Your brand advocates are talking. Are you listening?

Most large companies know the value of a loyalty program, whether or not they implement it. Asking your current customers to buy your product or service again is often a natural effect of a product of quality. But do you know that your customers are enthusiastically endorsing your brand to their friends, family, and colleagues without a reward or acknowledgment from you?

According to WOMMAPEDIA, 66% of consumers, whether online or offline, talk positively about brands when presenting or promoting your brand. Think of all the people who are on your Facebook page or who have “liked” your brand. Think about all the people in your loyalty program, if you have one. They are advocates promoting your brands to their social networks online and offline.

The number of advocates you have can be greatly increased by acknowledging them, thanking them, nurturing them, and of course rewarding them. A reward isn’t necessarily discounting your product or service. Sometimes, it is VIP status for a laser center. Other times it is getting a first view of the new game for a video game manufacturer. Look to what your advocates want the most and give it to them by referring your company.

My trusted friend has been going to a chiropractor and she has convinced her husband to see the chiropractor, too. She feels so good after getting adjusted that she tells everyone who will listen about her experience. Andrea’s recommendation has convinced other friends to go. They have raved about it, even ones who have been skeptical about going to a chiropractor. That is the power of brand advocacy.

So, is it necessary that you have all your brand advocates screaming your company’s message from the rooftops? Of course it is! They will be your spokespersons who promote your company and brands.Their relationships will bring in customers as they spread the word. What could be better than that?

How a Whole Foods power outage created brand advocacy

If you give your customers their groceries for free, they’re going to like you better. But chances are they aren’t the only ones.

One of our employees was scrolling through her Facebook feed this morning and came across a friend’s status:

“Was at Whole Foods tonight when they lost all power to their systems. Rather than have us tired, dinner shopping souls wait, they bagged up everyone’s groceries as usual and then said ‘this is all on the house tonight.’ I tried to estimate what I owed (as did others) but they wouldn’t take it. There were about 20 of us in the store. They just built some serious brand loyalty!”

Not only did this woman become more loyal to Whole Foods because of this experience; she also shared the story with her friends on Facebook and over 30 of them “liked” it.

As mentioned in the status, Whole Foods created brand loyalty by their generosity. But this brand loyalty led to brand advocacy – the customers who were in the store at the time are not the only ones who like Whole Foods a little bit better now.

Not all referral programs are created equal

Many enterprises today understand the value that can come from a program that allows customers and employees to refer their products or services to people they know.  If they can motivate their customers to recommend friends and family as new customers, they can get new leads and thus more revenue.  Not only will brand advocates make referrals; they become a part of the team by endorsing the products and services and amplifying the messages of the brand.  And it works – according to a recent study, 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family above all other types of advertising.

Despite understanding the value that referrals can create, many companies have not utilized their knowledge to its fullest potential.  Of brands currently running referral programs, many of those programs are unsophisticated and difficult to use, leading to less than impressive results.  For example:

  • Some of these programs require filling out an excessive amount of information, including customer account numbers and other items that make it not worth the effort. 
  • Also, some of these less advanced programs simply take the information from the referrals and send out an email blast to the new leads.  These emails are just basic advertisements that don’t even tell the recipients that their friend recommends the product or service to them.  These emails might even end up in a spam folder.

More advanced programs are much easier to use, and have way more capabilities.  They may require as little information as a name and email address, making it much more attractive for busy people to fill out.  The referrals can also come directly from the friend or family member, rather than just the company itself, making the receiver much more likely to pay attention.  The messages on the best referral programs are even customizable, and can be delivered through many mediums, such as email, Facebook, Twitter, referral cards, and more.  And unlike weak and outdated programs, the software underneath automatically tracks all of the results so the company can confirm the success of their compaign.

Amplifinity works with many types of enterprise-level companies to help motivate social behavior, increase brand awareness, and drive revenue.  One client, a financial institution, prides itself on customer service and trust but wasn’t getting an ROI they were happy with.  Amplifinity helped them integrate a program that:

  • Offered the client’s employees and customers rewards for each new account opened
  • Used multiple touchpoints and outreach methods to increase the likelihood of enrollment
  • Gave the client the ability to easily track and manage all aspects of the program through one system
  • A continual increase, month-to-month, in successful referrals and customer acquisition

This is just one example of what a strong referral program to do.  To learn more about how to best run your company’s referral program, click here to download our free whitepaper, “Amplifinity’s Best Practices For Running a Successful Referral Program”.