Is your pool of marketing qualified leads drying up? Maybe your blog posts or advertising messages just don’t resonate with your target market anymore. The key to unlocking and resolving such issues is leveraging your happiest customers. But how?
Marketing teams can accelerate growth by working hand-in-hand with customer advocates to raise product awareness and accelerate sales leads. This concept is known as customer-powered marketing. And together, you can go further, faster.
For the best results, you must mobilize advocates to help you provide the social proof B2B buyers need to make informed purchase decisions. Advocates can also give you instant feedback on messaging and content before it goes to market. Moreover, they can influence what’s being said about your brand online by publicly sharing their positive experiences.
In collaboration with an army of customer advocates, Hero K12 grew their online product reviews by 69% year-over-year, and the company’s customer reference pool by 271% year-over-year (full case study available in our eBook) . Want to know how much revenue their efforts generated? And how they encouraged customers to share reviews and testimonials online? Let’s explore these ideas more closely and uncover how to use customer-powered marketing strategies to turbocharge your business growth.
1. Create & spread success stories faster with advocates
Advocates can help you develop content faster so you’re not relying on your marketing team alone. Many advocates love the chance to be in the spotlight and will happily give you testimonials, or appear in case studies, blog posts, videos, and eBooks.
After they’ve been sufficiently nurtured, offer your advocates opportunities to share their thought leadership with your community. Make sure to offer a variety of opportunities, so customers can select which ones appeal to them most.
Some of your advocates may love to be in the spotlight (e.g. having their name and face featured in a case study), and others will prefer a more behind-the-scenes role (e.g. contributing ideas for a blog.) Both options are beneficial to you and your customers.
Customer advocates can also provide quotes for press releases, as well as create and deliver webinars and conference presentations. Whether at your company’s conference or at an event you’ll be sponsoring, advocates can help bring conversations about your niche to the fore.
2. Increase online & in-person sharing by encouraging your advocates
One of the best ways to influence prospects is to increase positive, organic word-of-mouth about your company in the channels that buyers are using for research. Mobilize your advocates to talk about your solutions on social networks, third-party websites, as well as at live events, among other channels.
You can amplify your reach on social media by inspiring advocates to share your latest content across their profiles. Another common way to get advocates in front of buyers is to ask them to write an online review. Many of your satisfied customers may not go out of their way to write a review, but would often be happy to oblige if you encourage and incentivize them.
You can also encourage advocates to defend your brand on blogs or other online communities, especially where it isn’t appropriate for your company to do so directly. While you never want to put words in advocates’ mouths, simply asking them to join the conversation usually means they’ll jump to your brand’s defense.
How Hero K12 accelerated content creation & grew their online brand presence
The customer marketing team at Hero K12 was looking for a scalable way to connect with users of their student behavior management software. They wanted to provide customers with educational resources to help them use the product successfully, gather feedback to shape the future of their product, and drive results for their business.
Hero K12 used their customer engagement platform to achieve those goals and build strong customer relationships. They posed asks and challenges to customers, rewarded them for participation, and educated them on the ways to best use their product.
Not only did they create an army of customers willing to contribute to testimonials, referrals, references, and online reviews, but they also helped customers meet their own goals and develop their professional networks. By acting on customer feedback and nurturing their advocates, Hero K12 achieved the following results:
- 173 online reviews, representing a 69% growth year-over-year
- 141 customers in their reference pool, representing a 271% growth year-over-year
- $143,018 in referral revenue
- 465 testimonials
- 31 customer stories published
- 2,204 advocate shares of social media content
“By harnessing the power of the customer, you can not only get feedback and build empathy, but also educate them on your product, and get tangible results for your business.”
— Jessica Mitchell, Customer Marketing Manager, Hero K12
3. Let your advocate community drive message development
Creating an engaged community through the Discover > Nurture > Mobilize (DNM) advocate marketing framework pays dividends. It simultaneously provides a richer overall experience to customers, and lets marketers open up an invaluable direct communication channel with these customers.
You can call on your community to give feedback on your marketing, and involve your advocates early in the messaging development process. Do this by asking them to share their pains with you and weigh in on which benefits resonate most with them.
Ask for input on how to best communicate your value proposition, position your products, or even name product features. Then, you can fine-tune based on advocate feedback, so you can be sure your messaging hits the mark, every time.
Integrating customer-powered strategies across the enterprise
Customer-powered marketing cannot succeed in a vacuum. All other departments across a customer-powered enterprise must adopt a similar approach to successfully empower your advocates to drive business growth.
Everyone from Customer Success to Product Development and Sales must work together, and within their individual teams, to ensure that you retain and mobilize your happiest customers.
To learn more about building a truly customer-powered enterprise, download our eBook: The Customer-Powered Enterprise Playbook now.
Author: Chris Newton, Influitive.
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