Advocacy marketing encourages your most engaged customers to promote your product through referrals, testimonials, survey participation, user-generated content, and community management.
A well-executed advocacy marketing program will increase brand awareness, decrease customer acquisition costs, provide invaluable feedback to improve your product and boost customer lifetime value.
For example, Mulesoft, the world’s leading API (Application Programming Interface) management platform, runs a mentorship program to incentivize their most engaged users to advocate for Mulesoft and contribute to the Mulesoft community.
Community members and advocates have created over 3,000 pieces of content, including seven books for Mulesoft.
You need a concrete process for identifying, gathering, and monitoring your brand advocates to achieve similar results. This is where solid customer advocacy software can streamline and scale your process.
Below are the top advocate marketing software providers. But before we get to the suggestions, let’s talk about what to look for when assessing the best tool for your business.
What is customer advocacy software, and what should you look for?
Customer advocacy software, also known as referral marketing or advocacy marketing software, is a tool that helps you turn customers into spokespeople for your brand. It streamlines identifying satisfied customers, collecting testimonials and reviews, monitoring advocate interactions, sharing company information with advocates, and incentivizing customers for their advocacy.
That said, you don’t necessarily need customer advocacy software to execute all of the above activities — especially if you’re already deeply integrated with existing tools that can handle parts of the process.
Here’s an example of an advocacy campaign from start to finish, along with a sample tech stack:
- Identifying satisfied customers: Use a customer feedback platform like Typeform or reviewflowz to collect customer feedback and ratings. The most common practice for SaaS companies is to start your campaign with an NPS survey to determine your promotors — the perfect candidates for becoming advocates.
- Gathering testimonials, reviews, or recommendations: Set up a review collection campaign using a tool like reviewflowz. Create personalized email templates and forms to encourage customers to leave reviews on platforms like Google or industry-specific review sites like Capterra, G2, and Trustpilot.
- Monitoring advocate interactions: Use a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to monitor advocate activities, including sharing content or referring new customers. You can also use a tool like reviewflowz to track reviews and testimonials submitted to third-party platforms within your team’s Slack channel. These tools provide analytics to measure the impact of advocacy efforts.
- Sharing company information with advocates: Use an email marketing platform like Brevo or Mailerlite to share updates on new products or features, exclusive offers, and relevant content with advocates. Segment your advocate list to ensure targeted communication.
- Incentivizing customers for advocacy: Implement a customer rewards program using a tool like ReferralCandy or Referral Factory. Offer rewards, discounts, or exclusive access to special events or content to incentivize customers for their advocacy.
Now that you have a better grasp on the workflow let’s review the best customer advocacy software platforms to see which tool best handles the steps in your advocacy marketing campaigns.
Reputation management and messaging for local businesses
Birdeye is a robust customer advocacy software that uses conversational messaging to encourage customers to leave reviews and make referrals. Automation is made easy with the ability to send messages across various channels from a single inbox.
Additionally, Birdeye offers messaging features for loyalty and retention — like sending customer surveys and incentivized referral campaigns. Its user-friendly dashboard allows for detailed tracking of customers’ advocacy activities.
While Birdeye offers powerful functionalities, it comes at a premium price. The Standard Plan starts at $349/month per location, while the Professional Plan is priced at $449/month per location. The Professional Plan doesn’t include features such as surveys, insights, benchmarking, and ticketing.
#2 Referral Factory
Plug-and-play referral program software
Referral Factory is a ready-to-use software to build and track your customer referral program with ease. It seamlessly integrates with popular CRMs like HubSpot, Stripe, Pipedrive, Intercom, Zoho, Salesforce, and more.
You can choose from over 100 referral program templates or create your own. The software offers multiple referral rewards and incentives to motivate your customers. Plus, there’s no coding required, making it incredibly user-friendly.
Capterra users mentioned that navigating the more complex settings could be challenging for those who are less tech-savvy. While the setup process is generally smooth, understanding your requirements is crucial for proper configuration.
Pricing for Referral Factory starts at $95 per month, which includes 500 users and one campaign. The Basic plan is priced at $200 per month and consists of 20,000 users and referral analytics. The Pro plan is available for $400 per month and includes 40,000 users, white labeling, and a custom domain.
High-converting review and testimonial collection for SaaS companies
Reviewflowz is a versatile customer advocacy software providing comprehensive control over feedback and data. You can create effective review generation campaigns through emails and links, guiding customers to a testimonial collection form. Based on specific criteria, you can direct customers to leave reviews on platforms such as G2, Gartner Peer Insights, Capterra, Trustradius, and more.
Additionally, you can strategically balance your reviews across different platforms to align with your business goals and dynamics. For example, you can direct specific customers to third-party platforms depending on your objectives and the value of their reviews to your business.
Beyond its testimonial collection capabilities, reviewflowz is an effective review monitoring platform. You can search and pull reviews from any public review listing, which is essential for identifying potential brand advocates.
Reviewflowz offers a 14-day free trial, enabling you to explore its features and track up to 10 listings. With Premium plans starting at $50/month, you gain access to multiple channels, API and CSV exports, webhooks, and the ability to send new testimonials or reports to different services.
Full-service customer advocacy software through gamification and rewards
By leveraging gamification, Influitive creates a rewarding experience for advocates while deepening every customer relationship.
