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customer loyalty

How Customer Advocacy Nurtures Brand Loyalty

Rhys Williams
By Rhys Williams — April 5, 2024 -

Read time: 4 mins

With advanced AI algorithms serving customers a curated and instant experience in so many areas of their lives, CX expectations are high. In addition, rising prices have made consumers more discerning about spending, with 48% of consumers ready to ‘abandon’ their favourite brands. 

In this environment, how can you build brand loyalty?

One innovative answer is customer advocacy marketing. It uses first-party data to take the widest possible view of your customers to give you a deep understanding of the sentiments and feelings motivating buying decisions.  

 

What is customer advocacy? 

Customer advocacy is the term for any action that your customers take to promote your brand. They could refer a friend to you, or they could share your name on social media or leave a positive review.  

An advocacy marketing strategy is one that seeks to turn your customers into active promoters of your brand. It uses first-party data to identify your biggest fans and nurture customers into advocates. Much like NPS before it, customer advocacy allows you to quantify such previously elusive concepts as customer sentiment and feelings. 

 

How does it build brand loyalty?

If you’re worried by the challenges of building loyalty, take heart from the treasure trove of data that’s right under your nose. Your customers continuously provide insights on how loyal they are, you just have to find a way to tune in.

Their actions, from sharing your brand with others to giving feedback, are powerful indicators of their future engagement. 

Analysing how actively your customers promote your brand reveals where they are in the loyalty journey. It lets you identify your most valuable customers and provides the information you need to improve on weaker sentiment.

Once you start using data to get a fuller picture of what’s motivating your customers, you can more meaningfully personalise experiences and tailor campaigns. 

This has big benefits for retailers looking to boost brand loyalty. Customer advocacy:

  • Delivers value from your customer base: Brand advocates have up to 2x CLTV and 23% higher engagement rates with personalised email. Because you’re identifying and nurturing your best and most loyal customers, you’re unlocking the revenue within your existing customer base. 
  • Attracts the best new customers: Advocacy marketing doesn’t rely on anonymous ads or promotions to raise awareness. It works by encouraging your customers themselves to spread the word to their friends and family. It’s a form of marketing that comes pre-packed with warmth and positivity. On average, this increases new customer acquisition by 10-30%.
  • Drives organic growth: With an army of loyal customers willing to promote your brand, you don’t have to spend as much money on marketing campaigns. It means your Earned Growth - the amount you’d grow by if you stripped out all the effects of paid campaigns - is much higher. 

 

The six stages of customer loyalty 

Marketing professionals have modelled how loyalty is created through the customer journey. It’s a journey that contains 6 (or occasionally 5) steps. This process is sometimes referred to as the loyalty ladder.

While the terminology can vary by industry and objective, the basic concepts of how customers behave at each stage of the journey remain the same: 

  1. Awareness: The customer becomes aware of your brand and its products or services for the first time. If this initial awareness comes from a trusted source, the journey to building genuine loyalty will be a lot less arduous. 
  2. Research: This stage involves gathering information. If you have a well-developed customer advocacy marketing strategy, you’ll have a wealth of positive reviews, social mentions and recommendations to rely on here. 
  3. First-time customer: This is a critical moment where the quality of your product and customer experience can turn a one-time buyer into a frequent shopper. 
  4. Repeat customer: After a positive initial experience, the customer returns to make additional purchases. This stage is key for establishing trust and reliability, showing that their first impression wasn't a one-off.
  5. Client: They’ve gone from making one or two repeat purchases and are now a steady repeat customer who will shop with you over another brand as a matter of routine. Notice that although there is already some degree of brand loyalty here, you still have work to do to maintain and cement your relationship.
  6. Advocate: You’ve nurtured your customers to the point where they feel a genuine connection to your brand and are enthusiastic enough to start recommending you.

There are two important things to note about these stages:

  • Creating advocates signifies the highest stage of customer loyalty. When your customers are actively promoting you, it’s a result of the effort you’ve put in across the customer journey to understand and appreciate them.
  • An advocacy marketing strategy builds loyalty at every point along the customer journey. 

 

Reimagine brand loyalty with advocacy marketing

In the process of building a successful advocacy marketing strategy, you will also build customer loyalty: If you want your customers to promote your brand, you have to provide a customer experience so outstanding that you can’t help but create loyalty within your customer base. 

No one is about to go out and recommend you to their friends if they’re not satisfied with their experience. The more satisfied, and even delighted, you can make your customers, the more they’ll go out and advocate on your behalf. 

Mention Me has built the world’s first Customer Advocacy Intelligence Platform to help draw your customers closer to your brand. It makes them feel happier, more understood, and more likely to make repeat purchases. In short, it increases brand loyalty. 

An advocacy marketing strategy offers sustainable growth and a way to build a dependable, profitable foundation for your customer base. If you’re ready to start your advocacy journey, talk to our team today. 

 

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