What is advocacy?
Look in your wallet. How many rewards cards do you have in there? You might have a coffee shop card that promises a free drink after you buy 10. There could be a grocery store card that you swipe to get discounts or a card from your favorite store at the mall that sends you a coupon on your birthday. These are common advocacy programs that first come to mind, but the concept of advocacy has always been around.
In the traditional sense, advocacy is considered public support for a particular cause or policy. Which in turn means you can literally advocate for anything and everything. The reason it feels “new” is because of ever-changing technology. Now, instead of carrying around your wallet full of rewards cards, or key ring with 20 plastic tags hanging off it, you can access them through that little handheld device we’re all so addicted to.
How do you get started?
Remember in grade school when you got a gold star for perfect attendance? Well we still get those same giddy feelings when we see a gold star. Except this time the star comes with a gift! A prime example is the Starbucks® rewards program. Not all of us need the motivation to purchase our daily coffee, but getting a free drink every now and then sure does make us feel better about our investment in caffeine.
The key is to identify what’s important to you as a company, what’s important to your clients, and where that middle ground is. Identify your goals, set parameters and create engaging content.
Why are we telling you this?
This is where you’ll start asking why and how advocacy applies to you as a real estate agent. Advocacy programs are beneficial not just for big companies, but everything in between. Growing your own advocacy program and keeping open and active communication with your clients has a number of benefits that will feed your real estate business now and in the long run.
1. It nurtures your clients and keeps them coming back to YOU instead of that pesky competitor.
We’re so busy these days that sometimes we even forget about our own birthdays. But do you know who doesn’t forget? Starbucks. By incorporating your brand into your client’s everyday life you have the opportunity to be a part of their brand decisions. They’re more likely to stick with you now that you have invested in them.
2. And when they do come back, they bring their friends.
By having an advocacy program, you also have the opportunity to better communicate a referral program. Because your advocates are already invested in you and the potential rewards, they will be more inclined to spread the word about you to other agents in their network. Especially if they get even more rewards like free market evaluations, closing gifts and industry insights out of the deal!
3. Your clients will be engaged, communicating and providing feedback. You’ll be able to learn what their preferences are; what does and doesn’t work for them, and what motivates them.
Because your advocates are invested in your success, they are more willing to provide feedback to you, and when they do, it’s an excellent opportunity to use that to engage others. Using the positive testimonials from your advocates to promote yourself on social networks is further proof of your success. Even if the feedback is not all positive, it opens the communication channel and opportunity to tailor the program and make the necessary changes along the way.
4. The appreciation and rewards they receive for being good clients keeps you at the top of their minds.
When you offer your advocates rewards, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be only product/service based. Offer them other things that will keep them going in their everyday life. VHT Studios advocacy program, Hot Shots, even offers Starbucks gift cards as rewards. We know that you are super busy and sometimes need a pick-me-up to keep your day moving.
5. It puts the ball in their court and they can get the answers they need from you.
Let them know that they can ask questions and get what they need from you. Nothing is off limits when it comes to taking questions from your advocates.
When 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth referrals when making purchasing decisions, we here at VHT Studios take that seriously, thus the creation of The VHT Studios Hot Shots program. Hots Shots is a place where like-minded real estate agents can meet, share and learn while also providing feedback, playing games and earning free stuff.
If you want to get a good look at a thought-out advocacy program and get first-hand experience, check out Hot Shots. You have nothing to lose, so just give it a whirl and start getting rewarded today!