How To Develop Advocacy Marketing
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"Research shows today's wired customer relies heavily on information from peers, rather than traditional media sources or from the seller, itself. This means that in order to attract quality suspects... you must find ways to spread positive word of mouth through current customers and supporters." Jill Griffin
The power of word of mouth marketing should not be underestimated; whether you are a sole trader consultant or a global corporation. Loyal fans, long term advocates and "sneezers" if nurtured, can be a key way to leverage more of the same. So how can you turn customers into your most loyal advocates? You must start with gaining their loyalty. Here are 5 loyalty building starter strategies.
Strategy 1 - Put Service ahead of Selling
Whether business customers or consumers, people want something that is of value to them. Constantly understanding, checking and reviewing exactly what your customers want and delivering it in the way that they want it, is what will distinguish you from the "same as" crowd and may even determine the length of time you are in business.
Many people don't like being sold to and so when they are ready to buy, help them do so by delivering great service. Make them feel valued. Let them know you appreciate their business and ask, "How else may I help?" Exceed their expectations when you can and give them something to remember you by which they did not expect - that's what they will tell other people.
Strategy 2 - Get fanatical about how your customer defines value
Value is the main key to ongoing loyalty. Become obsessive about knowing!
What, how, when, where and why are the key questions to ask and ask repeatedly. Different customers may define value in different ways; they may see value in different ways and you then have a choice, based on what you learn, as to what and how you start to or continue to deliver the value they want. Again how well you do this will be a key factor in the loyalty of that customer and their propensity to recommend you.
Strategy 3 - Engage Your Ideal Clients through Multiple Channels
There is much evidence to suggest that if you engage your current and potential customers through multiple channels, their loyalty will be greater than if you simply engage through a single channel. The key factors here are constancy and consistency. Engage them often and let them experience the same value through whatever channel they come to you.
Discrepancies of value will detract and are more likely to turn people away. So if you send out a newsletter, distribute letters and have a website, consistency of branding, value and services levels should be equal; let yourself down in one area and you immediately knock the loyalty effect.
Strategy 4 - Create Alliances
Share, collaborate and innovate with other people and organisations that serve your ideal clients. You can do it all yourself but you will often be able to increase the value you offer your clients through developing joint ventures or alliances. The loyalty effect here is doubled - for you and for your partners. This means admitting you don't have all the answers, looking for innovative ways to add further value for your clients and being open to new approaches from others who want to do the same.
Strategy 5 - Be Reliable, Stay Responsive
Reliability and responsiveness are closely linked to a customer's perception of good service. The increase in electronic channels has changed people's baseline perception of speed to market. The fast pace of global business means that making a customer wait can be a barrier for prospective suppliers and therefore your value proposition for many (not all) clients needs to have a speed to market or speed to service element - whilst at the same time maintaining the integrity of your proposition.
"Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends." Walt Disney
About the Author
Beverley Hamilton works with independent business consultants to help them grow a profitable consultancy and still have time for their life. You can get my Free Ecourse Discover the 5 Most Common Incorrect Assumptions Independent Business Consultants Make and a complimentary subscription to Quickstart, the newsletter specifically for consultants. Go to One Step Further for more instantly accessible resources. Your future Your choice!
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-10-31 15:40:06 in Marketing Articles