With Influitive, you can discover new advocates and build data-rich profiles on each, allowing you to gather valuable zero-party data and learn how and when to engage them on their terms.
Additionally, Influitive facilitates the gathering of referrals and integration with nurture campaigns. Members can refer their peers directly or share personalized links, and every new referral is automatically pushed into your CRM or Multichannel Marketing Hub. This streamlines lead generation and allows members to track each milestone.
While Influitive offers valuable functionality, G2 users have expressed that the UX experience could be improved — suggesting that the platform’s code requires an overall refresh.
Regarding pricing, Influitive falls on the higher end than other tools on this list. The Customer Advocacy Plan starts at $1,999/month, while the digital community plan starts at $3,499/month.
Reputation marketing software for local businesses
NiceJob provides tools to encourage customer advocacy by facilitating review collection and referral activities. You can send customer reviews and referral invitations on platforms like Google, Facebook, and industry review sites. NiceJob also offers widgets to showcase top reviews on your website and social media.
NiceJob offers a free plan, a good entry point for collecting and sharing reviews. The Grow Plan, priced at $75/month, enables you to automate advocacy campaigns. Additionally, NiceJob offers the Grow + Sites Plan, which costs $174/month and a $399 setup fee. This plan provides an agency-like service to build your website optimized for local SEO.
Customer advocacy platform for enterprise
Extole is a turn-key brand advocacy platform that helps large companies through customer-led marketing. As a premium service, Extole has many features, including refer-a-friend, drop-a-hint, ambassador portals, landing pages, friends and family, and sweepstakes. Additionally, Extole offers detailed advocate profiles, allowing you to identify the referrers who generate the most revenue.
Extole’s solution is designed specifically for enterprises. They provide personalized support through dedicated account representatives to ensure a one-to-one experience. However, some users on G2 have mentioned that the interface can be challenging when searching for customer rewards.
Unfortunately, Extole doesn’t provide specific pricing information on its website.
More info on NiceJobMore info on Extole
#7 Referral Rock
End-to-end referral program tool
Referral Rock is an all-in-one referral marketing platform that allows you to launch an advocate program quickly and easily without developers. The brand ambassador solution gives you control over your program design, advocate communication, payouts, incentives, and rewards.
Referral Rock reduces friction for new advocates with its One Click Access Link. This means ambassadors can start referring without registration or passwords, making it effortless to get started.
While Referral Rock offers plenty of integrations, users on Capterra have mentioned limitations in external integration capabilities, including restrictions in passing certain types of data to external CRMs like opt-outs.
Referral Rock offers different pricing plans to meet the needs of businesses. The Starter plan starts at $200/month and includes 10,000 members and concierge onboarding. The Growth plan, priced at $400/month, offers additional features such as a HubSpot integration, a custom domain, and built-in gift card rewards. The Established Business Plan, priced at $800/month, provides a Salesforce integration, a dedicated account manager, unlimited audit logs, and more.
#8 Annex Cloud
Sophisticated loyalty programs for enterprise businesses
Annex Cloud enables you to create an advocacy network by welcoming new customers and incentivizing their referrals. Referred customers receive custom communications with easy access to your brand, driving purchases for target products, categories, or sales channels. Codes and coupons can be redeemed online or in-store, creating a network of referrals.
Annex Cloud provides comprehensive revenue and ROI reporting, including referral channels, orders, conversion rates, and direct revenue. You also have control over the program’s rules and multiple fraud protection methods to prevent gaming the system.
Multiple products must be purchased to use all the Annex Cloud advocacy features. Also, its white-label structure is designed for large businesses.
Pricing information for this product is unavailable, but a demo can be requested.
Dedicated advocacy marketing platform for small businesses
Zuberance is a advocate marketing solution that helps you to effortlessly connect with potential and current advocates through various channels like email, social media, online communities, account portals, in-product features, and text/SMS. You can invite potential customer advocates to join your programs on the Zuberance platform.
Advocates can access a portal customized for your brand to create and share content, such as reviews, stories, testimonials, and videos, and make referrals. Zuberance includes custom widgets that make it easy for ambassadors to publish and share their content, as well as your brand’s content and offers, across third-party sites and their own social channels.
Zuberance doesn’t offer integration with CRM services, so direct communication with advocates may be difficult.
Zuberance hasn’t disclosed pricing information for their product or service. You need to book a demo and go through sales to get plans.
eCommerce referral program software
ReferralCandy is a user-friendly tool designed to drive customer advocacy through referrals for ecommerce businesses. It offers integration with Shopify or BigCommerce stores, simple email integration through checkout page tracking code, and custom developer integration options for more advanced needs.
Additionally, with ReferralCandy, you can track referred purchases, manage referral fraud, access data-driven insights, and provide a tailored brand experience.
ReferralCandy is made for ecommerce businesses and may not be suitable if you have a multi-step sales processes. Also, ReferralCandy charges a commission on every sale in addition to the monthly fees for using the software, so costs can add up quickly.
The Premium plan starts at $59/month, plus a 3.5% commission fee. This plan includes unlimited customers and access to reporting. The Plus plan costs $299/month, plus a 1.5% commission fee. It provides a dedicated account manager and a reduced commission fee.