December 07, 2013 by
A brand advocate is a person, or customer who talks favorably about a brand or product, and then passes on positive word-of-mouth (WOM) messages to other people.
According to Forrester, Zuberance and an infographic from Jay Baer (below), the influence of brand advocates accounts for billions of dollars in purchases for everything from cars to computers, hotel rooms, movies, enterprise software, and more. Brand advocates are:
- 5X more valuable than average customers
- Spend at least 2X as much as average customers
- Spend 3X as much as average customers over their lifetime of their relationship with a company or brand
- Reach 150 people in social media every time they advocate for a product or service
- 92% of consumers trust brand advocates
Do brand advocates generate return on investment for brands? Here are 10 case studies that prove the ROI of brand advocates.
- AMERICAN EXPRESS: To promote small business credit cards, American Express created a social media community for small business owners to share, learn and grow. They also created a holiday, Small Business Saturday. The community has 2,700,000+ Likes, 195,000 Tweets and American Express saw a +23% increase in transactions to small business merchants.
- CARS.COM: encouraged rating, reviews and sharing (versus no ratings, reviews and sharing) and it showed that pages that had ratings and reviews had a 16% higher rate of conversion and a 100% higher rate of traffic through to dealer’s sites.
- DUANE READE: A drugstore chain with 250 location in New York and New Jersey, used a VIP Blogger Team generating content via their own social platforms, DR-QR code landing page, blogs, and Google+, in addition to traditional PR tactics. The utilization of celebrity bloggers from daytime shows and one-hour Twitter parties created over 20 million impressions. From over 2000 pieces of original content, there was a 28% lift in year-over-year sales and a 5x ROI.
- FOLICA: A well-known retailer of health and beauty products, noticed they had many referrals to their website, but had no way of tracking and identifying these referrals. By engaging their customers and encouraging them to share the secrets of great hair, customers were able to share via Facebook, Twitter, email and personalized urls. After 30 days of running the new Social Referral Program, 6,000 brand advocates were identified. The average number of shares per advocate was four. 21,000 shares had been generated via Facebook, Twitter and email and a 16% conversion rate was driven by the program.
- J. HILBURN: A retail brand which was receiving many referrals from existing satisfied customers. By offering customers $50 for each friend referred and encouraging the advocates to share the offer using social media, brand advocates were identified and rewarded. Any referred customer who spent over $100 received a $50 discount on their purchase. After 45 days of running the new program, 1,000 customers had made referrals. Averaging 12 shares per advocate, the referral program produced 10,000 social shares via Facebook, Twitter and email. The bottom line result was 600 transactions which created over $250,000 in sales.
- ROKU: specializes in streaming entertainment devices for television. With 1,000,000+ units already sold, they tapped their existing and large user database into a source of acquisition. Sales increased 30% and the number of monthly referrals is now around 10,000 per month.
- SENDGRID, a cloud-based e-mail provider, contained a simple offer for existing customers which could be shared socially. The offer was made to existing customers to share referral links. This meant that when any of their referred friends became new paying customers of SendGrid, they would receive $20 cash and the referred customer would also receive a 25% discount on their first three months. SendGrid achieved a 111% ROI after six months of running thel program and a 353% ROI projected for the first year of the program.
- STARBUCKS: Since 2008, MyStarbuckIdea.com has been advocate-driven idea tank where Starbucks drinkers submit ideas for new products and coffee concoctions. It has worked as a hub for all Starbucks customers to share all their ideas, suggestion and even their frustration. “We used to launch a new product and it cost millions of dollars. Now, when we launch a new product, we already have millions of fans,” say Chris Bruzzo, Vice President Brand, Content and Online at Starbucks.
- SUBWAY: Sponsored the “Slim Down Challenge,” a live speaking event consisting of some of America’s hottest speakers and celebrities. Its mission was to travel from city to city across America delivering powerhouse information that challenged your mind, heart, and waistline. They used social technologies and promotion apps to raise awareness of the Slim Down Challenge and recruit speakers. The strategy included a social competition. This was part of a full marketing strategy for the campaign. They found that 71% of site traffic that went to the registration page, came directly from Facebook.
