Brand advocacy is the ultimate goal of marketers who won’t settle for the traditional marketing funnel that ends with a conversion. With an increasingly connected world where social media has amplified the importance of word of mouth, brand advocacy has never been more important.
Brand advocacy involves more than just repeat purchases or even loyalty, it’s a mindset that customers develop and a level of trust that is earned over time. So before you can successfully create brand advocates, you have to start with loyalty and, by extension, loyalty programs. Let’s dive into the post-purchase experience to create customer advocates through loyalty-building efforts.
The post-purchase experience and loyalty
If you’re looking to grow a loyal customer base, your job isn’t done once you’ve secured a customer’s first purchase. Yes, you’ve done the hard work to build awareness and encourage customers to convert. But, you haven’t yet turned that customer into a repeat or loyal customer.
Think of ways to build long-term relationships and profits. The post-purchase experience is a great place to start as it’s the perfect time to leave a positive, lasting impression. When done well, it can not only encourage shoppers to return but to also tell others about their positive experience. This can easily be the first step in creating a compelling brand advocate segment.
Loyalty programs and advocacy
Let’s say you’ve nailed the initial post-purchase experience and started to create some feelings of loyalty amongst these customers. The next step is to encourage repeat purchases and ongoing engagement with your brand.
This can be accomplished through a loyalty program that not only provides value for shoppers but also incentivizes them to become a member of the brand you’ve built. (Pro tip: have your brand voice dialled-in. Here are some tips from our Head of Solutions on how to do it.)
Use post-purchase emails to engage first-time or guest shoppers to join. Your thank-you emails could let customers know that they have points waiting for them from their first purchase that will expire if they don’t create an account. They could also include product recommendations for them to spend their points on.
Never Fully Dressed use their thank you emails to show shoppers how many points a customer has earned from their purchase. They also include a clear call-to-action in the email that takes customers directly to the sign-up page.
(Pro tip: once a customer clicks through this email, make sure to mirror your CTA on-site with a message bar or pop-up to ensure they create a loyalty account!)
Never Fully Dressed are successfully using their post-purchase emails to trigger their customer’s fear of missing out, meaning they’re more likely to take action and create an account.
Once you’ve gotten a customer to join the loyalty program, you can use this to deepen the relationship until they’re actively encouraging others to try your brand and influencing their behavior.
The post-purchase experience and advocacy
If you can get a buyer to purchase from you often and move into a position of loyalty, you’re on track to crafting a brand advocate. They love and trust you enough to make future purchases and are the ideal customers you want to spread positive feedback about you.
Use the post-purchase moment to capture the attention of these advocates and encourage them to tell others about your brand.
On your checkout page, invite your loyal customers to share feedback. You could include a pop-up on your confirmation page that tells customers the loyalty points they’ll earn for leaving a store review.
You could also use post-purchase notifications to explain to customers that they can unlock additional rewards for referring a friend. Manuka Doctor, for example, displays a pop-up that makes it easy for shoppers to share their referral URL via social media, Whatsapp or email in exchange for 1,000 loyalty points.
Through a loyalty program and your review provider, you could also run email marketing campaigns to prompt happy customers who have left positive feedback to refer others to your store. Try setting up triggers that send an email to customers who have left you a three-star review (or higher) that encourages them to share your brand with loved ones. These customers are already loyal to your brand, so make it easy for them to act as advocates.
By using the post-purchase experience to encourage your loyal customers to act as advocates, you’ll be able to acquire new customers more cost-effectively all while gathering more, honest social proof.
Brand advocacy’s biggest value is trust and authenticity because it’s a personal recommendation from someone they can depend on – whether that’s someone they know or an influencer they follow.
Creating happy, loyal customers who want to share their experience with your brand is one of the most profitable types of customer retention you can focus on.
LoyaltyLion is a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform that powers e-commerce growth. A loyalty program is about more than points and rewards. It is about unlocking real insights to increase customer lifetime value. With LoyaltyLion, you can build a better understanding of what drives longer-lasting customer relationships, and use those insights to connect and accelerate your existing marketing efforts. Proven to increase retention and spend, LoyaltyLion is trusted by thousands of fast-growth e-commerce merchants worldwide.
Mollie is the Senior Content Marketing Executive at LoyaltyLion an industry leading loyalty/engagement platform.
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