The Ins and Outs of Executing a Successful Short-Term Advocacy Marketing Campaign

 

Like all marketing initiatives, you tend to see two types of advocacy marketing campaigns:

  1. Evergreen – Advocacy campaigns that have no set end date
  2. Short-Term – Advocacy campaigns that only exist for 30 to 90-days

Even though short-term campaigns tend to only exists for a couple months, they can still provide stellar value for a brand. Brands use short-term advocacy marketing campaigns to support a myriad of marketing goals including:

  • Building attention around a new product/event
  • Growing their email list or social following
  • Hitting quarterly or year-end sales goals

Whatever the goal, having a window of only a couple of months means that your brand’s short-term advocacy marketing program needs to come out swinging. That’s why we’ve taken a look at some of our client’s most successful short-term programs to identify what common factors they share.

But first, an answer to one of our most common client questions:

 

Can I Expect a Strong ROI from A Short-Term Brand Advocacy Program?

To phrase another way, is it worth it to bother with executing a short-term program? Our response is a resounding yes! But we’re a bit biased, so here are some real results from clients that have focused on short-term initiatives.

Case Study 1: Avocados from Mexico Secret Society
While Avocados from Mexico does have an evergreen program, they chose to run a separate short-term program leading up to the Super Bowl in February. (Hey, no one ever said you could only have one advocacy program!) They named this program the Avocados Secret Society.

The goal of this short-term blitz program? To make enough social chatter during the game to get Avocados trending above brands with considerably larger marketing budgets and official Super Bowl presence. During the months leading up to gameday, Avocados focused on building awareness and membership of the program, training their advocates for showtime.

On the day of the game, they unleashed their audience, empowering them with strong content. Their effort rewarded Avocados from Mexico with the title of the #1 mentioned brand on social media, surpassing Dorito’s, Budweiser and other major advertisers with much larger advertising budgets.

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Case Study 2: Bartell Drugs
A much-loved Seattle-area drug store chain, Bartell Drugs has been taking care of Washingtonians since 1890. To help build awareness of Bartell Drugs travel health prep offerings (vaccines, etc.), Bartell Drugs launched the Pura Vida travel sweepstakes. During this short-term advocacy marketing initiative, fans of Bartell Drugs could enter in for a chance to win an all-expense trip to Costa Rica!

Opting to setup the sweepstakes as an advocacy marketing program over attributional one-touch sweepstakes meant that Bartell Drugs could activate entrants over the life of the campaign. They were able to get entrants to share the brand’s latest content on their social media feeds and encourage their friends to join the sweepstakes in exchange for additional entries into the contest.

The result: 5,000+ sweepstakes entries, more than double the expected goal of 2,500 entries.

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What Every Successful Short-Term Brand Advocacy Program Has in Common

1) The Program Was Built Around a Tentpole

Every successful short-term advocacy program needs to be built around a tentpole. What we mean by that is, every program needs to have something time-sensitive that anchors and excites its fans.

Common tentpoles include:

  • A specific social event like a sporting event or product launch
  • A branded event like a concert or conference
  • A large sweepstakes with a 30 – 90-day entry window
  • A multi-month fundraising drive with a marquee goal

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2) The Brand Planned Ahead

When a program is only set to last 30 or 90 days, you don’t have time to wait around for creative approval or content delivery. You must make each day count. That means before your brand even thinks about hitting that launch button, it needs to have a plan in place that identifies how it’s going to make the most of the campaign lifetime.

Your plan should include:

  • An expected outcome from your efforts
  • A content calendar that provides a rough idea of the quantity and subject focus of any support content needed
  • A budget and plan for promoting your program
  • Approvals of all contest elements prior to the campaign being launched

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3) Brand Advocates Were Recruited Fast and Early

Another secret for short-term success is to get as many people into the program as quickly after launch as possible. Here are suggestions for making this happen:

4) The Advocacy Marketing Campaign Was Promoted BEFORE the Campaign Went Live

If able, soft-launch the program a week or two before the campaign goes live. Build up a core audience that is ready to start sharing content the moment the campaign is launched. If you can’t do this (due to contest rules or internal roadblocks), consider promoting early awareness of the program through a simple landing page that lets potential ambassadors share their email and be notified when the program goes live.

5) The Brand Built Anticipation of the Campaign

If the first time your Superfans hear about your short-term advocacy marketing campaign is on the day the program is launched, you’re already running uphill. In the days or weeks leading up to the campaign going live, be sure to build some anticipation of the program. Shoot out an email to your heavy users or publish a few social media posts that let your fans know that something major is coming.

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Pro Tip: Reach out to influencers, or third-party websites, to secure promotional opportunities before your short-term campaign goes live. Between back-and-forth communications, compensation negotiations and content creation, it can take a bit of time to make sure the influencer or third-party site is ready to go. Wait too long to start these talks and you could be costing yourself precious time.

6) The Programs Launched With a Roar Not a Whisper

Email, social channels, blog post, website, promotional ads. We’re talking the full arsenal. The minute the program goes live, your advocates should be made aware. No quarter shall be given, no space free from your messages. The larger your Day-1 promotion of the campaign, the earlier you start recruiting your advocates, the higher your ROI by campaign end.

7) The Brands Made Membership Worth It

Short-term programs typically ask more from their advocates than their Evergreen brethren. Members are asked to share more content pieces more often, recruit more of their friends into the program, and, in general, simply do more in a shorter amount of time.

This means that it’s on the brand to ensure they’ve got a carrot that’s sufficient enough to motivate their advocates to go all out during this sprint. Take a lesson from some of our top performing short-term advocacy marketing campaigns and don’t hold back when it comes to rewards. Some of the strongest performing rewards we’ve seen include:

  • International vacations
  • VIP concert experiences
  • High-value food offerings (free pizza for life, anyone?)
  • Amazing seats at a sporting event

As a bonus, the better the prize, the easier it is to drive recruitment into your program. Don’t forget, the more advocates in your program, the more shares and engagements your content earns.

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Pro Tip: When selecting a platform to manage your short-term advocacy marketing campaign, chose one that automatically awards points or additional entries for specific actions taken. Nobody has time to go through a spreadsheet to manually track actions. Not only does SocialToaster track an individual’s earned points, it also lets you set the value of a specific social action. Want to drive more recruitment? Increase the number of entries an advocate can earn when they recruit their friends.

Ready to take your next short-term marketing initiative to the next level with an advocacy marketing campaign? Schedule a free demo with SocialToaster today!