Many marketing teams put the majority of their efforts toward lead generation, and with good reason. But you may be missing another huge opportunity to drive pipeline and revenue: building customer advocacy and engagement from your existing client base.
Putting focus on your customer engagement programs is key not only to generating brand loyalty and repeat purchases, but also creating advocates. Case studies, referrals, online reviews, testimonials, and word-of-mouth marketing are all pieces of customer advocacy that can help you reach your lead generation and sales goals.
Still not sure customer advocacy is worth the time or effort? Here are some stats to prove it.
Over three-quarters of B2B buyers consult three or more sources of advocacy before they decide to make a purchase. (Source: Gartner)
Those sources of advocacy include social posts, customer testimonials, case studies, reviews, and speaking engagements. That shows the importance of diversifying your customer advocacy programs and reaching prospects through a number of channels. You don’t want to ask too much of any single customer, though, so make sure to spread your requests around. Building a points-based customer community is also a good way to solicit and reward advocacy actions.
More than 80% of consumers say they trust recommendations from people they know, more than any other advertising format. That’s almost twice the number of people who said they trust online banner ads. (Source: Nielsen)
You can send marketing emails and buy online ads until you’re blue in the face, but they will never be as effective as a recommendation from a friend or colleague. When you can get happy customers to spread the word about your product or service among their networks, you exponentially increase your reach.
Fifty-four percent of B2B marketers say that referral programs have a lower cost-per-lead than other channels. (Source: Social Media Today)
Marketing teams are constantly tasked with bringing in more leads with less budget, especially with the past few years of pandemic-induced cost cutting and the looming threat of a recession. Any channel that can reduce the cost per lead is a channel you should be using
Customers who came in via referrals have an 18% lower churn and 16% higher lifetime value than customers acquired by other marketing tactics. (Source: Goethe University and the University of Pennsylvania)
Referrals allow you to bring in leads at a lower cost, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing revenue potential. Research shows that these high-quality leads end up becoming high-value customers, making it easier for your company to reach its sales targets.
In a survey of potential brand advocates, more than half said they would most value a small gift or cash incentive as a token of appreciation from the brand, over a personal thank-you letter, helpful content, or exclusive access to new products. (Source: HubSpot)
These days, it’s difficult to get anyone — even very satisfied customers — to do something for nothing. You’ll have far more success creating advocates if you show them that you appreciate the time and effort they’re spending to help your brand. Physical gifts can be time-consuming and costly to send, so consider going with digital gift cards instead. They can even be integrated into your marketing or community platform to streamline the process.
Customers who are emotionally connected with a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value than those who are simply satisfied. Emotionally connected customers also recommend brands at much higher rates — 30.2% vs. 7.6%. (Source: Motista)
When you offer delightful rewards to your customer advocates, it creates a positive experience that helps nurture the relationship so it goes beyond vendor-client. Deepening those types of connections builds long-term goodwill from those customers and makes them more likely to renew, upgrade, or buy more.
Want to find out how rewards and incentives can boost all your customer programs? Check out these blogs: