The Role of Customer Advocacy in Growing Sales

Have you ever taken a vacation that you couldn’t wait to tell everyone about when you got home? If so, you probably remember taking and sharing lots of pictures encouraging people to visit and see the same things you did too. Similarly to taking a memorable vacation, having a positive shopping experience can lead to some of the same behavior. When retailers provide shoppers with second-to-none service from the beginning to the end of their experience, they can benefit in the same way as your favorite tourist destination when you share photos of the amazing time you had.  

Customers serving as advocates for a brand or retailer can serve as a minor miracle from a marketing standpoint for multiple reasons, including the fact that customer content resonates better with future shoppers.  

To learn more about the benefits of prioritizing customer advocacy in marketing efforts, keep reading below: 

  • User Generated Content 
    When customers receive phenomenal service, it’s natural for them to get the urge to tell others about it. User generated content resonates better with other customers than traditional marketing content and helps customers develop an idea of what type of service to expect. Retailers that go above and beyond to exceed the expectations of customers have lots to gain by encouraging them to provide UGC of their own. Getting creative in collecting and distributing content from customers helps too. 
     
    Let’s say a retailer recently made some changes to their website that makes selecting the right size easier after receiving numerous complaints in the past about sizing being off. A customer uses the new feature before making their purchase, and they’re thrilled with how everything fits. After receiving an email inviting them to leave a review once they’ve had the chance to try everything on, they detail how well the new sizing feature works along with some photos. Now, the retailer can use this review across their social channels, on their website, in email marketing materials and wherever else they communicate with customers which helps accurately paint the picture of how their new sizing feature works and what customers can expect when using it. One of the keys to customer advocacy is sharing messages with customers, where receiving them is easiest. 
     
  • Social Proof 
    Connecting with customers where it matters most means getting active on social media. Seeing people follow, like and share content from a brand can have a bigger impact on a retailer’s bottom line than you might think. Studies show for example that 93% of Twitter users say they plan to purchase from a business they currently follow, and 59% of social media users in general see social networks as inspiration for future purchases. Developing a strong following online helps develop what’s known as wisdom of the crowd
     
    Suppose you’re shopping for a wine subscription as a gift. Not being familiar with any of the brands that come up on your initial search, your next idea is to go to Facebook to find out which service has the most followers. Once you visit their Facebook page and see the five-star reviews detailing the seamless purchasing process, photos of happy customers with their assorted bottles of wine and the amount of likes and shares from their customers, you make the decision to follow the wisdom of the crowd on display and purchase the gift subscription. Social proof is instrumental to using customer advocacy to increasing sales – and one of the most influential forms of social proof is star ratings.  
     
  • Star Ratings 
    It’s hard to escape search engines during the buying journey nowadays. That’s one of the biggest reasons star ratings are so vital for online retailers. Studies reveal star ratings can increase an online retailer’s click-through rate by 20-30%. Additionally, they often serve as a great first impression for retailers who provide an experience that keeps customers coming back.  
     
    When retailers and brands go above and beyond to provide a top-notch experience for their customers, why not give them every opportunity possible to allow them to discuss how great their experience was to the world? Creating a marketing strategy that prioritizes star ratings along with other types of influential social proof and UGC helps improve the likelihood of future shoppers learning about the type of experience that can be expected from a specific brand or retailer. This type of marketing strategy also has the potential to impact sales as well, but it all starts with providing an experience that customers can’t wait to share with others. 

Customer advocacy is the last piece of a customer-first model that starts with providing excellent service. Retailers and brands who exceed the expectations of their customers on a regular basis have nothing to lose and everything to gain from making the success stories of their customers the focal point of their marketing messaging. To learn more about the impact of leveraging customer advocacy, schedule a demo with an expert today. 

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