Building Fans of Your Brand

Tami Urban
Marketing Strategist
Bronto Software
A woman smiling at her smartphone

Thanks to the availability of online reviews and the growing number of social media channels, consumers have really got it made. For any purchase, from the biggest to the smallest, there’s an abundance of opinions right at our fingertips, both on the item we’re considering and where to buy it. With all of the competition out there, wouldn’t it be nice to have some positive reinforcements on your side?

Enter brand advocates: customers who talk favorably about a brand or product and share their positive messages with others. They could be highly satisfied customers who write very positive product reviews or those who really are true fans of your brand and can’t wait to tell their friends about you. Brand advocates recommend your company without compensation. They’re loyal in good times and in bad, and can be a very powerful force during the busy holiday season. They’re priceless, and if you’re fortunate enough to earn your own advocates, you should make it a priority to take care of them.

Let’s review a few of the ways you can help develop brand advocates and give them a reason to keep loving you!

Reward Customers for Referring Their Friends

Refer-a-friend campaigns are great ways to help spread the word about your brand. You might even offer discounts or gift cards for referrals or for sharing offers on social media. Some companies have gone so far as to create portals specifically geared toward encouraging their customers to share suggestions and new product ideas. The My Starbucks Idea site is a great example.

Keep Them in the Know

Keep tabs on these high-priority customers, and be sure they are always aware of your latest offers and promotions. Brand advocates should be the first to know about any product releases or new developments, and it’s typically worthwhile to offer them discounts, coupons and continued encouragement to submit their valuable feedback. Acknowledge them for their valuable contributions, and consider giving them a VIP status or adding them to an exclusive email list.

Turn Complaints Into Compliments

Most customers remember how you made them feel, particularly in the wake of a poor experience with your brand. Give those responsible for responding to customer complaints the tools to wow your customers and prospects. Encourage your service team to go above and beyond to provide an optimal customer service experience. Turning negative interactions into positive outcomes is a key opportunity to earn genuine customer loyalty and advocacy.

Make It Easy

Find those customers who are enthusiastic about you, and make it ridiculously easy for them to write a rave review. Not only could you send a standard post-purchase “rate & review” message, you could also ask your customers in the email and on social if they would be willing to recommend your brand. Then give those who respond with “yes” the tools to do so, whether it be an email requesting a review of a specific product or a third-party site where they can publish their glowing review.

Once you’ve identified these advocates, begin to leverage them for more than just reviews. Without asking too much of them, see if they might be willing to share offers or pass along other announcements from the brand. Ask them to submit their images and personal stories about their experiences with your products and services on social.

Final Thoughts

Consumers first fall in love with the high quality of your products, your excellent customer service, and a genuinely enjoyable experience, but your goal in creating these brand advocates needs to be one of ongoing engagement. If you create your marketing strategies with a focus on engaging customers over time in a variety of ways, you greatly increase your chances of turning one-time purchasers into long-term fans who will advocate for your brand and share your message (and your products and services) with the world.

This content was originally published by Oracle + Bronto.

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