What is Advocacy Marketing?
Advocacy marketing is a growing form of marketing.
It encourages existing customers to talk about your company and/or products and services.
You may have heard whisperings of this concept but by a different name like 'referral marketing', 'peer to peer marketing' or even 'social proof'.
You can harness advocacy marketing to boost your marketing and your engagement strategies.
This type of marketing is more authentic than any other as its driven by real humans and their connections.
Mini-Versions of Advocacy Marketing
Remember how we said 'social proof' is kind of a synonym for advocacy marketing?
Well, you're probably already using this type of marketing without even realizing it.
Asking for references, case studies, reviews, feedback, etc. means you're already using a form of advocacy marketing, albeit at a smaller scale.
The 3 Keys to Advocacy Marketing
- Give your customers something they really want or need (it must also have value to them)
- Offer these customers some way to advocate for you (publicly support you by sharing a link to your site, buying a product, signing a petition, etc.?)
- Recognize or thank your advocates for supporting you!
Humans naturally love to advocate for things we like or feel passionate about.
We have a psychological urge called reciprocity.
This urge makes us feel obliged to help people or to give back when we've been helped.
Give your advocates something valuable (your support/help, an amazing product/service, etc.) and they'll happily return the favor.
So tell me, how does Advocacy even work?
If you're running an advocacy marketing program those that you have deemed "advocates" are sharing your content to their own social channels.
Think: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or even by word-of-mouth.
When they share to their own personal accounts they're personally endorsing your product/service.
When someone sees the advocates' content they trust it since it's someone they know/believe/idolize.
Then these consumers are more likely to engage with your brand as they trust the advocate.
This works because people trust the people that they know.
You're more likely to pay attention to things that the people you follow on social media post, rather than posts from brands/publishers.
*Social Toaster's articles on advocacy and marketing helped to inspire this blog post.
Check them out here.
Why aren't we stressing the importance of conversions?
Conversions are one of the most important things if you do anything online.
They're basically the action you want a visitor to your online (website/page/store/course/etc.) to take when visiting.
The math here is that more conversions = larger business.
So how do we combine conversions with the sweet, sweet concept of advocacy marketing you ask?
Let's dive in!
Advocates talk...the world listens
Okay well, maybe not the whole world, but at least their following(s).
Advocacy marketing is a great way to spread and share your content.
Basically an advocacy program is having influencers or advocates share your content through their own social channels.
Side note: If you haven't yet, give our blog post on "Influencers" a read!
The reason that advocacy works is because we trust the people we know, like, and respect.
If your family member or best friend tells you about the amazing new Waffle House in town you're much more likely to check it out then if you just happened to wander by it one day.
You probably would have otherwise never given it a second thought.
By personally endorsing or gushing about a product/service you're convincing others to try it out because you're adding a much-needed shot of trust to that product or service.
People are also way more likely to pay attention to social media posts from family and friends then from something published by a brand or publisher.
Imagine your best friend sharing a post of her trying out the new Bubble Tea flavor at your favorite shop.
You'll likely try it next time you're there.
But if you'd seen an add for the new "flavor of the month" on Youtube let's say, you'd probably have hit that "Skip ad" button faster than you can say 'Bubble Tea'!
So what kinds of conversions can I get?
All of them.
Here is a list with a few examples:
- Leads/Business prospects
- Followers on social media
- Shares on social media
- Phone calls
- Visits to your IRL location
Whatever your own priorities and goals are will define what conversions or metrics are most important to you.
Usually, you're trying to make money so those goals will be related to driving sales, driving growth, generating revenue, etc.
So now we know what conversions are and we know what advocacy is, but how do we mix them?
Getting mixed up in Advocacy and Conversions
Okay so let's figure out how to turn our advocates into our top-conversion channel. Let's use what we've got!
Content, content, content
You need to create stuff your advocates will want to share and stuff that they can stand behind.
If you or your advocates don't believe in it, why would anyone else? So give your advocates conversion-driving content.
Make it easy to share for different platforms.
You want a quick and simple message that will get across to the audience of your advocates.
You might even tailor your message to specific platforms or to specific advocates based on their audience and how you might want to connect to different potential customers.
What? Why am I educating people?
Because people are going to ask advocates for questions and advice about your product or service.
They might not trust your customer service team to give them a real or trustworthy response so they'll ask an advocate.
Make sure your advocates have the content and info they need to share with these kinds of people. Educate them. They're essentially a part of your team now and you want them to represent your brand or company to the best of their ability.
Build everything around your conversion goal!
If you want someone to sign-up for something and your advocates are sharing the URL to your website, then make sure there's a way for people to sign-up when they hit your homepage.
We talked about needing a "call to action" a few weeks ago, so if you need a refresher read that blog post here.
Protect against a high bounce rate or having people not perform the action you want by setting up your landing page to be clear, or making the message you're trying to get across straight to the point and easy.
Use your Advocates to get free organic reach and visibility
Your advocates probably have higher organic reach on their social media platforms than your business ever will.
Save some marketing and advertising spend and have your advocates vocalize discount codes, sales and specials to customers.
You can increase the visibility of whatever it is you're trying to share without having to even pay to promote that content (depending on what kind of relationship you have with your Advocate(s)).
It's obvious that people already use advocate marketing campaigns to get their content out there and get it seen.
But they're not using advocates to drive conversions.
They're only getting half the benefit.
So get out there, be smart, and use your advocates to help you convert!
Get Started Today
Use your existing customers to advocate to new visitors and potential customers.
Learn how to do this by reading up on Social Proof, or by trying out Fera for free on your e-commerce store.
If you're an over-achiever, do both!