Nurturing customers into advocates in your community

What I love about including community in a customer marketing and advocacy strategy is how it brings a unique opportunity to scale customer activity for your company AND thein success.

A community built to provide immense value will naturally move customers into advocacy. This looks like Word-of-mouth, reviews, feedback, sharing their story at an event, and becoming an expert.

Customers want and love communities because they know they’ll learn from others who are very similar to themselves. They know they’ll hear stories that help them perfect their long-term stratey. They’ll also be able to ask the questions that plague them without the judgment that might come with those same questions internally.

Customers appreciate a company, even more when they get these answers, connections, and help. That loyalty and trust grow over time, and customers who once came for hep, pay it forward. Their efforts quickly elevate from simple posts to commenting that can become your next blog post.

As we all know, a customer who takes advocate-type action, is likely to continue – or they are likely to be open to the idea.

This is how the community helps advocacy efforts scale.

The Numbers for Scaling Advocacy through a Community

In a recent position, several of the same customers would respond to calls for writing, speaking, joining user groups, giving feedback, giving reviews, and other activities. Each of these was added to a program in Salesforce.

Over 6 months we had 78 people in the advocacy program (which focused on references at the tme, but included all advocacy actions), about 40% had actually done some kind of advocate action.

In the last 3 months of that 6 months, I started a customer community and offered customers a monthly 1:1 customer introduction program to entice them to join.

In just under 3 months, we had almost 400 members.

Almost half toke some kind of advocacy action during this time.

That’s 46 active advocates in a 6 months vs 185 advocates in under 3 months.

A sample customer to advocate journey/funnel

Here is a path I use to bring customers to success, sharing, and advocacy:

Customer > hopefully becomes a user.

User > who wants to be successful engages with Success, Education, Support > they learn about customer programs and join to be more successful.

Member > they join to learn even more, connect with members & the Community Manager, and find specific wins by sharing their participation goals (we break these into the 4 types of advocates)

Socializer > they share their story, experience, and feedback in the community > Community Manager connects to further relationship & nurture them into…

Creator > writes a blog post, gives a reference or review > Community/Advocacy Manager continues to nurture them into…

Advocate (3 completed activities) > they continue to participate, educate, learn, complete requests, and get the spotlight (where we celebrate advocates)

How does this compare to what you are doing today? Do you have any questions I can answer? Message me on LinkedIn