In this article in ecommerce-guide.com, writer Vangie Beal talks about the importance of creating awareness through brand advocates. But I think there are so many opportunities to tap into brand advocates on a number of fronts for entrepreneurial retailers and small businesses.
First off, you have to identify the groups of people that
are potential brand advocates and then figure out how to tap into them. For retailers, it’s going to take a little more of a grass-roots effort to create brand advocates.
Here are some thoughts about how to create brand advocates:
Offer your top 10 or 20 customers a free gift. You’d be
amazed at how far this takes your store and your customers’ perceptions of it.
Make sure the gift is branded so every time they use it they are
reminded of you. I once received a
Hugo Boss duffel bag. The logo is
done in a black tone on the black bag so it’s noticeable, but not intrusive. I
still use the bag and think of the store every time.
Community or business leaders
Hold an open house for chamber of commerce members or
community leaders. Offer lite
food, refreshments and a 20% discount.
Get the word out at the next meeting and make sure you ask for and R.S.V.P.
Social climbers/social influencers
Donating a gift basket or gift certificate for the silent
auction at the next big charity event will ensure your name gets in front of
the who’s who of your city. And
one lucky socialite will visit your store. Make sure to knock them dead so they tell all their friends.
Your employees should be your biggest brand advocates.Offering employees a huge discount isn’t the way to go as Beal suggests. If you’re creating the right culture
and offering a decent discount, employees should be taking advantage of that discount
AND be a brand advocate simply because they work there. You can sweeten the pot by offering free services for
employees so they can experience more of your store. When
I worked in the beauty business, we gave every employee a free hair service and
a free facial. What better way to
get employees to talk up the store, the stylists and the estheticians.
Other businesses in your neighborhood
Just like you held an open house for community and business
leaders, hold another one for all the employees of the other establishments in
your neighborhood. And give them a
great discount too. Chances are,
not only will they become shoppers themselves, but will help spread the word
about your store whenever they’re asked.
How are you creating postive word of mouth using brand
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