In the business world today, competition among businesses and brands is pretty much intense because every now and then, new ideas and innovative aspects of technology come up to favor some and drive others out of business. This explains why there are so many business units being set up daily but very few of them end up succeeding.

To be among the few that succeed in this tight niche, you have to understand that there is more to it than just gaining more and more customers to your business. As a smart operator, you have to focus even more on turning these customers into the advocates of your brand. Here are just but a few of the tips on how to turn your customers into centers of influence or advocates of your brand;

1. Identify ‘potential’ advocates

It is said that no matter what you do or offer in your business, you will never be able to please everyone. Same here, it is difficult and even impossible to turn every single one of your customers into advocates. Therefore, start by identifying those customers that are likely to become your brand advocates. Some customers will just pop into your shop, make a purchase, and leave never to come back again. Some customers will become your regular customers but do little to sell your brand. However, potential brand advocates will make a purchase again and again, and at the same time bring in their friends and colleagues to your business.

2. Offer a referral program

Once you have identified your potential advocates, it is time to turn them into your advocates. A referral program helps you to not only acquire new customers, but to also turn your existing customers into brand executives. Simply by giving your existing customers an incentive to bring in more of their friends and colleagues to your business, you drive them to talk favorably about your business and its services to them. And trust you me, studies have shown that a referral customer is more valuable than a normal customer as he is more likely to stay longer and make many referrals to others too.

3. Offer personalized services to your potential advocates

I doubt that there is a customer out there that does not like to be treated like a VIP by a business. Personally I do. If you are looking to make your customers talk about your business out there, make them feel as if they have a special place in your business. Little things like remembering their names and offering them specialized services or special discounts for visiting often will make them your loyal customers.

4. Offer exceptional customer service

Many of the times I have personally recommended a friend to a place or business was because of the experience in customer service I received there. Offering great customer service seems like a no brainer but trust me, it is one of the greatest determinants of customer loyalty. Strive to exceed your customer’s expectations instead of just meeting them. This way, they will be motivated to sell your business to the outside world.

5. Request your customers for testimonials

Customer testimonials are a great way to build your brand awareness especially on the Internet. Positive reviews give your business credibility and help you to convert the customer writing the testimonial into a brand advocate. Plus, remember that a good testimonial comes in form of a short story that another customer online can easily and ‘realistically’ associate with.