“The biggest reason brand advocates are so powerful is a single, five-letter word: Trust,” says Rob Fuggetta, author of Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force.
Trust has also been the linchpin required for the six-step process of attracting your print buyers that we’ve talked about in this series:
- Step 1: Create an awareness
- Step 2: Cultivate a connection
- Step 3: Establish trust
- Step 4: Become exclusive
- Step 5: Continue the pursuit, and finally,
- Step 6: Build lifelong advocates.
While it may look like step six brings you to a completion point in the process, the truth is lifelong advocates only happen when those six steps are circular. Or, to put it another way, now is the perfect time to stop thinking of your sales as a funnel and instead treat them as a spinning flywheel gaining continued momentum.
One way you can keep that momentum going is through building lifelong advocates for your brand.
What is a Brand Advocate?
Think of a brand advocate like you would a perfect spouse.
After years of building and cultivating a relationship with someone, that special person becomes the first person to run to both in good times and in bad. Now, apply that line of thinking to your print buyers.
Wouldn’t it be great if you were the printer your print buyers ran to both in times of desperation and success?
Just think of that… it would be amazing!!!
Not only would it feel great (and provide a little boost to the ole ego), but it would also help build your credibility and inexpensively boost your marketing efforts. Just take a look at how well word-of-mouth brand advocacy works:
6 Steps for Finding and Using Brand Advocates
While not every print buyer will become a lifelong advocate that brags about your print company to their friends, some are just waiting in the wings to become your superfans!
1. Find the Right Customers to be Your Advocates
Brand advocates or superfans are usually pretty easy to spot. They typically look similar to this:
- They’re highly-satisfied frequent customers.
- They shout your name from the rooftops (as well as information about your products or services without incentives).
- They influence the opinions or purchasing decisions of other print buyers.
Just as you spent time finding the perfect employee team, the same should be true of your brand ambassadors.
Your company deserves advocates that will honor and exemplify your brand as well as you do. So, when you’re connecting prospects with advocates, make sure your advocates are knowledgable, passionate about the company, product, or service, professional, and can provide useful insights to those they’re influencing.
2. Keep Your Eye on the Prize
While you may be tempted to think that the prize is more sales, it’s the relationships with your brand ambassadors that matter most.
Not everyone is ready to order printing right now. That’s why your focus needs to be directed to building and maintaining good relationships so that when they are ready, they come to you.
So, make a quality product, give them an excellent experience every time, remember their name, under-promise, and over-deliver, and follow the tips you learned earlier in this series about cultivating connections, establishing trust, and continuing the pursuit with your print buyers.
3. Invite Participation
All meaningful connections require participation.
Once you’ve established who would make the best advocates for your brand, you want to ask these influencers to participate by offering their feedback, testimonials, and reviews.
Feature their positive feedback in ads, case studies, testimonials, or as a resource other potential customers can call if they have questions or concerns.
4. Give Them Extra Attention
Along with testimonial-type ways for your brand advocates to participate, you can also make it beneficial to them by giving them some extra attention.
For example, brand advocates are the perfect print buyers to ask when tossing around ideas, offering sneak peeks into new products or services, or starting a new loyalty program.
5. Show Your Appreciation
Appreciation is one of those things that’s so easy to do but so often underutilized.
If you have brand advocates out there praising your company to others, it’s vital to show your appreciation regularly. Remember, relationships don’t last long if the give-and-take is out of balance.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. It merely needs to show your brand ambassadors that you’re thinking of them. You can show appreciation by remembering special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries and by offering exclusive offers just to your superfans.
6. Make it Official
People like to know they’re a part of something, including your print buyers.
From social media top fans to Amazon Prime “members,” programs like these help to boost word of mouth and create brand ambassadors.
So, start a program and make it official! Maybe it’s a Printing Perks card where members receive free or discounted shipping or a loyalty program that offers a free subscription to a service you provide. Either way, these types of programs help create a community of influencers and brand advocates for your company while offering incentives back to your print buyers.
Creating Attraction With Your Print Buyers
What if instead of chasing down prospects you could set them up to want to build a relationship with your brand and pursue you?
Aren’t those the types of customers you’d want anyway?
When you create awareness, establish trust, and focus on building lifelong advocates, you’ll be on your way to attracting print buyers and sparking the beginnings of lasting relationships.