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It's all Eloqua's fault, really. My VP of Marketing and I, a Creative Services Manager for a title software development company, attended an Eloqua road show where we were invited to join Eloqua's advocate program. So, we did. We're followers that way.

 

Within a few days we'd received a hand written note, stickers and a nifty pin. As we experienced this journey, we realized our own customers could benefit from a similar program. That's when everything changed. We stole. Everything. If Eloqua published it, we took it; we planned our very own advocate program. We began our life of crime new adventure with a four-phase approach. First, we'd conduct qualitative research to determine what our program would look like. From there we'd create a plan, try it out, and see how it went.

 

So, we commenced with very scientific research methods. Mostly, this consisted of asking the Internet to show us other programs and copying their work. We also discovered a number of white papers, from which we gleaned that, in the B2B world, advocate-generated leads are four-ten times more valuable than regular leads and that B2B buyers listen to word of mouth even more than consumers do. (The Advocate Marketing Playbook. http://influitive.com/advocate-marketing-playbook-parts/) We definitely needed to acquire some advocates! But specifically how should we go about it? To answer that, we set goals for the program: to increase our reference pool, gain interactions through social media and increase product/company feedback.

 

Once we digested all of the information the universe (aka Google) offered, we settled in to create our advocate program. True to form, we stole cultivated ideas from Eloqua. After naming our program Represent RamQuest, we brainstormed possible tasks that would be simple enough to create and allow our customers to execute, while also achieving our program's goals.

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We called these tasks "Quests" and created a spreadsheet to track our bounty of ideas, all six of them. Seriously, we thought we wanted our customers to do so many things, until we tried to write them down. Still, we filled out that spreadsheet with each quest's copy, links, completion points and any badges they'd receive.

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Next came the fun part. We outlined the journey, from initial invitation through registration and program participation, to tracking and reporting - with a focus on using as much of the Eloqua marketing cloud as possible.

 

Back in excel, we created a leader board to track each advocate?s progress. From here, we moved into Eloqua to create emails, forms, landing pages, auto-responders, and segments, automating all we could. We were proud thieves! We integrated Represent RamQuest into Sales Force so our sales and support teams could identify advocates easily, and we created a space in our website?s secured area. Title Agents frequent this space to update their software and find other resources, so this was a great way to remind them of advocate activities and invite new customers to join!

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Finally, we were ready. Wondering if we'd risked imprisonment for nothing, we clicked send on our first batch of invitations. We sent 832 emails, which 55 customers opened, and by the end of the first week we had 16 advocates! Twice a month we send out Quest emails, reusing no more than two quests from a previous mailing. We update our leader board weekly, with plans to develop one board that updates automatically.

 

Now that we're a few months in, the program is running fairly smoothly, despite its rather nefarious beginning. We've received great feedback from customers involved in Represent RamQuest, and they have a fun rivalry going for the top position on the leader board each week. We learned that Title Agents respond most easily to liking social channels and form submits, especially if an industry-hot button drives the content. We're up to almost thirty advocates, who have increased our social media interaction by over 205%. We've even been able to add eight people to our references roster! Crime might not always pay, but we certainly advocate its success this time!