- WALMART: Has 34,000.000+ fans, more than any other brand on any social platform. They also have more than 385,000 followers. They post 6 to 7 times per day. They engage with fans, regularly. Last year, on Black Friday, Walmart received 62,000 posts from consumers, a rate of 42 per minute. The engagement with consumers who spread the work is getting a “marketing equivalent” of 10X return-on-investment (ROI) compared to other advertising spends according to CMO, Stephen Quinn.
These case studies cover brands big and small, B2C and B2B and show brand advocates can be found for any business if you look for them. Do they convince you of the ROI of brand advocates?
To learn more about the ROI of social media marketing, download the ebook, 166 Case Studies Prove ROI of Social Media Marketing (80,000+ people have). It’s free on the sidebar or join our email list and have case studies like these delivered to you.
Did these case studies on the ROI of brand advocates teach something new.
November 23, 2013 by
LinkedIn sent a “Happy Work Anniversary” last week. It had been 5 years since this company, BarnRaisers, began.
After being surprised by how fast time flew, I thought about the journey; First, the failures and lean times; then, successes (gratefully), good people who build your company (through trial and error) and the achievement of milestones (most unexpected). After a short moment of reflection, I wondered: what happens from here?
Is this familiar to you? If you’ve ever started something and seen it through, it probably is. In my case, after a good number of years working at big ad agencies, I started a digital marketing agency and decided to see it through too.
One lesson learned, when you start a company, unlearn what you learned working at big companies. Much of it won’t apply. Here are 6 lessons I unlearned.
- PEOPLE DON’T PAY FOR HOW WELL YOU MANAGE THEIR BUSINESS ANYMORE; THEY PAY FOR ROI: When I worked at big ad agencies, I worked on brands that had advertising and marketing budgets. I once had a boss who said: “Treat your client’s money like it’s your own.” At the time, I thought it was great advice. But what happens when no one gives you money to manage. Instead, you have to convince someone why they should invest in you. This changes the dialogue to return on investment (ROI). It’s a much healthier conversation.
- DON’T SHOW UP WITH A TEAM; SHOW UP WITH A STRATEGY: In many big ad agency new business pitch decks, you’re likely to find a picture of “Your Team” near the end. It is usually about 10 to 30 people. It’s intent is to demonstrate the depth and breath of resources to be applied against your business . Now, I know pictures like this scare people. Who wants a big team they have to learn what they do and wonder why they should pay for them? Your clients want to know the person or two they can rely on to deliver and execute a business strategy – and immediately get on the phone if something is not working.
- RELATIONSHIPS DON’T COME WITH BENEFITS; BUT SHARED VALUES: Big companies emphasize why they’re different and better than everyone else. Maybe they have the greatest depth of experience? Or range of services? The best creative. Or the most partnerships with other companies? When you start a company, you don’t have any of those things. All you have is the ability to demonstrate an interest in your client’s business and prove you share their values. I’ve found that’s enough.
- NO ONE CAUSES PROBLEMS. THEY HAPPEN: In bigger companies, when there is a problem, there is a tendency to look for someone to blame. When you start a company, you are going to make mistakes. When Seth Godin started his first company, two employees were having a heated argument in the hall about a problem one thought the other had caused. One blamed the other. Everyone heard it and felt uncomfortable. Seth made them stand in front of everyone in the company and apologize. Problems happen.
- DON’T KEEP COMPANY KNOWLEDGE A SECRET. SHARE IT AND MORE WILL COME BACK TO YOU: Bigger companies tend to believe there is something proprietary about what they know and the way they work. That’s why they got big. They get secretive believing they have a corner on knowledge. They don’t. Instead, share what you know, more people are likely to find you interesting and want to know more about you.
