Marketing is about much more than just creating brand awareness or bringing customers through your doors for the first time. An effective marketing strategy accounts for every single stage of the customer life cycle — and strives to create customer advocates for the brand.

Though not every customer who buys from your company will end up actively promoting you, your odds of successfully creating a brand advocate are much higher than you might think, thanks in large part to the internet. We all like sharing our opinions — and sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List, along with social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, have made doing so exceedingly effortless.

Though it is tempting to take an if you build it, they will come approach to creating brand advocates, the truth is that you need more than a quality product to promote customer advocacy. There is simply no replacement for an active approach to marketing. Here are seven steps you should be taking in order to ensure that your customers become your biggest marketing asset.

1.Foster Customer SuccessIf you want a customer to promote your brand, then you had better be sure that they walk away happy. This starts with product development — but providing resources such as online how-to videos, blogs, and accessible human support can also play a major role in ensuring that customers get what they were looking for out of your products and/or services.

2.Identify Potential AdvocatesIf you are paying attention, then you will probably notice that regular social media poster or that customer who comes into the store every day. These are prime candidates to become brand advocates — but they may need a bit of encouragement and engagement. At any rate, identifying potential advocates and targeting them for company outreach is an important part of any long-term customer relationship management campaign.

3.Forge Industry RelationshipsNot all brand advocates are customers. Bloggers, social media influencers, and industry publications can all vouch for you — but in order for this to happen on a meaningful scale, you will need to take the initiative. Exchanging social media content (i.e. writing a guest blog) and offering free product samples are two great ways of doing this.

4.Encourage Word of Mouth RecommendationsHow can you get customers talking about your company? Ensure that their experience with you is unique! Whether it is unbeatable attention to detail, unbelievable prices, or even a free product, any investment you make in encouraging customer conversation has the potential to pay dividends.

5.Create a Customer Referral Program. Of course, offering customers a discount for every referral can get them talking even faster than free products, so don’t neglect this time-tested strategy!

6.Go Social. Are you being social on social media? If you aren’t giving your audience anything to comment on, share, or even like, then you can hardly blame them for not promoting you!

7.Turn Employees into Advocates. Fostering employee satisfaction and giving your workers financial incentive to promote the company can ensure that you have a loyal and motivated group of brand advocates promoting the business both online and in-person.

Direct Call Solutions can help you acquire customers clients — and sustain an active professional relationship with them. Visit us online today to learn how!