3 Steps to Activating Brand Advocates that Boost Your Reach With the B2B Customer Journey

Author: Whitney Koch

In today's competitive business landscape, the role of brand advocates cannot be underestimated. They are the unsung heroes of your marketing strategy, capable of supercharging your reach and boosting conversions. 

And when you successfully activate brand advocates, you help your business reach new heights. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through three essential steps to identify, build relationships with, and nurture brand advocates who will champion your business.

The Power of Brand Advocates for B2B Businesses

Brand advocates are your most loyal customers, clients, or industry influencers who appreciate your products or services and actively promote them. They can significantly impact your revenue and reputation. You don’t want to neglect ongoing engagement, fail to provide value, or not measure the impact of advocates’ influence.

Understanding the B2B Customer Journey

Before we dive into how to activate brand advocates, we have to talk about the B2B customer journey. The customer journey is the path your customers take, starting from when they first become aware of your brand and ending at the point where they have become loyal brand advocates. Here are the five typical stages of the customer journey:

  • Awareness: Potential customers become aware of your brand and your offerings
  • Consideration: Customers aware of your solution are evaluating all their options to meet their need
  • Action: Customers have completed the desired action, like making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a lead magnet
  • Experience: Post-purchase, you are connecting with and nurturing these new customers with your customer service
  • Advocacy: Satisfied customers become loyal advocates who promote your brand

Identifying and Activating Brand Advocates

Step 1: Identify Potential Brand Advocates

Get started by creating a detailed profile of your ideal customer advocate. This profile should be built around the experience and feedback of your satisfied customers, loyal clients, and referrals. What traits, behaviors, or characteristics make someone an excellent advocate for your brand? Look for individuals or organizations in alignment with your ideal advocate’s persona. 

Influencer marketing isn’t just for B2C companies–don’t underestimate its power for B2B! This marketing tactic involves partnering with online content creators to promote your product or service. When done well, B2B influencer marketing raises awareness for your brand and generates sales leads. In fact, 72% of B2B marketers say influencer marketing improves their brand reputation. Here are the primary goals B2B companies hope to achieve with influencer marketing, according to a recent survey from Statista:

  1. Increase brand awareness 
  2. Demand generation
  3. Build trust
  4. Education 
  5. Lead nurturing

Your list of current customers is often the best place to find B2B influencer marketing creators to promote your brand. There’s a good chance that businesses that use your product or service have at least one executive team member or employee who uses social media. Send them a message and see if you can come up with a mutually beneficial collaboration. 

Don’t forget to leverage tools and strategies to identify potential brand advocates. Customer feedback, surveys and social media listening are ideal for this. We recommend using your customer relationship management (CRM) software to track and categorize potential advocates.

Step 2: Build Strong Relationships with Advocates

Every business thrives on positive word-of-mouth and credibility. For B2B companies, brand advocates can amplify this tenfold. Brand advocates are die-hard fans who love your brand enough to voluntarily tell other people about it. This credibility can translate to greater trust, faster sales cycles, and increased revenue. 

To attract potential advocates, consider offering perks like access to exclusive content, discounts on future purchases, or early access to new products or services. Providing value upfront encourages them to engage more deeply with your brand. 

Personalization goes a long way! Craft personalized content like emails to highlight their specific contributions and how they’ve positively impacted your brand. Tailor your communication to each advocate’s preferences. Address them by name, reference past interactions, and make them feel seen and appreciated.

Step 3: Nurture Advocates for Long-Term Engagement

Continual communication is key to keeping advocates engaged. Share updates, industry insights and relevant news to keep the lines of communication open. Recognizing their contributions fosters a sense of community and belonging. Show appreciation for their ongoing support. 

Implement loyalty programs, awards, and public recognition to reward your advocates for their efforts. Create a referral program that offers advocates incentives for referring new business clients. 

Make it easy for brand advocates to sing your praises by giving them tools and resources to promote your brand. This could include shareable content, social media graphics, or even training sessions where they learn how to share messaging on your behalf. 

To measure the success and ROI of your efforts, track key metrics such as customer referral rates, social media engagement, and advocacy-generated leads.

The Future of Brand Advocacy in B2B Marketing

The digital landscape is ever-evolving, which means the role of brand advocacy in B2B marketing will continue to change. As trends and technologies emerge, there will be new opportunities for advocacy. 

Stay attuned to emerging platforms and technologies like TikTok. While it may seem unconventional for B2B, it offers unique ways to engage and capture the attention of a broader audience. You can also use it to identify and connect with micro-influencers in your industry. Micro-influencers often have niche audiences of highly engaged followers who can be valuable advocates for your brand. 

Keep in mind that brand advocacy is an ongoing strategy. Make sure your marketing prioritizes the advocacy stage with your satisfied customers and industry influencers. By following the three essential steps—identifying potential advocates, building solid relationships, and nurturing advocates—you can unlock their full potential. You don’t want this opportunity to improve your reach and grow your credibility to pass you by! 

If you need help creating a marketing plan for your customer journey visit our Resources section to learn about Cultivating Great Customer Journeys with Your Website, or head over to our Contact form to get in touch. We’re here to help you lead your prospects through the buying journey and maximize your business growth.