- DON’T GET SO BIG, YOU GET BAD. “How big can we get before we get bad?” asked legendary ad executive Jay Chiat of his agency, Chiat Day, in the 1980′s. Chiat Day doesn’t exist anymore. It was acquired by Omnicom, who is now merged and called the Publicis Omnicom Group, the biggest ad agency network ever. Jay’s comment is not only a great statement about the ad agency business, it’s direction of for any company in the early stages of their life cycle to unlearn the lessons for big companies.
We are following this direction. We founded this company on ROI and like to share what we learned along the way. If you interested in digital marketing, download our complimentary eBook, 166 Case Studies prove Social Media Marketing ROI, or sign up for our newsletter. Or, be in touch. Maybe we share the same values.
Do you have any lessons from big companies you have to unlearn?
November 17, 2013 by
With the holidays approaching, gift gifting is about to increase, significantly, and so are advertising costs on social networks. Social sharing can have big sales impact, especially on Facebook.
In fact, if last year’s is any indication, within a couple of weeks, costs for Facebook ads are about to rise 20%-40% versus the rest of the year on the primary spending metric – CPC (Cost Per Click).
How do you make Facebook ads work harder when costs are higher.
Here are 20 Facebook ad tips for the holiday season.
- BE CLEAR ABOUT CONVERSION GOALS: Conversion means getting people to take the action you want. Do you want Facebook users to buy something on your site? More Likes on your Facebook page — knowing that Facebook fans tend to be valuable customers in the long run? Enter a sweepstakes or contest? RSVP to a Facebook event?
- KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: Use Facebook’s robust targeting options to focus on specific groups. The more specific your advertising segment, the more clicks your ad will get. The better the Click Through Rate, the more you save on Cost Per Click (CPC).
- OPT FOR “PRECISE INTEREST OPTIONS“: Get connected with people who share specific interests analogous to your brand.
- GET HIGHER CONVERSIONS TO SAVE ON CPC WITH HYPER-TARGETING: Start with a core, solid fan base first and engage them to get better ad conversions…without breaking the bank!
- CREATE “CUSTOM AUDIENCES”: With the addition of the “custom audiences” feature, advertisers are reporting higher conversion rates. An auto company saw a 24x return using custom audiences in combination with Offers).
- REACH MORE FANS THROUGH THE NEWS FEED: 60 percent of all users are visiting Facebook on their mobile phones and tablets. Facebook mobile ads earn up to 2.5X more than desktop-only ads according to a study from SocialCode
- HAVE FANS SHARING WITH “LIKE” ADS” “Like Ads” work just how they sound. Viewers can “Like” you ad at the bottom. They do well when they appear in the right-hand column in addition to the News Feed.
- GET MORE EYEBALL FROM YOUR AUDIENCE WITH PROMOTED POSTS: Promoted Posts work best with one audience: yours. Your fans already know you, trust you, and want to engage with you. Target Fans first becaue Promoted Post can a lot like spam, especially the sponsored story that is created with it. If your Promoted Post is reported as spam, it’ll be running a lot less.
- MAKE COPY “SUCCINCT, FRIENDLY AND CONVERSATIONAL”: This is what Facebook recommends too. You have a headline of 25 character and body copy of 90 characters to do it.
- CREATE HOLIDAY URGENCY: Put holiday clues in your copy and let people know whatever you’re offering has a limited time to take action
- FOCUS ON KEYWORDS: Make use of the related words as close as possible. It will give you an edge against your competitors and rivals.
- PUT IMPORTANT CONTEXT IN YOUR IMAGE OR VIDEO: You get one shot and one image or video to make a first impression. Put important copy in your image or video so you don’t waste it. Facebook has standards so don’t make the copy take up more than 20% of the image space.
- PUT HOLIDAY IMAGERY IN YOUR AD: Why not create added relevance with images of the holiday that can boost relevance and time to act?
- TEST MULTIPLE ADS: Even the smallest change can have a a impact on the click-through rate for your ad, so it’s best to create multiple versions and test. Facebook makes this process easy: Once an ad has been created, you have the option to “Create a Similar Ad” and simply swap in a new picture or text.
