Advocacy: the most coveted stage of the customer journey. If you can stroll hand in hand with a customer into the halcyon days of advocacy, you’ve achieved the ultimate marketing victory.
Brand advocates and influencers are some of your most powerful assets. Nielsen’s most recent “Global Trust in Advertising” report shows that 83% of B2C consumers trust recommendations from family and friends when making a purchase decision, and according to the “2017 State of Inbound” marketing report, word of mouth is the most trusted source of product information among B2B buyers. Needless to say, having your customers on your side is good business sense.
By now, “influencer marketing” is a term most marketers are familiar with. Influencer marketing seeks out customers so passionate about a brand that they take to social media and other digital channels to talk about it. This then empowers and amplifies those voices to reach a larger audience.
“Okay,” you may be thinking, “but how does this help me with email marketing?” Here are two brands that have leveraged the voices of brand advocates and influencers to elevate the effectiveness of their email experiences.
Specializing in low-carbohydrate options, Dreamfields is one of the fastest-growing pasta brands in the country. The brand’s success, at least in part, can be attributed to its eagerness to leverage the voices of its most loyal customers. A good example of this is its annual Pastapalooza event.
Here’s a quick tip: If a brand is aligned with a cause, this makes it easy for people to get behind it, especially with the rise of the conscious consumer. Every year, Dreamfields teams up with its brand fans to hold a Garden Fresh Basket Challenge to raise money for local food banks. Brand advocates and food bloggers are invited to submit recipes, and winners receive a donation made to a local food bank in their name.
In its fifth year, 25 food bloggers contributed recipes, more than 20,000 Dreamfields customers cast votes, and 44,000 people engaged on social. The campaign generated a rush of traffic to the website and a wave of new email subscribers.
Dreamfields also makes it a standard practice to invite subscribers to share every email they receive with their own networks of pasta-loving people. Since the products are low in carbohydrates, the brand appeals to a wide audience, including those who are especially health conscious or have diabetes.
DonorsChoose.org is a nonprofit that helps teachers raise money for projects in their classrooms. Too often, public school teachers have to dig into their own pockets to pay for the supplies and materials students need to participate in activities and projects. DonorsChoose.org has a goal to alleviate this burden by giving teachers a platform to crowdfund for projects, instead of paying for them themselves. Teachers can set up projects and set financial goals.
Once brand fans subscribe to receive DonorsChoose.com emails, they are sent links to projects from teachers in their local school systems. Brand fans can then choose which projects to donate to directly. DonorsChoose.org also partners with other brands like Warby Parker and regional retail centers to run fundraising campaigns and spread its message to a wider audience. With this model, DonorsChoose.org has become one of the most successful crowdfunding initiatives operating today, and advocates are some of the brand’s most effective ambassadors.
To date, DonorsChoose.org has:
Helped 20,013,045 students
Funded 314,543 teachers for 793,901 projects at 71,494 schools
Earned 2,317,450 supporters
For the 2016–2017 school year, DonorsChoose.org projects that 20% of the $75 million it expects to raise will come directly from email. DonorsChoose.org uses Marketing Cloud to automate the crowdfunding process, bringing together brand fans and teachers and giving them a voice.
Check out the rest of the video series from Joel Book, Senior Director of Digital Marketing Insight at Salesforce.