6 Steps For Converting Customers to Advocates

03/16/2022 - Allen Marin

One of the biggest challenges for early-stage companies is attracting new customers who don’t even know you exist. You designed a great product, but your marketing probably consists of a sales deck, a website, and some collateral needed for landing new customers. But your marketing shouldn’t focus exclusively on signing new customers.

Marketing to existing customers can pay big dividends not only by encouraging them to spend more with you over time, but also by turning them into advocates who can help bring in new customers. They do this by sharing the positive experiences they’ve had with your company and your product.

Asking for a positive review, however, assumes that your customer is happy and has gotten considerable value from your product. Much of this depends on the product itself, but marketers can play a critical role in making sure customers are, in fact, really getting value in it.

Marketing to existing customers

One way we do that is to create content that teaches customers how to use features they might not know about or currently be using. Simple tutorials and how-to guides are terrific for doing this, and they’re easy to create with the free screen recorders included on your computer or mobile phone.

This type of educational content is useful for both existing customers and new customers who want to see your product in action before making a purchase. So make sure you carve out resources for this as you develop your marketing strategy.

Content and the customer journey

If you’re in marketing or sales, you’re probably familiar with the concept of the customer journey (or buyer’s journey). This is the hypothetical path a prospect takes toward making a purchase decision.

While the number of stages might differ from organization to organization, we’ll use the following six stages with the goal of sharing guidance on how to convert cold prospects into brand advocates. For marketers, creating the right content in each step is essential for doing this. Below, we outline some tips for helping you do that.

Stage 1 – Unaware of you
In this stage, it’s helpful to assume that our target customer doesn’t even know we exist. The idea here is to create content that inspires them to read, watch, or listen to what we have to say.

Content can take many forms from blogs to social media posts to videos and so on. The idea is to publish educational or entertaining content that will get the attention of our target customers and build awareness around our solution.

Step 2 – Engaged with you
In this second stage, we’re looking to get prospects to engage with us, so we can start building a relationship with them. They might, for instance, read a blog post, like a tweet, or visit us at an event we’re sponsoring.

When target customers engage with us, we know our message is getting through. The more frequently we publish content, the better chance we have of capturing their attention, so a regular cadence of content like blogs, social media posts, and digital ads work well in this stage.

Step 3 – On the list
Now that our prospect is engaging with our content, we want to build on that and entice them with an offer to exchange their email (preferably their work email) for some higher-value content we’ve created. This is where educational webinars, product demos, and evaluation checklists can be helpful since they provide more depth on the market problem and/or your solution.

The key goal here is to get their email address, so we can follow up with additional content that can move them closer to a purchase. It’s also important to not overdo it by sending them too much mail since we run the risk of appearing like spam.

Step 4 – New user
In this stage, we nudge the prospect to start using our solution. An effective approach here is to offer a free trial or a “freemium” version that allows them to “kick the tires” before making a full purchase. Even getting a small commitment is a win since it paves the way for a larger purchase down the road.

Here we focus on building excitement with useful tutorials and onboarding content that shows new customers how to get value quickly from our solution. Once they start using the product, they’re more receptive to an offer to upgrade to the full solution, sign a longer agreement, or expand its use to other areas of their business.

Step 5 – Happy user
Happy customers are usually our most profitable ones since they’re familiar with our solution, which makes them receptive to upsells and cross-sells. So after onboarding a new customer, we continue sharing product content we think would help them to get more use from it. A thoughtful series of how-to guides and tutorials works well here.

Unfortunately, many marketers stop creating content beyond the purchase stage, but that’s a bit short-sighted. It takes a little more work, but creating content for existing customers can go a long way in increasing revenue and growing your new venture.

Step 6 – Brand advocate
The final stage is turning happy users into advocates. If customers like us and our product, most are willing to share their experience with others, especially if we make it easy for them to do so. This is a great way to get new customers who need a little social proof to justify a decision of their own.

We know that product recommendations from people we trust are the best forms of advertising, and it doesn’t require that much. Most of us rely on customer reviews everyday when making our own purchases, so it makes sense that business buyers regularly use them too.

Conclusion
Yes, converting happy customers into advocates requires a little more marketing effort, but all it takes is creating simple content to help customers get more value from your product and delivering a great customer experience. Not only will this help strengthen your relationships with them, but doing so will likely lead to expanding your footprint and generating more sales as they delve deeper into your solution.

Responsible for building or evolving your new venture’s marketing program? Shoot us an email at win@280blue.com. We work with early-stage and high‑growth B2B technology companies to build category leaders, and we can help you too.