- UPDATE YOUR WALL. NOT JUST YOUR ADS: Your ads are only as good as your Wall. If you spend a $100 on ads, but the last update on their fan page was a month ago, that’s not a smart spending strategy.
- KNOW YOUR BIDDING OPTIONS: A CPC strategy is all about getting the biggest bang for the buck. With the Advanced Pricing feature in the Campaign and Budget window, you can then use the CPC (cost per click) model, as well as set your own bids for the CPM model.
- KNOW THE BEST TIME TO RUN YOUR ADS: Make sure your updates are going out during peak hours – the time zone of your fans (for promoted & sponsored posts); he time zone of the demographic you are targeting (for display ads & sponsored posts)
- RUN YOUR ADS FOR THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF TIME: Continually assess the ROI (Return on Investment) of your ad so that you can remove or revise it before it starts to really cost you. Watch your CTR and when it starts to dip, it is time to change your ad up
- DRIVE PEOPLE TO AN OPTIMIZED LANDING PAGE OR DESTINATION: Make sure the ad directly leads to your website page that tells the potential customer what to do next.You will be throwing your money in a trash can if you do not have a converting landing page to direct the targeted Facebook traffic.
- HAVE ONE CLEAR CALL TO ACTION: A comprehensible call to action must be established in the Facebook advertisement itself and also on the landing website page.
We want your business to be successful this holiday season and share some practical advice on how it can be.
Were these holiday tips on Facebook ads helpful? Will you be using any of them?
November 11, 2013 by
- In 2013, digital media spending surpassed all form of print media spending (e.g. magazines, newspapers)
- Before 2018, digital media spending is expected to equal or exceed television
- In this decade, digital is the only media channel to grow every year (Source: ZenithOptimedia)
The trends suggest, if you use any type of media to support your business, it’s worth getting up to speed on digital marketing.
It’s also the reason for Strategic Digital Marketing, a new book from Eric Greenberg and Alexander Kates; it’s the ultimate crash course in digital marketing. I am a co-author along with eight other peers.
They include: Jeremy Floyd, Glen Gilmore, Greg Jarboe, Amy Kates, Mike Moran, Bob Pearson, Niel Perkin and Stan Smith.
What will you learn in Strategic Digital Marketing?
Here is the (abbreviated) 13-step crash course in digital marketing.
- MARKETING IS NOW A CONVERSATION, NOT A MONOLOGUE: The old marketing paradigm was to “Push” messaging through clutter to breakthrough to your audience. Now, messages are more likely to get if they include recommendations, authenticity and honesty and consumers “Pull” them through say Alex Kates and Eric Greenberg in Chapter 1, The Digital Paradigm.
- MARKETERS REQUIRE A “LIQUID MINDSET”: According to Coca Cola, who practices this mindset, it is the job of marketers to discover small bits of content that are so interesting and viral, they beg to be shared. That’s because they build trust with audiences that helps spread the word says Alex and Eric in Chapter 2, Marketing Strategies for a Digital World
- CONTENT SHOULD FOLLOW THE 70/20/10 RULE: The 70/20/10 model is a framework used for many aspects of business planning. For a content marketing strategy, it means 70% should apply to core subject areas; 20% to innovations or news (events or seasonality); 10% should be new says Neil Perkin in Chapter 3, Managing Content in a Digital Age
- IF THEY CAN’T FIND IT, THEY CAN’T BUY IT: Did you know that 77% of Americans start their conversation on a heath related topic with a search engine? So do 78% of B2B Buyers. Choose the right search keywords; get your content included and optimize it by measuring progress says Mike Moran in Chapter 4, Search Marketing: If They Can’t Find It, They Can’t Buy It.
- TEST YOUR WAY INTO MOBILE MARKETING: 96% of companies say they currently use or plan to use mobile marketing but only 21% have been successful in mobile – a decrease from 2010 according to ANA and MediaVest. Although mobile options vary from SMS to Augmented Reality, every business has to first establish a role for mobile, the right tactics and a mobile measurement plan for success that’s scalable say Alex Kates in Chapter 5, Mobile Marketing: Innovation on the Go.
