Five Tips to Turn Customers into Brand Advocates
Wouldn’t it be a great thing if your happy customers turn into brand advocates for your fashion collection? It is a known phenomenon by all the sales and marketing professionals across the globe that repeat customers are the most profitable ones for any brand. While getting new customers is exciting, retaining the existing loyal ones is more beneficial for any business.
A study done by the global information, data and market measurement firm Neilsen proved that 92% of people trust personal recommendations from their friends or family who have used the products themselves. Since they trust their opinion, their buying decisions are impacted by that.
Who is a brand advocate?
A brand advocate or promoter is a satisfied customer who spreads the positive word about the brand without any financial benefit offered by the company. Brand advocates normally take to social media, post pictures, and spread positive information about a brand they used themselves. Along with participating in the portals for posting the feedback after buying a product, they also use their social media pages like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook to put the feedback of the item they bought.
Normally, these brand advocates are honest with their opinions as they do not deal with the companies financially. If they are unhappy with a product, they will mention that too. Hence the brands are afraid of such brand advocates and do not take a chance. They can easily be converted to detractors. Detractors are those unhappy customers who will use social media and word of mouth to talk about their negative experiences with the brand.
Brand advocates are different from affiliate partners as affiliate partners gain financially from what they post on their blogs, websites and social media timelines. The brands pay them if any sales happen through their channels. Regular customers prefer to trust brand advocates as their opinions are not curated. Since there is no financial benefit between the brand advocate and the brand, their opinions are authentic.
Let’s explore some tips and tricks to turn your customers into brand advocates for your fashion label-
1. Understanding customer advocacy in-depth-
The fashion brand might have a huge customer base. However, there will be a very small number of customers who will work as brand advocates. Very few people will take the pain to go to their blogs and social media timelines and put a review about the apparel they purchased.
Hence the fashion brand needs to identify those brand advocates and engage with them positively. After the brand has identified the brand advocates, they can take these measures to engage with them-
- Surveys- Inviting brand advocates to participate in surveys on a regular basis is a good practice. These customers like to be noticed, and hence they take time to post on social media about a new dress they bought or their buying experience during the process. Sometimes asking a simple question like “how likely are you to recommend us to a friend” and inspiring them to write a comment will do the trick.
- Social Listening- A good brand needs to have a robust social media team that keeps an eye on what the customers are talking about their brand and address any negative publicity. Sometimes one bad experience of a customer goes viral and trends on various social media platforms for days. Even though mass memory is short, they impact the sales for those days. If the company is listed on stock exchanges, any kind of negative publicity definitely impacts the stock prices negatively.
- Launching referral programs- Smart brands invite the brand advocates to bring their friends to the fashion brand and inspire them to open an account. The brands offer some discount coupons to the brand advocates, and automatically this becomes a good source of creating a chain of customers.
- Offering loyalty programs- The brands which encourage the brand advocates to shop from their fashion brand store/portal and give them loyalty points engage the customers more in the longer run. Many customers will continue buying from those brands for a long time. For example- Tanishq (a Tata enterprise) adds points to the encircle account that the customer can redeem in any of the tata brands- Tanishq, Titan, Fastrack, etc.
2. Making the onboarding process seamless –
Many times, customers like to switch from one portal/brand to another, and their first experience with the new brand will be through their onboarding process. If a customer is coming to a retail store for the first time or using the brand for the first time, the sales representatives should be equipped to deal with all the queries.
The sales representatives also should be capable of suggesting the best products and offers to the customer and ensure a seamless onboarding process for them. If it is an online portal, the new account creation should be seamless. Research shows that customers who create a new account like to make use of the discounts meant for new customers immediately after creating the account. If there are technical glitches, most of the time, the customers go to another site and do not come back to the previous one. Hence the brands which have an online presence need to be very careful about their e-commerce portals and ensure that they are always up-and-running and can handle the loads and spikes in traffic.
3. Delivering proactive service-
According to research, customers love to be treated like kings and queens as they invest their hard-earned money to buy the merchandise. 55% of customers are even ready to pay more for a brand that ensures a perfect customer-centric experience during the purchase, returns and after-sales service.
This includes retails and e-tailers equally. For example, if there is a delay due to any circumstance, it is always a good idea to send an e-mail and SMS message proactively. If it is a regular customer, offering a gift coupon for the inconvenience is a good idea. This will ensure that the customer does not become a detractor and starts negative publicity for the fashion brand.
Also, offering great service through all the channels – voice, chat, e-mail, and social media is the ideal way to handle all customer queries and complaints. A good brand needs to ensure that their customer service team is equipped to deal with an omnichannel approach, and the service levels and service quality is the same in all of them.
4. Offering free actionable information –
Effective content marketing helps a fashion brand generate leads and convert them into customers. It also helps the existing customers to understand more about your new fashion lines and inspires them to try out the new styles and outfits. This gesture can convert them into permanent brand advocates.
If the fashion brand regularly publishes content which their patrons like and engage with, they not only are successful in increasing their brand awareness, it adds to the profitability of the company.
Brand advocates normally use this free actionable information and share them on their social media platforms. For example, if the fashion brand is launching a new collection like ”Dresses inspired by Lady Diana’s wardrobe” and they do the relevant promotions about it, the brand advocates will get some fodder to talk about the brand with their friends.
5. Encouraging user-generated content-
When the fashion brand solicits feedback from the customer after they have completed a purchase, it is always a great idea to invite them to upload User-Generated Content (UGC) along with the text in the feedback. When the brand advocate wears that attire and takes pictures, videos and upload them along with their product review, the readers are more inspired. Through this method, even unknown people find that review more trustworthy, and the customer becomes a true brand advocate of the brand.
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