Guest Blog Post: Bonjoro Shares the Importance of Customer Advocates
As we've done in the past, we love to partner with other growing businesses to bring insight and experience to our readers in many different areas. All small businesses are looking to market themselves effectively, but consumers are inundated by marketing and advertising efforts all day long. Setting yourself apart in your industry can be daunting, but Bonjoro has some simple reasons why a strategy based around customer advocacy can be your key to success.
Oli Bridge, Head of Marketing at Bonjoro.com shares advice on how to make customer advocacy an engine of early business growth:
5 reasons you MUST have a strategy on customer advocacy
Here at Bonjoro we grew by 3500% in 2017, and we put over half of this rapid growth down to one thing: customer advocacy. It’s a simple concept, but one often neglected by the majority of small businesses caught up in the latest growth hacks. It’s our opinion that any small business can grow more easily, and much more quickly, with a deep and systematic focus on supporting and delighting their early customers. Here are five reasons you must develop your own strategy on customer advocacy.
Advocacy gives you the best ROI early on
As part of our recent white-paper on customer delight we did some simple calculations to show how powerful advocacy can be for a growing business, and we found that it can comfortably outperform other marketing channels in terms of generating leads and revenue.
Added to the fact that referred customers have a 13% conversion rate (3x greater than the industry average), and a 37% higher retention rate, we found that small increases in NPS (as an effective measure of advocacy) can exponentially impact revenue growth.
Hot Tip #1: Measure NPS, and work on increasing it as a priority. A small increase in delighted customers can hugely impact your growth. Here at Bonjoro, we use a great tool called Advocately that not only tracks NPS but also helps us gather positive reviews from happy customers.
The latest marketing “hacks” always fade away
There’s a lot of talk about how marketing channels decline in efficiency over time. There’s two simple reasons for this, and they are closely related:
1. More and more businesses jump on the bandwagon of the latest “growth hacks”, and competition for those channels increases, driving down effectiveness and ROI
2. Customers get swamped by businesses all doing the same thing, and become more desensitized (i.e. “banner blindness”) and/or time-poor to respond to those efforts.
Andrew Chen wrote a fabulous post on this called “The Law of Shitty Click-Throughs” which shows the decline of wave after wave of new “growth hacks”, going right back to banner advertising before the dot-com bubble.
Hot Tip #2: Focus on delivering core product value and a stellar experience to every customer in the most personal way possible. If you feel too late to the latest marketing “hack”, you probably are too late, and you’ll spend most of your time lining another marketers pockets by chasing their tail.
It’s a proven way to win in a crowded marketplace
It’s no secret that the recent trend of low interest rates and low required capital expenditure to set up business has affected an explosion in the number of small businesses across the world. SMEs now make up 98% of business activity in the USA, and 8 in 10 of these businesses fail.
Advocacy is really all about culture. Developing a business culture that is fostered by a strong set of internal principles, but also extends outwards to your customers and clients. Don’t be scared to polarize opinion - not everyone will buy into your business culture, but those that do will be your best advocates.
Hot Tip #3: Remember that you are unique. Trust in your own vision, and work with your customers to develop your own singular voice. Don’t copy other businesses, or you’ll spend your entire life at a desk reading about other people’s success, rather than having fun with your own.
Advocacy drives you into a niche
Something businesses talk about a lot is “nailing a niche” (there is a fantastic book by Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin this topic, which is worth dipping into). But those same businesses forget that a huge part of nailing a niche comes from developing and listening to advocates, not chasing the niche you think you fit into.
The ultimate goal is to let your advocates pull you into their space, rather than pushing your product into a marketplace. The former is always more satisfying, and much less expensive!
Hot Tip #4: Spend less time conducting experiments (I’ve seen so many businesses pour money down the drain on paid ads) to find your niche, and more time speaking to your happiest customers. What is it exactly that is driving their hunger for what you’re selling? The value proposition might be substantially different to your assumptions.
It provokes the right habits
So many growth methods provoke terrible habits that disconnect you from your customers and your own product. Things like Facebook chat-bots, where you spend weeks researching and setting up, only to implement something that puts a wall between you and your customers. Bots can work, but tactics like this can be very dangerous for small businesses. Driving at advocacy naturally engenders much healthier business habits: listening, speaking, a sensitivity to your customers wants and needs. This “human-touch” always results in a better, stickier product. AirBnB is a case-in-point here, and this now infamous podcast with Bryan Chesky shows the standard we should all aspire to.
Hot Tip #5: Here at Bonjoro we live by the ethos: Automate processes, but NEVER relationships. Try applying this to every business decision: “If I automate X in my business, am I automating a process (fine), or a relationship with my customers (very bad)?”
A big "Thank You" to Oli and his team for helping us develop our own customer advocates and partnering with us to bring delight to our clients. Want to delight your own customers from Day 1 by sending personal welcome videos? Head over to Bonjoro to start your 14 day free trial today.