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The dreaded New Year’s sales slump. Whether you’re a B2B or consumer-focused brand, most businesses have experienced it. People spend, spend, spend during Q4 (whether it’s for holiday gift giving or last-minute tax-reduction investments), leaving them overextended, tired, and broke when Q1 hits. You don’t have to let this little bump in the road ruin your 2019 outlook though. Here to save the day is advocacy marketing, helping you drive Q1 sales and power through post-holiday slump into a new year of revenue growth and increased profitability.

 

What’s Different About Advocacy Marketing?

You’re probably wondering, “What’s so great about advocacy marketing? What are the other marketing tactics missing?”

For one, advocacy marketing is different than your standard social media marketing. In an advocacy marketing program, your biggest fans are sharing your content to their personal social channels. This allows you to work around Facebook’s organic reach (killing) algorithm and increase visibility on your content without constantly boosting and promoting posts.

Social customers are paying customers. Customers that come to your brand from a social media site are four-times as likely to spend more than customers that convert through other mediums. If that doesn’t impress you then this might: brands achieve a 129% customer conversion rate when that first visit from a new customer comes from a social channel.

So how does advocacy marketing have such a powerful effect on consumers?

It’s not only about the marketing program with all the right colors, wording or imagery. It’s about utilizing the most important marketable factor you can have between you and your consumers: trust92% of people trust a product or service if the recommendation came from someone they know. Building trust is what makes advocacy marketing such a powerful tool.

 

What is an Advocate?

So, who are your advocates? Or, more importantly, what is an advocate? 

Your advocates are your biggest fans! They’re the people who love to talk about you, share content about you, and create content on your behalf. These individuals feel a genuine connection to your brand and they want to share that connection with an average of 400 of their closest friends and family online. You might even be an advocate yourself and you didn’t even realize it. Any time you engage with a brand online, you’re effectively advocating for them.

So how can you use fan advocacy to your advantage to drive Q1 sales and avoid a slump in 2019?

 

5 Ways To Use Your Advocates To Drive Q1 Sales

1) Get Your Advocates Involved in Generating Content

You’ve probably spent your best efforts and last dollars creating incredible holiday marketing materials. Now that Q1 is here, the wells have run dry and you’re scrambling for some new ideas for effective mid-January campaigns.

Don’t freak out! With an advocacy marketing program you can tap into the content-creating might of your biggest fans!

93% of consumers say that user-generated content (UGC) is helpful in the purchasing decision process – which is important during a time when people are hesitant to spend money. What makes UGC so successful? It’s the fact that there’s so much transparency in the content. Most people don’t believe what brands and big companies say, but they do believe their friends, families, and favorite bloggers.

Pro Tip: Managing everything that comes along with user-generated content can take some serious people-power. Ditch the spreadsheets and opt for a third-party platform (like SocialToaster) precisely designed to make this task as simple as possible. SocialToaster is an award-winning platform that helps big and small brands alike manage their advocacy marketing programs so marketers can focus on creating engaging content, contests, and UGC opportunities.

2) Review Your Past Content Mix

A little self-reflection never hurt anyone. Use this downtime to review your past year’s content mix. What were your strengths? Weaknesses? What opportunities did you capitalize on or miss out on this year? What content should you create more of?

Google Analytics can tell you a lot, as can Facebook Insights, but no reflection period is complete without hearing some first-hand feedback from your fan base. Review your comments, shares, and likes to see what hit and what missed. If you’re utilizing an advocacy marketing program, you can use polls to ask your advocates what they content they enjoyed and what content they want to see more of in the new year. Use these insights to create content that not only resonates with your current fanbase but also speaks to future customers. Thankfully, the SocialToaster platform has built-in polling functionality to make it easy to poll and tally your advocates.

3) Don’t Let Great Content Die on the Shelf

Just because you published something last year doesn’t mean it doesn’t have worth this or next year! Comb through what you published this year for “evergreen” content, or content pieces that worked well this year and plan to re-share it 8-16 months from now.

Use your advocates to share (or re-share) evergreen content pieces with their social network, reminding them what value your evergreen content has. At the same time, consider allocating 5-10% of your Q1 marketing budget to sponsoring high-worth social content posts.

4) Empower Your Audience with Knowledge

Everyone loves to learn something new. You know, in case you’re ever on Jeopardy and need a random fact to win. 

Did you know that the average quarterly customer churn rate for subscription services of physical goods is 10.6% and for digital service subscriptions is 8.2%? Many brands and consumers use the new year as an opportunity to take stock of their current bills and cancel services that no longer provide them value.

The most efficient way to reduce churn rate is to ensure your customers understand your product or service and find value in their subscription. Your fans are likely excited by news about your company, as well as industry news and hot new developments. Empower and support your customers by creating content that better educates them.

Then, share that content with your advocates and ask them to help spread that educational content to potential new customers within their social networks. This double-whammy of content consumption not only keeps your current customers educated, but it also helps to show off your community and customer support skills to potential customers.

5) Host an Event

But market it as a sale. Not every event needs to have a venue, caterer, and entertainment. For example, every year Victoria’s Secret hosts an event called “The Semi-Annual Sale Event”. There are no caterers. There are no DJs. There’s not even a singular place the event is happening – it happens across all store locations in the form of discounted product and freebie giveaways.

Events can be powerful revenue drivers. 98% of people are more likely to buy a product after attending an event activation? That’s because events offer individuals the opportunity to form an in-person connection with your brand, product or service. Use the downtime in people’s Q1 schedules to your advantage by hosting a fun event to bring them to your brick-and-mortar store or online. Then use your advocates to help promote the event to their friends and family.

Start Q1 Off with The Right Team

If you’re still worried about how you’re going to make Q1 a success, we’ve got you covered. SocialToaster can help you manage a successful advocacy marketing program that can help drive Q1 sales and engagement goals. Email or give us a call us at 855.62.TOAST today. We’ll get you set up with a free demo of the SocialToaster platform so you can start capitalizing on your most passionate customers before the holidays settle in.