Building Your Marketing Funnel, Part 3: Encouraging Brand Advocacy
Written by Rebecca Barth
Today, brand advocacy is more important than ever. Reviews, peer referrals, and testimonials consistently rank among the most influential decision-making tools for consumers. We ask friends and families for suggestions for anything from doctors and lawyers to coffee brands and backpacks. Capitalizing on this word-of-mouth network can increase your company’s client base. But how can you get former and current clients and customers to share their positive experiences?
As the final segment in our digital marketing funnel series, this blog will cover the importance of client engagement and retention and tactics that encourage brand advocacy.
Your Marketing Funnel Doesn’t End Once Someone Becomes a Customer
In parts one and two of our series on the digital marketing funnel, we provided strategies for attracting potential customers through brand awareness and cultivating those leads into clients. These steps are an essential part of your customers’ journey.
But the marketing funnel doesn’t end just because you’ve closed a deal. Instead, your business needs to focus on engagement, fostering loyalty, and expanding their reliance on your services or products.
How Customer Engagement Affects Brand Advocacy
Your relationship with clients requires give and take. You want them to continue to patronize your business and refer their loved ones to you. However, if you ignore them, it’s easy for customers to walk away. Your digital marketing strategies can keep your company at the top of their minds and encourage additional purchases and referrals.
What Is Customer Retention?
Customer retention is, as it sounds, the process of maintaining a customer after they make their first purchase. These repeat customers might not need your products or services again right away, but a successful customer retention strategy means that they’ll return to your brand for their future needs.
What Is Brand Advocacy?
Brand advocacy centers around the concept of word-of-mouth marketing and involves a former or current client championing your company by speaking favorably of the product or service you provide. Advocacy could be a recommendation to a family member, a review on a rating site, or a social post seen by all of their followers.
These satisfied customers are advertising for you, increasing awareness and interest of your company.
How Do I Expand My Relationship With an Existing Client?
While retaining a client is wonderful, increased business is even better. That’s why you want to encourage cross-selling and up-selling in your digital marketing messaging to clients.
- Cross-selling: Your customer recognizes that they have another complementary need that you can meet. For example, a customer may love a leather goods company’s boots so much that they come back and buy a belt and wallet.
- Up-selling: Your client decides to increase or upgrade their purchase. For example, a couple asks a lawyer to draft a simple will. However, when they meet with the attorney, they realize that their needs are better met by a will, living trust, and appointment of a legal guardian for their child.
To be clear, that doesn’t mean you should give your clients a hard sell. We find that educating people about your other services through informative newsletters, blogs, and client testimonials can help them identify their unmet needs and buy into your services.
How Can Companies Turn Customers Into Brand Advocates?
So how does a company get a customer to advocate for their brand? The entire process begins with client satisfaction. A satisfied customer will return to your business for their future needs rather than take the risk of going elsewhere and getting inferior goods or services. Many satisfied customers will naturally be inclined to share their experiences in social settings without any prompting from the brand.
Typically, this requires an engaging customer experience that delights, educates, and empowers people at every stage of the digital marketing funnel.
Top Digital Marketing Strategies for Enabling Brand Advocacy
Email Campaigns and Newsletters
Stay in touch and retain customers through email campaigns and digital newsletters
Even after someone makes a purchase or signs on for a service, it’s essential to stay in touch. Hopefully, you collect your leads’ and clients’ email addresses early on and add them to your email automation system. After someone becomes a client or customer, they should continue receiving relevant and entertaining information about new products or offerings, sales and discounts, and company news.
Not every client will open every email or do more than glance at the content. But even a glance can keep them thinking about your company and what you can offer them. However, if someone seems to have completely lost interest in your business, consider sending them a specialized re-engagement email that encourages them to interact with your brand. This may include an unexpected offer, such as a discount or a free ebook, to sweeten the deal.
Social Media Marketing
Enable brand advocacy with social media share buttons
Social share buttons can be a significant asset for any company. We’ve all seen the little icons that pop up when you hover over something that says “Share.” Clicking them lets you automatically share content on your social accounts without having to copy and paste the link manually.
Share buttons are often found in emails, newsletters, blogs, and product descriptions. Using buttons makes it easier and therefore, more likely, that a customer will share content with their entire network or directly with someone they think would be interested.digital marketing funnel
When a customer shares your products or content with their social networks, your brand gets exposure to all their followers.
Valuable Assets and Resources
Provide customers access to important information they can share with others
Social media isn’t the only way to encourage customers to share your brand with others. Providing customers with ebooks, infographics, blogs, and other high-value resources that are valuable and interesting can lead to follow-up purchases, renewed service contracts, and referrals.
Let’s look at some examples of how this would look in the service and retailer industries.
Example One: A Legal Ebook Encourages a Referral
A past client downloads a new legal ebook from your website. They have a colleague with questions about a car crash, but the coworker isn’t convinced they really need an attorney. Your client sends the ebook to their coworker, who reads it and then checks out your website. Between the recommendation from someone they know, and the expertise demonstrated in the ebook, they contact your law office.
Example Two: A Retailer’s Blog Inspires Social Sharing
A customer subscribes to your store’s monthly newsletter for news on your latest fashions and deals. A “7 Trendy Ways to Wear a Scarf” blog in the newsletter reminds them of a particularly stylish friend. They click the Share button and text it to their friend. The friend finds the article helpful, clicks on the link to the scarf highlighted in the blog, and makes a purchase.
Additional Tactics You Can Use to Increase Customer Satisfaction, Retention, and Advocacy
- Send a Personal Follow-Up Email: Increase both customer satisfaction and retention by following up after a sale with a personalized email. Thank your client for their business, ask for a review or feedback, and tell them that they’ll continue to get important updates from you.
- Create a Loyalty Program: Encourage customers to return to your brand by providing discounts and other incentives.
- Sponsor and Host Events: Cultivate your customer relationships by participating and hosting opportunities for face-to-face contact.
- Offer Refer-a-Friend Discounts: Provide direct incentive to advocate for your brand by providing discounts and special offers to customers who refer others to your business.
Key Takeaways From LaFleur’s Digital Marketing Funnel Series
Brand Awareness: The extent to which potential customers are familiar with the unique aspects of your company and what you offer.
- Use websites to market the unique aspects of your brand.
- Attract customers to your website by publishing useful blogs and content.
- Place your brand in front of consumers with paid advertising.
- Participate in tradeshows and networking events to engage in person.
Lead Nurturing: Engaging potential customers through targeted content, turning their interest into a sale.
- Create personalized emails that anticipate the user’s next steps.
- Develop engaging digital newsletters to target a focused audience.
- Use social media to communicate with potential customers easily.
- Offer informative downloadable resources that increase interest.
Brand Advocacy: Satisfied customers become loyal customers, and share their positive brand experience with others, raising brand awareness.
- Stay in touch and retain customers through emails and newsletters.
- Simplify sharing with buttons that link to social accounts and copy links.
- Encourage repeat customers with membership or client offers.
- Provide incentive to advocate by providing refer-a-friend discounts.
LaFleur Provides All the Digital Strategies Your Business Needs
At LaFleur, we have all the tools, resources, and experience needed to set up digital strategies that can help you through the digital marketing funnel. Every stage of the funnel is crucial for your company’s success. If you have any questions about the digital marketing funnel and how digital strategies complement traditional marking efforts, give us a call. Contact us at (888) 222-1512 or fill out our online contact form to get started today.
Need help with traditional marketing efforts? We can also provide branded assets and designs for tradeshows, mailings, and events.