Cultivating Advocates for Your Brand
Cultivating clients and others to be advocates for your brand takes planning and time. While you already work on building relationships every day, focusing on specific advocate prospects and activities will boost your efforts. These brand believers are invaluable as they will promote you in their sphere of influence.
Prospective advocates usually go through several stages of development before they freely promote you, especially if they are not friends or family. You know these sales cycle terms before, but here's a refresher:
- Awareness — They know your brand exists.
- Recognition — They recognize and remember your brand, and connect it to past communications.
- Interest — They become interested in your brand and can identify the benefits.
- Purchase - They need your services, are comfortable with your brand, prefer you and engage.
First, distinguish which of these established clients are already advocates and which have potential. Potentials are people you work well with and with whom there is a mutual, earned trust. You should also look for connectors: These are people with a larger sphere of influence.
Ones you've identified potentials, you can begin the process of turning them into advocates.
- Start communicating or meeting with them at least quarterly.
- Put them into your regular client communication rotation, and make it easy for them to share.
- Personalize your communications to each advocate.
- Follow up, and focus on what's important to them.
- Most importantly, thank them when they promote you!
Invite established brand advocates to events, club meetings or a home party. Meet for coffee occasionally and introduce them to others. This is especially welcome if they are new to the area.
A common interest – like a particular sport or exercise regimen – is also a great way to start connecting. There are so many opportunities; the list is only limited to your creativity. Loyal advocates for your business are the ultimate marketers!
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