was written by Anna Cruz of Printplace.com
You may have many fans and satisfied customers, but do you have brand advocates? The difference is the sphere of influence that one person can have. A valuable brand advocate is someone who is truly devoted to your brand and who has enough power to influence many peers. The following are a few steps you can take to create loyal brand advocates for your company.
Simply Treat All Customers Well
The way you interact with your customers everyday can determine if you can gather brand advocates. Brand advocates do not come with a sign on their foreheads. They will probably start out as a regular customers. Treat every customer well; you never know who has a thousand followers on Twitter.
Start with Employees
The people who interact with your product on a daily basis can be wonderful advocates for your brand. Make your employees happy and encourage them to talk about your brand. You can do this by offering employee discounts and giving free samples when you are introducing new products.
Offer Incentive Discounts or Free Products
Do not stop with your employees. Once you identify your most influential fans, pass on the discounts and free samples to them. These should be very targeted fans and the discount should be a really good one, at least 50%.
Reach Out to Popular Bloggers
There is no faster way for your brand advocates to share their love of your products than through blogs. Search out blogs about your business niche and find the blogger with the greatest presence. Now introduce yourself and your product. This is where coupons and free samples come into play. If they love your stuff, then you have an instantly devoted audience.
There is a small restaurant that opened in our town a few years ago. In an economy that has destroyed many business start-ups, this restaurant understood the secret of brand advocates. Before even opening their doors to the public, this restaurant sent out special invitations to an exclusive dinner for all of the VIP’s in our small town. All of the business owners and big money families attended. The restaurant has never wanted for business since then.
Be Open within the Advocate Relationship
When you are intentionally using customers as an advocate, you should tell them so. It is always best when they are aware of their influence. This should be a “no strings attached” relationship in which your advocate feels free to like or dislike your products. You will be rewarded for your honesty.
Brand advocates are one of the best ways to start a viral marketing campaign. Do what you can to encourage influential customers and your brand will become strong and established quicker than you imagine possible.
About the Author: Anna Cruz writes about marketing, advertising, branding, graphic design and desktop publishing. Anna works for PrintPlace.com, an online printing company that offers brochures, posters, postcards, business cards and more printed marketing media.