Business owners will be the first to tell you how difficult it can be to effectively market new clients. What can be even more difficult, yet also more rewarding, is turning your clients into brand advocates. In doing so, you solidify them as clients for the long term as they come back to you for future events, while reaping the rewards of additional sales through trust, referrals, and positive reviews.
With the importance of brand advocacy now in mind, let’s look at four ways your business can increase the number of advocates it has.
Establish a referral program
Giving satisfied clients an incentive, often financial, to refer your product/service to others can be a quick and simple way to increase advocacy. One key within this strategy, which is often overlooked, is to establish an incentive for both the referrer and the referee. Often times you will find businesses that incentivize the referrer, but will lack in providing additional motivation for the person whom they are referring.
For example, if I give existing clients $50 for each friend they refer to us for their big day, I still need to add additional motivation for that new client. If I were to also offer the new client a free toss bouquet or bathroom arrangement for booking, the offer becomes much more enticing. Plus, existing client may feel more comfortable recommending the product/service to others if they know that they are providing value.
Ask for feedback
Constantly seeking open, honest feedback on your business can serve as a way to assist your business both short and long term. In the short term feedback can aid in increasing advocacy by making clients have their voices heard. More importantly, feedback proves vital for the longevity of your business as well because it allows you to accurately identify both your strengths and weaknesses. Allowing, and even incentivizing, your current clients to evaluate their experience with your business can cement their feeling of importance. Plus, it's a million times better to get their feedback through the process and mitigate any issues that may arise quickly, rather than waiting for a review that may be much less than five-stars.
Create their proposal on-the-spot
These days, clients are expecting everything to be delivered instantaneously, and their floral proposal is no exception. Unfortunately, many florists will take 1-2 weeks to create a proposal after they've completed a consultation. By creating a floral proposal during the consultation, you're able to meet and exceed their expectations, which means that potential clients will book with you quicker and be more likely to recommend you to their friends.
Acts of kindness are never a bad idea, but the timing of them can impact effectiveness. For example, let’s say on Mother’s Day that a mother receives a beautiful bouquet from her child. While the gesture is certainly appreciated, the mother knew there was an increasingly good chance of something happening due to the fact that it was Mother’s Day. Now, imagine that instead of it being Mother’s Day, it was a random Monday. The mother in this example would be blown away by her child’s gift! By offering a random act of kindness, regardless of its financial value, you enhance the chances of your current clients raving about your business in their online review. The team at Curate heard of one florist who would throw in a special gift for the happy couple at their hotel room. Their clients always loved that final touch!
Say “Thank you”
It is always nice to be thanked for any contribution you make. The same goes for clients who contribute towards your business’ revenue. My personal favorite way of doing this is to send a simple hand-written thank you note. While the thank you always makes the client feel appreciated, the fact that someone took time out of their day to hand-written a note makes the act more personal and impactful, resulting in stronger advocacy.
A more creative way could be combining a hand-written note with a small gift such as a goody bag, which would add in the surprise element. For example, say a bride chose your business for her upcoming wedding. How reassuring would it be if, a week later, she received a short, hand-written note in the mail accompanied by a small gift card to the local coffee shop near her. In doing so, the chances of her telling all of her friends and family about the happiness your floristry brought her increases, even before her big day.
When you turn your clients into advocates, the potential rewards for your business are truly endless. Be sure to add these five tips into your standard practices to ensure that your clients are continuously telling all of their friends about how you happy you made them!