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Your Guide To Creating & Optimizing Customer Advocacy Programs

Luca MicheliAug 04, 2023
Your Guide To Creating & Optimizing Customer Advocacy Programs

Customer advocacy is important.

Just how important? Well, according to Tomoson, the average ROI of a customer advocacy program is 650%. That’s way higher than most other marketing strategies out there.

Having an effective customer advocacy program in place can help to drive brand and product awareness, create positive sentiment around a business, and even increase sales. And in this Customerly guide, we’ll be giving you advice about how to do just that.

Ready to find out more? Let’s get started.

What Is Customer Advocacy?

Customer advocacy is when a customer advocates for (i.e., promotes) a company in some way—shocking, we know. There are plenty of forms this advocacy can take, including: 

  • Reviews
  • Word-of-mouth recommendations
  • Testimonials
  • Social media posts

The goal of a customer advocacy program is to actively encourage or incentivize these acts of advocacy rather than waiting around for them to happen organically. This can be as simple as using a tool like Customerly to segment promotors and reach out with review requests via email.

email-template-preview-Ask for user review Email Template

Ask for user review Email Template

Use this email template to ask for a review to your best users. You can use this template with a workflow and a list of your best customers to ensure the best results

That said, lots of customer advocacy programs are more complex. Many companies use referral programs to reward customers for referring friends and family, or they might offer discounts or freebies in exchange for customer feedback.

Why Is Customer Advocacy Important?

1. It Cuts Customer Acquisition Costs

Customer advocacy is extremely cost-effective. In fact, it’s seen as the most cost-effective marketing strategy by 54% of B2B marketers

The reasoning is pretty simple—aside from the initial investments you make to advertise and increase brand awareness, the acts of customer advocacy themselves are completely free. Combine that with a stellar conversion rate and decent reach, and you have a winning strategy.

To put that into context, introducing a customer advocacy program increases overall marketing effectiveness by an average of 54%.

2. It Reaches Audiences You Otherwise Can’t Access

The average customer has a network of 400+ friends, family members, colleagues, and acquaintances who trust their recommendations more than yours.

When you launch a customer advocacy program, you’re giving those customers the opportunity to reach those people in a way that would otherwise be impossible. And with this kind of access to valuable, engaged audiences, your marketing messages are more likely to resonate and convert.

3. It Boosts Sales

Finally, customer advocacy programs are incredibly effective at driving sales.

Online businesses with advocacy programs owe an impressive 60% of their sales to referrals and advocacy. That’s a clear majority that can’t be overlooked.

Types of Customer Advocacy


Everyone knows reviews are important because everyone uses reviews to decide whether to make a purchase. Don’t believe us? Consider the fact that an impressive 92% of B2B customers read reviews before making a purchase—and the 8% who don’t are just very forgetful.

customer reviews

And for SaaS customers, there are a ton of options for reliable, authentic reviews, including:

Social Sharing

Social sharing is another important form of customer advocacy. When it comes to showcasing your product, it’s hard to beat a quick photo and caption shared by real users.

social sharing

Plus, it’s effective—UGC posted to social media earns 28% more engagement than standard, branded content. It’s also 2x more likely to be shared.


Referrals are an incredibly valuable form of customer advocacy. Aside from the fact that they’re free, referrals result in 18% lower churn and 16% higher lifetime value than customers acquired by other methods.


This kind of advocacy can either be entirely organic, or it can be incentivized with a reward. The latter is more likely to result in higher ROI, but both are valuable forms of customer advocacy.


Last but not least—testimonials. Testimonials and success stories are a formal, written form of customer advocacy that demonstrates the trust and reliance customers have in your brand.


Testimonials are also super easy to share with prospects since they’re a common feature on websites and landing pages. They can also be used to build authority and trust for your brand—something all customers look for.

How To Build and Improve a Customer Advocacy Program

Choose Your Software

Before we get started on your campaign, we need to cover the software you’ll need.

This will probably include:

  1. Customer Advocacy Software: For tracking and managing customer advocacy efforts.
  2. Marketing Automation Software: For automating outreach and follow-up.
  3. CXM Software: For managing customer data and insights.
  4. Analytics Software: For measuring the success of your results.