- WANT VIRAL VIDEOS? PLAN THEM: “Chance favors only the prepared mind,” said Louis Pasteur. That’s what Greg Jarboe found when, in his story of hostage Jill Carroll, video outperformed all other media channels. Greg found the playbook for great video marketing involves a strategy, script, storyboard, good camera, accessories, lighting, editing and, for YouTube, metadata, custom thumbnail, annotations, captions and calls to action. This might sound like a lot to manage but Greg takes you though it step-by-step in Chapter 6, Video Marketing
- SOCIAL MEDIA IS FOR STORYTELLING: It’s in our DNA as human being to share our stories and discoveries on brands with others. But it’s in best interest of marketers to leverage the strength of social channels for the storytelling abilities; like Twitter (real time), Facebook (a digital cafeteria), Blogs (long-form storytelling) and LinkedIn (collect and categorize business contact information) to make them as tell-able as possible says Stan Smith in Chapter 7, Social Media Marketing.
- A WEBSITE WITH PURPOSE GENERATES RESULTS: Why have a website? Elementary question, right?. When the purpose is defined, the focus and energy behind the digital effort changes whether the purpose is: 1) Establish expertise, 2) generate leads, 3) secure sales, 4) be found or 5) customer service. But have a purpose says Jeremy Floyd in Chapter 8, Building a Website with Purpose that Generates Results.
- IT’S NOT THE DATA; IT’S WHAT YOU DO WITH IT: 90% of the data in the history of the world has been generated within the last two years according to IBM. But what good is it if you haven’t identified the measurements that matter for your business. These are your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). They are the actionable scorecard to keep strategy on track and they provide insights that explain your Return on Investment (ROI) to keep it going in the right direction says Rob Petersen in Chapter 9, Measurement and ROI of Digital Strategies.
- SOCIAL GOVERNANCE IS A GOOD THING: Whether you’re a large or small business, it’s worthwhile to see if there are social media guidelines for your industry. Take the steps to get: 1) Buy-in from the “C” suite,2) Align social media goals with business goals, 3) Craft a social media policy, 4) Acquaint yourself with National Labor Relations Board Acts and 5) put in place the right employer policies for your particular business say Glenn Gilmore in Chapter 10, Understanding the Law in Digital Marketing.
- “NEXT PRACTICES” ARE BETTER THAN “BEST PRACTICES”: How do you stay on top of an area that is changing rapidly, don’t focus on “benchmarks” that explain the past; instead, analyze who is succeeding in area you care about for your company and your industry say Bob Pearson in Chapter 11, Digital Leadership Principles.
- QUESTIONS YOU ASK NOW DEFINE THE ORGANIZATION YOU WILL BE: Should digital work be managed as a function? What belongs in the center? What is the work of the digital function? Who owns social media? Who owns the user experience? These are some questions of self-examination for every company. How they are answered define the digital organization you turn into says Amy Kates in Chapter 12, Designing Organizations for Digital Success.
- THE PATH TO BETTER BEGINS WITH THE DESIRE TO CHANGE: In the last chapter, Eric and Alex go through the Six Habits of Highly Successful Firms and the steps to begin the Digital Transformation Process recognizing, “everybody wants better, no one wants change,” and giving you the tools to overcome it.
Is it time for “crash course” in digital marketing with your employees and organization? Does your company have the desire to change? How do you know until you read what it takes?
Are you ready to begin?
November 03, 2013 by
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a model for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It involves technology and software to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service and technical support.
CRM has been with us since 1986 when ACT!, the #1 best-selling contact and customer manager, introduced the business world to contact management software, essentially a digital rolodex. Today, CRM involves the use cloud-based and SaaS CRM solutions to lower costs; the integration of marketing channels like digital social media and mobile devices to increase leads and conversion; and “Big Data” to make smarter business decision from analytics.
How is it working? Here are 11 convincing case studies to prove the ROI of CRM.
