You know how they say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?
Well, customer marketers don’t believe that. To gain your customers love and then lose their attention is too hard to accept.
Katie Yeigh, customer marketing program senior specialist for Data.com, knows all about trying to build long-term customer relationships. She recently presented an AdvocateHub Class about re-gaining interest from unengaged customer advocates. Watch the recording or read on below to get Katie’s tips for keeping advocates hooked on your programs.
Act I: Creating lots of customer love
The Data.com Ohana advocate marketing program started with a bang. It launched in 2014 with a big Dreamforce campaign.
“We tied our launch to a major event that people were excited about,” says Katie. “We wanted to give our top customers the best Dreamforce ever.”
Data.com gave its advocates an amazing experience by:
1. Making it personal. Katie asked advocates to recommend a San Francisco coffee shop. Once she had this information, she placed gift cards to each advocate’s favorite coffee shop in their Dreamforce welcome baskets. She also included a personalized handwritten note that thanked them for attending.
“We received a lot of positive feedback on this surprise,” says Katie. “Our advocates particularly loved the hand-written notes.”
2. Making it manageable. Dreamforce is a massive event with 1,500 sessions over four days. Katie wanted to make the event more “bite-sized” for her advocates.
To do this, she recommended specific events, sessions and parties for each advocate to attend. Katie also encouraged advocates to get to know each other. For example, she posted a challenge that asked advocates what they forgot to pack when they attended Dreamforce last year. This sparked a lot of interesting conversations.
3. Making it fun and competitive. Many of the Ohana community members are sales, marketing and IT pros who are very competitive. Katie likes to encourage competition through contests and challenges. For example, the advocate who earned the most points during the Dreamforce campaign won a VIP experience with a limo ride to the gala and backstage passes to the concert.
Throughout the Dreamforce campaign, Katie never took her eyes off her top goals—getting more customer references, case studies and testimonials. By engaging customers around the event in fun ways, and putting advocacy asks alongside these activities, the Dreamforce campaign resulted in:
- A 44% increase in customers who were willing to provide references
- 31 new customers who were willing to speak at live events on behalf of Data.com
- 7 new case studies
- 3 new customer success story videos
Data.com even won a BAMMIE Award for “Best Advocate Experience.” But then…
Act II: The thrill is gone
There comes a time in every relationship when you stop trying to impress each other and slide into a routine that’s familiar…and boring.
“After our initial big wins, we rested on our laurels,” says Katie.
After Dreamforce, advocates stopped engaging with each other and with the Data.com team. Katie thinks this is because Data.com didn’t post enough challenges in the hub. “Our advocates would return to the hub daily or weekly, but they didn’t see anything new or interesting,” says Katie. “So they lost interest and stopped engaging with us.”
In addition, Data.com’s highly competitive advocates didn’t have anything to reach for. The Ohana community had four levels, with Big Kahuna at the top. However, most advocates reached this level during Dreamforce and didn’t have anywhere else to go. The community also lacked achievement badges that advocates could earn after they completed specific tasks.
Act III: “Is it something we said?”
About six months after Dreamforce, Data.com ran an April Showers campaign to bring back its lost advocates. For this campaign, Katie added 60 new challenges to the Ohana AdvocateHub.
“You may think that it’s hard to come up with 60 challenges,” says Katie. “But if you work with other teams, they can give you lots of ideas and content for challenges.”
Data.com offered lapsed advocates 200 points—which is a large sum—to come back to the hub. They also asked advocates why they weren’t active. Katie not only learned that the Ohana hub didn’t have enough challenges, but that the mix of challenges also wasn’t right.
To start boosting engagement, Katie emailed advocates an invite to return to the hub.
“I used to be nervous about sending out notifications, as I didn’t want to spam our advocates,” says Katie. “But now we send out a notification once a week. Even the most engaging hub isn’t engaging if advocates don’t know it’s there.”
Data.com also re-engaged advocates by:
- Running a contest where whoever earned the most points in two weeks would have their points doubled
- Adding a new level—King Kahuna—which no one has reached yet (but the Ohana members are striving to attain it)
- Giving advocates badges when they complete tasks such as doing reference calls
- Hiding Easter eggs in the hub. The first three advocates who found the eggs won prizes
“Many of our prizes come from our swag stash,” says Katie. “Our advocates like our swag, and we can offer them goodies without spending a lot of budget.”
Act IV: Everlasting advocate love
The April Showers campaign enabled Data.com to re-engage many of its inactive advocates. Katie didn’t want to lose these advocates again, so she came up with ways to keep them engaged.
First, Katie adds three or four new challenges to the hub every week. This keeps the hub fresh and gives advocates more things to do.
She also uses fun challenges to bring advocates to the hub. However, once they are in the hub, they prefer educational challenges to make the best use of their time, so she provides those, too.
Finally, Katie offers more badges and levels, so the competitive Ohana advocates have things to work towards.
“We have peaks and valleys in our engagement,” says Katie. “But we always have a core group of advocates who are steadily engaged, and our members have been increasing over time.”
After the initial Dreamforce campaign, Data.com had about 100 advocates. As a result of Katie’s re-engagement tactics, the Ohana community now has 200 advocates.
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As someone who, more than a decade ago, co-pioneered in helping organizations understand the drivers of customer advocacy behavior (http://docslide.us/documents/wragg-lowenstein-customer-advocacy.html), your post confuses me. How can one be an “inactive advocate”? By the very definition of advocacy, a person with these traits must be an active amplifier. For those who have diminished their vocal support and involvement, a different definition needs to be identified.