Customerly checks three of those boxes at once by bringing together marketing automation, customer experience management, and analytics into one platform.

customerly marketing automation

You can use Customerly to track incoming leads, analyze customer data, create automated campaigns, and optimize the customer journey for referees. And with an intuitive, centralized dashboard for analyzing customer relationships, you can easily keep tabs on your customer advocacy program.

Define the Persona of the Advocate

Before you can start designing an advocacy program, you need to know who exactly your advocates are. That means it’s time to develop customer personas for the segments that are most likely to become promoters.

This process is relatively simple using a tool like Customerly:

  1. Dive into your NPS data and segment the customers that are most likely to advocate for you. You can target this segment with automated review requests to maximize your response rate. Fatture in Cloud used Customerly to build a review request funnel that did just that. The results? They increased their Trustpilot reviews from 11 to 1,700+ and went from an average rating of 2 to 4.8—not bad!
customerly nps data
  1. Look for initial similarities based on the demographics and behavior logged in the CRM.
customerly crm
  1. Flesh out these initial personas by targeting segments with customer persona surveys.

Build a Customer Community

One trait that all advocates share is engagement. You need to build a customer community if you want your customer advocates to stay engaged.

Creating a customer community isn’t formulaic. There are tons of avenues you can go down, including:

  • Creating a private customer Slack channel.
  • Starting an online forum or discussion board.
  • Hosting regular webinars, podcasts, and Q&As.
  • Launching interactive surveys and polls.
  • Reaching out with emails and chats.

With Customerly’s intelligent triggers and powerful marketing funnel builder, you can set up automated campaigns to reach out to advocates at the perfect time with emails, chats, surveys, and more.

For inspiration, check out how Feed Donkey used live chat triggers to boost conversions by 30%.

Build Trust With Your Advocates

The key to creating a successful customer advocacy program is trust. 

Your advocates need to feel empowered and appreciated in order for them to advocate on your behalf. Encourage feedback from your advocates so that you can understand their needs better. Show your appreciation with swag, special discounts, and exclusive offers.

Building trust doesn’t happen overnight—you need to nurture the relationship over time. If you hit the sweet spot, your advocates will be itching to tell others about your product or service.

build advocates with customerly

Customerly can help you build trust by giving you access to powerful customer success tools. With Customerly, you can easily segment customers by their needs and interests, create personalized drip campaigns, and even use sentiment analysis to get feedback from your advocates in real time.

Make a Conscious Effort to Respond to Customers

An important part of fostering relationships with your advocates is responding to their feedback. We’re not talking about generic, copy-pasted responses here—customers want personalization and honesty.

So, what makes a good response? There are a few things you want to make sure you’re doing:

  • Show Appreciation: Thank them for taking the time to offer feedback—good or bad.
  • Acknowledge the Content: If the feedback is positive, this is simple. If it’s negative, acknowledge the problem as they see it and explain your point of view.
  • Offer Solutions: If the feedback is negative, you need to offer real solutions (or, at the very least, a way for them to keep the dialogue open).

This will reassure them that your business is one worth advocating for.

customerly customer feedback

Customerly makes it easy for you to respond to customer feedback quickly, thanks to a market-leading live chat system designed with support reps in mind. You can use triggers, automated & canned responses, intelligent routing, and even video messaging to make sure customers are getting the help they need.

Collect Customer Feedback

The best way to understand the needs of your advocates is by collecting customer feedback. Ask about your customers’ experiences and adjust accordingly—it’s as simple as that!

Customerly makes it easy for you to collect and analyze feedback from your advocates. Reach out with all kinds of surveys, feedback forms, rating prompts, and questionnaires to see how they’re feeling about your product or the advocacy program you’re setting up. And, as it’s all in-app, you can enjoy a higher response rate, something that Fatture in Cloud noticed when they partnered with us, increasing their survey answer rate by 136%.

Customerly stores all the feedback responses in your CRM for easy access.


A customer advocacy program may be just the thing your business needs to boost sales and earn life-long loyal customers.

With Customerly, you can easily create and manage a successful customer advocacy program that helps you build relationships with your advocates and increase brand visibility.

Start building relationships with your advocates with a 14-day free trial.

Luca Micheli

Luca Micheli

CEO @ Customerly

Luca Micheli is a serial tech entrepreneur with one exited company and a passion for bootstrap digital projects. He's passionate about helping companies to succeed with marketing and business development tips.

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