Growth marketers today have unprecedented access to customer insights, and we are awash in metrics and data. We have become more analytic than ever in our quest to understand the efficacy of marketing programs.

Data can yield understanding of buyer behavior and sales funnels, but rarely can data actively help you woo and retain more customers. However, there is one metric your company is already capturing that can be your secret weapon for brand growth.

Net Promoter Score” – or NPS – is the metric of choice for measuring customer happiness. It’s the one simple question that more than two-thirds of the Fortune 500 ask their customers: “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”

While NPS appears deceptively simple, savvy growth marketers know that it certainly packs a punch. When marketers are able to easily identify their happiest customers, an army of brand advocates can seamlessly be activated.

Find Your Loyalists

Here is how it works.

Customers respond to that single NPS survey question on a continuum scale of 0 to 10:
In-app Net Promoter Score Survey

This is followed by an open-ended feedback question such as, “Thank you. Care to tell us why?” Promoters often leave testimonials.

In-app Net Promoter Score survey - Feedback Screen

Based on their numeric response, customers are placed in one of three categories: promoters, passives, and detractors.

  • Promoters (9, 10) are loyal consumer advocates, ready and willing to sing your praises.
  • Passives (7,8) are those who are content, but not enthusiastic, and are easily wooed by the competition.
  • Detractors (0-6) are people who have found reason to dislike your company and/or your product.

Calculating the percentage difference between your Promoters and Detractors yields your Net Promoter Score, an excellent metric for measuring loyalty.

Net Promoter Score Calculation

Crafting Your Advocacy Plan

In the age of social marketing, an advocacy plan can help you magnify Promoters and reduce your cost of acquisition. Brand advocacy shouldn’t be limited to B2C businesses either. In fact, 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making their buying decision.

Because businesses today do their research, recommendations from colleagues or peers have become a key influencer in purchasing decisions. It’s necessary then, to trigger support from happy customers through social channels, review sites and testimonials on your own website.

David Hassell, CEO of 15Five, recognized NPS data was a good method of identifying B2B promoters. He was drawn to the single question NPS survey as a lean tool for classifying users as promoters, passives or detractors, and gathering actionable product feedback from all three groups.

Through an integration with its customer support platform, Intercom, 15Five actively reaches out to promoters once they’ve been identified.

“We were featured on a major startup website a while back, and it was like we were commanding an army of promoters to spread the word and get people interested in reading the story. We started by notifying the 10s, then sent in the 9s, then we unleashed the 8s. It was extremely effective and incredibly fun.”


Other Ideas for Activating Your Brand Advocates

Surveys are typically used to tell you something you don’t already know. But, they can also be used to reinforce a responder’s own beliefs. It has to do with Cialdini’s “principle of consistency,” that “Once people make a choice/take a stand, they will encounter interpersonal pressure to behave consistently with what they have previously said or done.” Once you state your intention, position, or belief, the pressure is on to maintain it.

With NPS surveys, you have the chance to reinforce positive beliefs. When you send the NPS survey, you’re asking the recipients to take a stand on how they feel about their experiences with your business. When they score a 9 or 10 on the question “How likely are you to recommend this product…” and leave glowing feedback, they will feel more inclined to be consistent with that statement by actually promoting you! But, you have to make it easy for them.

In the heat of the moment, fresh from a positive experience, most of us would be very likely to recommend the product or service to a friend or colleague. But people get distracted, so helping them take action by automating an ask in that moment will go a long way.

Newly minted promoters – those who have just scored a 9 or 10 – are most likely to take action in the heat of the moment.

Take advantage of their enthusiasm by implementing simple automated ‘asks’ that pop-up on survey completion, including:

  • Inviting them to Tweet their comment with one-click
  • Liking you on Facebook
  • Joining your referral program (you can build a personal referral link in the survey itself)
  • Sending an email that includes a shareable link to a discount code for friends and colleagues
  • Asking them for an App Store review (mobile apps)

By taking the survey and scoring a 9 or 10, your promoters have already reinforced their original positive experience. But, by asking them to be consistent with their positive evaluation by actively promoting you, you’re also asking them to reinforce their positive feelings for you yet again.

You might be surprised at how many raving fans are just waiting to be told how they can help your business grow (they’re rooting for you!).

When you give them easily-accessible channels to spread the word and present a set of ‘next actions,’ you’ll be leveraging their passion in no time.

Activating NPS-Promoters with Referral Screen

Nurture the Relationship

While follow-up communications (called “closing the loop”) are vital for passives and detractors – you have to solve their problems if possible, or at least show you care – they’re also important for strengthening your relationships with your promoters. After the survey interaction, you have a golden opportunity to nurture these connections.

The follow-up communication you send can include invitations to do more  — follow your social media accounts, join your referral program, and share discounts with friends and colleagues – but most importantly, they have to show genuine appreciation for the customer. Try one of these:

  • Offer temporary/promotional free upgrades (your promoters are the most likely customers to benefit from expanded services, and are the most likely to buy more and make repeat purchases, so this gives you a jump start on that up-sell).
  • Offer discounts on purchases made within the next 30 days (this encourages them to act when they’re fresh from their positive experience, and you’re still top-of-mind).
  • Invite them to join a private Facebook group made up of other fans of your business where they can share insights, weigh in on questions, and act as a ready-made focus group for your next big idea (all while deepening their sense of personal connection with your brand).

Notice that all of these appreciative acts also ask for further interaction, deepening the relationship. Right now, you have an opportunity to build on a very positive foundation – use it.


NPS is your secret weapon

Understanding analytics up and down the funnel can become incredibly complex. Slicing into endless data sets can actually be disadvantageous when it takes focus away from engaging with your most valuable customers.

Whether you set up a full-blown brand advocacy program or simply ask for a referral, be sure to leverage your Net Promoter Score program to identify and activate an army of brand promoters.

NPS is the one metric that can help you reduce your marketing costs and drive growth!