Advocacy Marketing 101: Design for Success

 

Branded organic reach on social may be declining, but people are still spending a ton of their online time on social media - an average of 2 -3 hours every day. All this time spent makes one thing abundantly clear: social media networks are as valuable as ever. With organic reach no longer a viable option, more brands are leveraging the power of their fans and employees through advocacy marketing programs to ensure that they are still able to market to their target demographic on these social channels without having to constantly boost and promote social posts.

To help your brand get started with their advocacy marketing efforts, we’re publishing a new series on our blog outlining the best practices, tools, tips, and insights you need to ensure advocacy marketing success. In today’s post, we’re going to focus on where and how to maximize your program’s design aesthetic.

Whether your advocacy program is targeted towards millennials, baby boomers, or even your own employees, one thing is true: a badly designed program will hurt your advocacy marketing efforts. It may seem silly at first, but after executing thousands of advocacy programs, we can tell you with certainty that the more thought and energy you put in designing your program, the greater the opportunity for success.

Don’t believe us? Take a gander at the latest Avocados from Mexico advocacy marketing campaign. Their design efforts, alongside a solid execution strategy, made them #1 in brand mentions (#guacworld) during this year’s Big Game, beating out some major players and big spenders for the coveted title including Tide, Pepsi, and the Dilly Dilly King, Bud Light.

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So how do you design a successful advocacy marketing campaign? Start by focusing on these top 4 best practices.

 

General Advocacy Marketing Program Design Best Practices

Stay True to Your Brand
News flash! People join your brand’s advocacy marketing program because they like your brand. Crazy right? They have trust in your brand, they are familiar with your brand, and they recognize your brand among your competition. Don’t throw all that brand equity away by designing a program aesthetic that completely abandons your brand.

We’re not saying that your program needs to be a copy/paste of your website, but it does need to be designed as an extension of your brand, something that your audience can easily associate with your other marketing initiatives.

If your program looks completely out of line with your other marketing initiatives, you’re going to wind up confusing your fans. Repeat after us, “Confused fans don’t join advocacy marketing programs.” 

Design with Your Target Audience in Mind
Who do you want to join your program? Big-city millennials? Small town new moms? Decide who your primary audience is, then design your program around that audience. Sure, a generic design might still lead to advocacy marketing success but having a program design that speaks to your target audience will almost always lead to higher conversion rates, share rates, impressions, and program ROI.

Always Design Your Program Mobile First
It’s 2018. More content is viewed on mobile devices than on desktop computers. More people are visiting websites on mobile devices than desktop computers. This means that most of the time an advocate’s first exposure to your program is going to be through a mobile device. Design for this.

Make sure your images are sized for mobile. Ensure any content being shared is mobile friendly. Most importantly, ensure that program participants can share your content and be a part of the program through their mobile device by using a mobile-friendly advocacy marketing platform (like SocialToaster) to manage your advocacy marketing campaign.

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Specific Program Areas to Design for Success

Recruitment
Successful advocacy marketing campaigns live and die by recruitment. After all, the more people in your program, the greater your potential reach and ROI. If you want to be successful with your program recruiting initiatives, you need to ensure your recruitment efforts are aligned with your program.

Your recruitment messages should mirror your program landing page. Avoid any surprises or confusion by setting the expectation of what a fan can expect to see when they hit your landing page early on.

From a design perspective, make sure your recruitment message:

  • Incorporates the program name or logo
  • Shares an affinity with the brand sponsoring the program
  • Shares the same color palette as the program
  • Uses hi-res (or at least non-grainy) program images
  • Provides a compelling reason for joining the program (whether by showing the type of content being shared or the available prizes/rewards)

Program Landing Page
Arriving on your program landing page for the first time is a monumental moment for a new advocate. It is this page (and how it is designed) that will have the greatest impact on whether they join your advocacy efforts or head back to browsing their Instagram feed.

Your landing page needs to (at a glance) convey the benefits of the program and foster a sense of trust with your advocate. The advocate needs to have faith that the program they are about to join is legitimate and can fulfill the expectations being set.

Most importantly, they need to be convinced that the program they are joining is worth joining. It needs to pass (what we call) the fun test. The more fun and exciting a program seems, the higher the conversion rates. Even among the so-called “boring brands”, you can almost always select images and copy points that communicate the fun aspects of an advocacy marketing program. If an advocate thinks the program is going to be a waste of time (or worse, more work for them), they’re less likely to join.

Sign-Up Process
A subset of the landing page experience, but important enough to warrant its own conversation, is the sign-up process. From a design standpoint, your sign-up process needs to be as simple as possible. Avoid designing distracting elements or peppering the process with too many graphics or embedded videos. Instead, streamline the design to focus on a singular call-to-action: join the program!

Having multiple asks during the sign-up process (or designing distracting elements) can confuse would-be joiners. Confusion leads to frustration and abandonment, which in turn, means that someone isn’t going to stick around long enough to join the program. Your design goal for the sign-up process is to make it as pain-free for your advocates as possible with crystal clear sign-up directions.

Program Content
Once a user has joined your advocacy marketing program, they’ll be able to start sharing your content on a regular basis (up to 1 or 2 times every week as a best practice). If you only ask your advocates to share dull whitepapers and text-heavy blog posts, you’re going to bore your advocates. A bored advocate doesn’t share.

As a best practice, make sure your program has a mix of visually appealing content including:

  • Strong imagery
  • Video
  • Infographics
  • Animations

Likewise, if your content looks dull or flat once it’s shared to an advocate’s Twitter feed, it’s less likely to get the engagement you desire. Remember, the main reason you have an advocacy marketing program is so that you can leverage your advocates to share your content and marketing messages for you! Make it easier on yourself (and them) by producing well-designed content that makes their social feeds look good.

Pro Tip: We know designing programs isn’t something every team has the internal resources to handle. That’s why we offer program design assistance. Let our team of experienced graphic designers build a program specifically for you, using your brand guidelines and program needs.

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Don’t let bad design get in the way of your advocacy marketing success. The more exciting, dynamic, and straight-out fun your program looks, the more your fans will be clamoring to join your advocacy marketing program. Where you design, success will follow.

Need a hand getting started? Learn more about how SocialToaster can design, develop, and manage your next advocacy marketing campaign.