By Trust Radius guest blogger Brianna Barcena
Businesses are focusing their marketing more and more on consumers and the full buyer journey. From having never heard of a brand, becoming a lead, converting, staying engaged and becoming loyal to the brand to finally becoming a brand advocate, customers have to go through many stages.
Here are three steps you can follow to ensure that all your customers make it to the brand advocacy stage of your buyer’s journey.
Build your brand around your customer’s needs
Your brand should apply a customer-first approach to everything. Your products and services should be focused on solving your customers’ problems, as that will make them love you from the start. Once your offering has been established, you can home in on your customers’ values and additional pain points to understand how to connect your brand to them. You’ll also be able to develop additional programs or services to show them that you share their values and want to help solve their issues. You can show them that you care about more than just their wallet in many ways:
- Make charitable donations to organizations your customers and prospects support;
- Create partnerships with companies to provide products and services that solve additional problems at a discounted rate;
- Develop educational programs so that your clients can develop skills that will help them excel.
Writing about and publicizing your programs and partnerships will also provide you with content that your customers can share and link to — which is a great way for them to show brand ambassadorship.
Listen to what your customers are saying
One of the most important aspects of consumer-focused marketing is genuinely listening to your consumers. Accepting feedback from users of your site — both members and visitors — will help you understand the things that are annoying them and potentially preventing them from making a purchase. If you run a larger company, it might make sense to have your customer service managers communicate regularly with your product and marketing managers to discuss anything that consumers regularly complain about. If you run a smaller company, make sure that your customer service team (no matter how small) is involved in important product and marketing decisions. You may even consider having your marketing and product teams handle some customer service calls and emails to experience first-hand the kinds of problems customers are facing.
According to the Harvard Business Review, it costs 5% to 25% more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Listening will help you increase your retention rates, which is an important stage before customers can become brand advocates, and also let your customers know that they are heard, that they matter. Imagine if you asked for a new feature on your favorite website and it was added: knowing your voice was heard may be the extra something you needed to finally head to a review site and leave a positive review.
Develop a referral bonus program
A referral program will help you bring new customers into your buyer’s journey, and on average, those customers will have a 16% to 25% higher LTV than customers who weren’t referred. But a referral program isn’t only good for acquiring new customers: it gives your loyal customers an easy way to become brand ambassadors and share your company with their networks. A referral program will also give them an added incentive to share, as there’s something in it for them. Referral bonus programs are especially good for customers who are loyal but not yet completely in love with your company’s products or services. In other words, they might need a little push to promote you to their friends.
A lot needs to happen between a customer discovering your products or services and becoming a brand ambassador for your company; each step in the middle requires that you take a customer-focused approach. Focus on their needs, listen to their concerns, and thank them for recommending you to their friends, and you’ll be on your way to having a high retention and ambassador rate.