How to Turn Customers into Advocates... It’s all About ENGAGEMENT


Engaging with existing customers post-sale to boost retention and develop long-lasting relationships is often seen as a way to facilitate repeat business in the future.


But it does more than that. For those businesses that engage effectively with their customers following a sale, they could be transforming buyers into advocates; fans, who are willing to offer support for your brand.

They can then influence other people’s decision-making by sharing their experiences with your company by writing online reviews or referring their friends.


Enage with your existing customers to turn them into advocates


As we all know, the customer voice is becoming stronger and stronger. It’s reported that as many as 97% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase, so it’s clear that the customer voice matters.


The power of working together


The mistake that many companies are making today is that they’re trying to compete with the customer voice. They’re trying to shout the loudest – and they’re failing. Businesses should be using the customer voice alongside their own. Together, organisations and their customers can speak together to share a strong message.

Today’s businesses should be working to engage with existing customers – not just with potential customers. This is a way to derive the full value from the customer voice in a landscape dominated by influencers.

According to Deloitte’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, Diana O’Brien, “those doing it best are often seeing willing customer participants become brand ambassadors, influencers, advocates, collaborators, and even innovators, representing and driving brand participation in the marketplace.”


What exactly is an advocate?


An advocate is someone who, like you, wants to share a positive message about your brand, your products, or your services.

Unlike you, however, they’re not connected to your organisation in any way, other than being a customer or fan.

Advocates share their messages in a variety of different ways. Some might leave reviews on a company website, or through third-party review platforms.

Others might make ‘unboxing’ videos to share with their followers. Some might write about their experience on social media, or be willing to share your social content with their network. An advocate comes in many forms.

But whatever an advocate looks like, they can bring huge benefits and really help you with your growth marketing and digital presence. Some of the advantages to engaging with existing customers, developing stronger relationships, and nurturing them into brand advocates and influencers include:


  • Raising awareness of your brand across their existing network of followers, family and friends
  • Instilling trust in prospects who are unsure about whether to take the next step in the process
  • Providing peer-to-peer information that’s useful to prospects that businesses might not think about
  • Offering an alternative look at your products, services, or brand through the eyes of a customer
  • Acting as social proof that your business is capable of achieving what you say it can
  • Giving valuable customer insight that can help you optimise your efforts in the future


Turn your customers into fans


How to turn customers into advocates - it’s all about engagement


Can unengaged customers advocate for your brand? It’s possible.

If a customer has had an absolutely amazing experience through the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of their journey, they may feel keen to share their views even without a post-sales engagement strategy. But the fact is that, in most cases, you’ll need to take a proactive role in engaging and encouraging customers to advocate.

Do you encourage customers to give you Google reviews? Or make it easy to share their review online?

If you don’t already have a presence on third-party review platforms – or you haven’t yet enabled review functionality on your own website – then that’s the natural starting point.

While it can sometimes feel awkward to ask your customers for a favour, remember that you’re not the only one to do it. Customers have grown accustomed to this, and, according to research, around 70% will leave a review when asked.

If you really don’t want to reach out to customers directly and ask for a review, there are alternatives. Remember that a review doesn’t always have to look like a review.

By starting discussions on social media, you can gain more organic peer-generated content that can have a similar overall effect.  

You might also feel more comfortable asking for a review or a referral if you give your customer something in return; a reward for their actions.

Has your business got a referral reward scheme for customers who recommend your products or services? If not, consider offering rewards such as money off their next purchase, free gated content, or early access to new features in your next update.


The sales wheel


It’s often called the ‘sales funnel’, but the truth is it’s more of a wheel.

An engaged customer never drops out; they stay at the bottom of the funnel to influence those at the top, creating a never-ending wheel. Having customers on your side matters.

An engaged customer is the social proof you need to help your prospects transition through the funnel – or the wheel – more seamlessly, leading to more conversions.


Take our free test to understand how your offers measure up to drive lead generation and sales growth for your products and services.


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