- ALLINA HEALTH: Used CRM to manage its data warehouse. It’s identified benefits that include reduced patient length of stay, reduced admissions, and improved health outcomes in stroke, depression, and angioplasty treatments. Within 2 years, the CRM initiative had an ROI of +152% and generated $1,052,828 each year.
- BEST BUY: Proactively monitored the social channels for customers in need of either customer service support or technical assistance. They created a CRM community to offer a place where Best Buy’s advocates including Blueshirts, Geek Squad Agents, and the community teams used lTwitter as their customer service channel. There are now roughly 600,000 customers visiting the community and posting 20,000 messages (over 77,000 messages and counting). The community has published over 22 million pages of content. Best Buy estimates that online community engagements provide a benefit of over $5,000,000 to the organization.
- BUSTED TEES: Sought to bring back recent customers and convert casual browsers, but they also wanted to re-engage with customers who hadn’t made a purchase, been to the website, or opened an email in a significant period of time. They use CRM Retargeting to serve display ads to people with nothing but an email or mailing address. It increased average order value to $40 and generated an ROI of +390%.
- CANADA POST: One of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced postal companies, has $5.9 billion) in annual revenue. It uses CRM as a cornerstone of its business transformation, particularly with regards to electronic shipping tools for commercial customers; internet sales and service tools for customer self-service and easier access to services; and contact centers to give customer service agents integrated information for customer transactions. CRM saved $16.25 million in revenue leakage.
- CISCO: Established a social media listening center. It listens to more than 5000 social mentions a day on Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels. Cisco has been able to control outside agency fees, avoid other customer and partner interaction costs, increase team productivity, and identify new sales opportunities. The social media listening center has had an ROI of +281% in 5 months to generates an annual benefits of $1,596,292.
- GET SATISFACTION: A leading online customer community platform that companies use or customer support, idea submission, marketing and sales questions, and capturing positive feedback, focused traffic driving strategies on search, social media, blogging, and buildling a content community. The CRM strategy achieved an ROI of +104% in month one, +168% in month two and +248% in month three.
- KIXEYE: An online gaming portal, used CRM to increase customer acquisition through its growing volume of Facebook ads. It’s enabled Kixeye to decrease annual advertising costs by 15%, extent the acquisition life cycle of games by 6 months and increased user productivity by 7.5 percent.
- MAGOOSH GRE: offers online courses for GMAT, GRE and SAT courses including video explanations, subject lessons, and practice tests. Magoosh ran a test and found that people who had been retargeted converted at a significantly higher rate than the control group. A CRM retargeting campaign generating 1,123 conversions for an ROI of +486.
- QOSINA: A medical and cosmetic components distributor, sells products to medical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, skincare and spa companies. It used Microsoft CRM to effectively track its customer and prospect interaction, and to provide management oversight for accountability of sales opportunities and salon industries. It generated ROI of +172% within 2 years.
- TYROIT: is Europe’s largest manufacturer of bonded grinding, cutting-off, sawing, and drilling tools, generating $416 million in annual revenue from more than 70,000 unique products produced in 19 plants for 60 countries. Tyroit used CRM integrate products and solutions to reduce the number of contact points and transaction costs. It increased bottom line costs by +25% and produced an ROI of +183% within 2 years.
- ZENDESK: is a web-based customer support software company with a robust ticket management system and a strong customer community. They offer products from starting from a free trial to three paid tiers. They used retargeting to improve lead generation and saw conversion increase by +1317%.
As a full service digital marketing agency focused on proven relationship marketing principles and ROI, we want to make sure there’s a case study that relevant to your biggest business challenge.
We pride ourselves on being, perhaps, the most robust resource for digital marketing case studies on the internet. Visit our Category Page on Case Studies; download our complementary eBook, 166 Case Studies Prove Social Media Marketing ROI; or sign up for our Newsletter to get the most current case studies, as soon as they are available.
Are case studies important to your business? Do these 11 case studies prove the ROI of CRM to you?