There are more than 200 million results on Google today for “What is a brand advocate?" This query is almost triple the one for “What is inbound marketing?” which has about 75 million results. It's a clear sign of the growing attention that brand advocacy is getting for inbound marketing.
But what’s the reason behind all this interest? It’s because brand advocates could help companies to solve their top marketing priority: to generate traffic and high quality leads.
What most companies do is drive traffic to their website first. Then they convert these visitors into leads and leverage their sales team to close them. But the entire process of acquiring a new customer can be expensive.
The cost per acquisition fluctuates based on the industry. It can be as high as $141 for a marketing agency or $395 for software companies.
So in order to maximize their ROI, companies focus on organic content creation since it generates more leads than paid advertisements. Unfortunately, statistics show that only 34% of marketers consider their content effective.
Many small companies can’t afford to spend thousands on a social media post. Or they might not be able to work with lead-magnet influencers. It's also possible that their attempts at content creation could be completely ineffective because it's not properly done.
In all these cases, the companies' struggles remain and they have to search for other alternatives. Brand advocates could be a solid solution to that.
Brand advocates nurture relationships with the audience with valuable content and generate better quality leads without being paid. In fact, according to statistics, 92% of consumers trust them more than other forms of advertising.
Consumers trust recommendations from people they know over any form of marketing. People prefer to deal with someone familiar with the same beliefs, interests and passions.
So what is a brand advocate and how can he or she help companies?
A brand advocate is someone who loves your brand and promotes your company, your products and campaigns organically.
Brand advocates are either employees or customers who are highly motivated and passionate about what you do. They are big supporters who share content to their network about your company through social media, word of mouth, or emails.
They become advocates on their own and contribute content to grow your brand organically, based on their experience with your brand. These advocates talk about their own past experiences with your brand using their own words. They don't have a hidden marketing agenda.
Unlike other forms of sponsorship, they’re not paid for the value they bring in. For them, it’s a matter of identity. Your brand becomes a part of who they are.
As a result, they are seen as more transparent and trustworthy. The question then is how you can get these customers to be your high conversion influencers and brand advocates.
What is a brand advocate that gives you an unfair advantage? They don't just promote your company for free to the media. They also bring many other benefits to your business:
Generate more sales through word of mouth (2x more according to McKinsey)
Cut your marketing costs while acquiring leads organically
Provide better quality leads by generating more interest and reducing skepticism
Become loyal buyers who continue to buy your products or services
Achieve a higher retention rate from referrals who buy into your brand because they already have some degree of trust in you
Brand advocates are committed lead magnet generators that can fuel your sales funnel with higher-closing-rate leads. And they help you to increase your revenue through organic inbound marketing for free.
Brand advocacy has these 3 main functions:
Educate your audience
Interact with other brands and consumers
Recommend products and services
Sharing comments and content to your own network sounds easy but it's not. Building a long lasting relationship with your customers is challenging. It's an area where many companies still struggle.
So if nurturing relationships is so challenging, how are brand advocates able to build such a strong rapport with their audience?
They listen first. They genuinely want to help the audience to get the same great experience they did with your brand. It’s not about themselves, it’s all about the audience.
Their comments about their own experiences are unique, and they can tell your audience about the pros and cons about working with you. Your audience can then get a better idea about what to expect.
Brand advocates can also explain all those secret benefits of your product that come up only after a long period of use. They give away those secrets that really make the difference when clients are trying to make a final decision.
If you're still wondering, "What is a brand advocate?" these words sum up their role. They are trusted by your audience and they grow the visibility and reach of your brand.
Start by doing some research about your community to see who are loyal to you and what it is that makes them so passionate. Each one is interacting with your brand in a different way and you have to find similarities between them.
Similar to what brand advocates do, listen first to their needs. Then use that information to create more fulfilling interactions with your audience.
Brand advocates are deeply engaged with your brand. They are interested in knowing more about your purpose, your mission, your values and your WHYs.
“People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” - Simon Sinek
So share the big picture and your story. Explain what your values are and how you’re changing lives. Make any message you share meaningful, starting with your why.
No one is going to be interested in your message if you don't make it compelling.
Focus on the customer’s experience in all your messages and try to be positive and trigger curiosity. Make it simple, fun and memorable. Make them smile more.
Take Red Bull’s strategy as an example. They communicate in an engaging way with their audience.
If you want to attract brand advocates, focus on them. They are clients and employees highly committed to your brand. They are special to you.
So help them feel even more unique. Show them a different perspective of what you do. Find new and unconventional ways for them to interact with your brand. The “Coke Hug Machine” ad is a great example. People get a free drink in exchange for hugs.
What is a brand advocate who nurtures? The fact that they are not paid doesn’t mean you don't need to reward them. They are your most loyal customers and employees and you should nurture and reward their loyalty.
They are the main testimonials about how your business satisfies your customers. Celebrating the success of your business together creates a deeper bond that strengthens the relationship in the long run. In the meantime, their lifetime value increases.
So how could you reward their loyalty while minimizing costs? There are many solutions you can implement with very little investment, such as:
Interview and feature them on your media platform
Create an eBook that tells their stories
Create a reward program with annual loyalty certificates
An exclusive newsletter for brand advocates in which you can disclose insights, latest news and how they’re contributing to your growth
Access to special offers or limited editions.
These rewards don't have to be expensive. Sometimes this campaign could turn into an instant success, the way it did for “Tweet-a-Coffee”. In that campaign, Starbucks patrons used their account and Twitter to give a $5 gift card to a friend.
Focus on giving them a rewarding experience, something they will never forget. Give them an experience they could share with their loved ones to make them proud of what they’re doing.
What is a brand advocate? Someone who loves your brand and promotes it organically.
They are effective in building rapport with your audience, and clients trust them more than any other forms of advertisement. Their contribution can vary from getting better quality leads to increasing revenue. They are loyal and valuable partners.
To create brand advocates, you need effective communication and content that connects with the audience. If you do this the wrong way, you could pay a high price.
In that case, you should look for a professional copywriter who can help you connect with your audience in a way that builds customer relationships all the way up to the brand advocate level.
If you want to learn more about how professional copywriters could improve your connection with your audience, book a consultation today.
Luca Gasparri is a business expert with 10 years of combined experience in multiple disciplines and markets, from Engineering and R&D to Business Development and Copywriting. In copywriting, he leverages his creativity and deep knowledge in data analysis and strategy, to create customized solutions through compelling copy. He holds a master’s degree with honours in Mechanical Engineering and an executive Master’s in Project Management.Hire Luca