Before they can be nurtured, brand advocates must first be identified. There are various ways to do that:
- Customers buying online should always be required to give an email address. Note that sales through Amazon will not produce this benefit because Amazon will retain the email address and use it for their purposes and not the vendor’s.
- It’s more difficult to get the details from someone who buys in a store, but a registration card should always be included in the packaging. The majority of buyers won’t complete the card, even if it is worded to say that warranties don’t apply unless the product is registered – in most markets, savvy consumers know that they are protected by law, whether they register or not.
- People are often more ready to enter a competition than to register the purchase of a product, so include an entry form to a competition for every product sold otherwise than online and make sure that the form requires contact details to be provided.
- Log and register every single communication, whether congratulatory or complaining, from any customer. Even in the case of complaints, these contacts are gold dust.
- When complaints are received, treat them with great care. An unsatisfied customer who, by considerate and responsive treatment, is turned into a satisfied customer can be among the most enthusiastic brand advocates.
- Start a newsletter. Bear in mind, though, that there are lots of newsletters and success can only come through quality. Hire the best writer available (accept that this won’t be cheap) and also find a good designer to lay out the newsletter and set fonts and styles for various levels of header. Don’t leave the writer to get on with it alone, because that won’t work – provide news items, details of new products, interviews with customers and company staff members. In short, make the newsletter something that people will want to read and will look forward to receiving.