Presenting the golden rule of advocacy marketing: the more quality advocates you drive into your advocacy marketing program, the greater its ROI. Any advocacy marketing program manager will tell you that ongoing efforts to support advocate recruitment are one of the most important aspects to maintaining a successful advocacy marketing program. But where does a program manager find these advocates? Each industry has its own unique opportunities to reach advocates; today we’re sharing our top channels for driving quality recruits into a retail-focused advocacy marketing program.
Advocacy Marketing Programs: Perfect For Driving Retail Sales
Before diving into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a step back and discuss what makes advocacy marketing so effective for retailers.
Retail advocacy marketing programs can have a huge impact on driving sales. Recommendations from a friend or family members are 50-times more likely to trigger a purchase. What’s more, 67% of marketers are giving credit to influencer and advocate marketing campaigns for helping their marketing messages reach their target demographic. (To learn more about the mechanics of an advocacy marketing program, check out our blog post on Advocacy Marketing 101.)
The Importance Of Targeting Quality Recruits
As a best practice, you want to focus less on the sheer number of recruits coming into your program, and more on the quality of those recruits. Sure, a big number of members might look impressive to both you and your stakeholders, but unless most of those advocates are sharing your content, there won’t be a correlating impact.
Target your retail advocacy marketing recruitment efforts to channels that drive quality recruits, users that:
- Are already familiar with your retail brand
- Are more socially active than your average customer
- Work hard to foster a social presence that elevates their social image
- Is motivated to share because of their love of your retail brand and their desire to grow their influence within their social media network – not necessarily by shiny prizing
So where do these quality recruits live? And how do you get them into your program?
Five Ways To Drive Retail Advocate Recruitment
Your Physical Retail Location
Retailers have the unique opportunity to drive recruits into their advocacy marketing program through their physical store. Whether you’re a smaller mom-and-pop operation or a larger retail chain, your store is the perfect place to start recruiting for your advocacy marketing program.
Place program signage in key locations around your store, like doors, windows, cash registers, customer service, and other high-traffic locations. Be sure to communicate the benefits of your advocate program to your customer, (i.e. being invited to early shopping experiences, first to know new sales, etc.) and include information on how to join the program. Consider offering a same-day discount to your customers that sign up for your program on the spot.
For retailers that want to kick their advocate recruitment into overdrive, consider setting up a recruitment station on your counter to allow people to sign up during checkout. A tablet with your program’s home page pulled up is a simple and effective way to put this strategy into place.
Your Social Media Pages
Do you pride yourself on your retailer’s Facebook page? Do you consistently find your posts getting repinned, hashtagged, and shared? Then it’s time to leverage your social media star power to start driving recruits into your store’s program. After all, if your fans are already sharing your social media posts, they’re likely to also share other content pieces distributed through your advocacy marketing efforts.
In working with hundreds of retailers over the years, we’ve discovered a few different social media recruitment audiences:
Join When Made Aware
There are some advocates that will join your program the second they hear about it (you lucky dog, you). To recruit these individuals, simply share announcements about the program regularly to your social media pages and include a link to the program. Be sure to share these messages on an ongoing basis, as it will take exposure to multiple posts to ensure your entire audience is aware of your program.
Join When It Benefits Them
Simple human nature at play here. There are advocates on your social media channel that can’t wait to join your program, as long as they understand what they get out of becoming your advocate. For these advocates, you want to clearly communicate your program incentives. Are you giving away weekly or monthly prizes? Free merchandise? Exclusive discounts? Tell your social channels and ask them to join for access to these great benefits.
Join When They See Others Doing It
This audience wants to join, but they don’t want to be the first to join. They want to see and learn from the experience of advocates who are already in your program. To hit these advocates, you want to share posts that highlight the actions of other advocates. Public shout-outs, prize winner spotlights, and promoting user-generated content are all excellent ways to help trigger the FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) in these audiences.
Your Email Lists
Take everything we wrote above for social media and apply it to your email lists. Great job!
Depending on the size of your lists (and the data you collect), consider writing personal notes to your customers on your list that have incredibly high open rates. These are your fans that never miss an email, click through every link and share your content with their friends.
Your Paid Media Efforts
Sometimes organic reach isn’t going to be enough to drive advocates at the critical mass you need to succeed. After all, the death of organic reach on social is one of the many problems advocacy marketing helps to solve. Many retailers find recruitment success by putting a bit of money behind their recruitment efforts. Facebook ads, in particular, can be a low-cost channel for driving recruits.
To help maximize your dollars, consider tiering the audiences you target:
Tier 1: People that like your page and engage with your posts
Tier 2: Custom audiences built off your email marketing lists and site remarketing
Tier 3: Demographically targeted audiences based on your key target demo
Pro Tip: For each audience, be sure to create a custom link to help you measure the effectiveness and cost of your paid recruitment efforts. SocialToaster makes it easy for your retailer to make custom, trackable recruitment links. Not only does our system allow you to make links from within your client dashboard, it also automatically keeps track of the number of clicks that link receives and the number of advocates that join through your unique URL.
Your Other Advocates
We admit it, we’re stealing this tactic from some of our more successful retail advocate customers. Why? Because it’s brilliant!
Take your recruitment efforts to the next level by holding private, advocacy-only events at your retail location. We’ve seen retailers hold champagne-rich private sales, exclusive fashion shows, and even intimate concerts from local musicians.
Advocates “win” the opportunity to attend these events by participating in your advocacy marketing program. They are then invited to bring a few friends with them as part of the invite, provided those friends join the advocacy marketing program prior to showing up at the event.
Not only does this tactic help to exponentially increase the size of your advocate membership. It also provides a clear motivation for the new advocate to participate in the program moving forward.
For retailers, advocacy marketing can be a powerful tool for generating store awareness, foot traffic, and revenue. By focusing on recruiting quality advocates, you can maximize the reach and impact of your advocacy marketing efforts.
Ready to get started with your own advocacy marketing program? Back-to-school season is just around the corner; now’s the perfect time to launch your advocacy marketing program. Schedule a free demo with an expert SocialToaster strategist today!