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Attracting and retaining buyers is no easy feat. If it was, we’d all be millionaires. After all, today’s consumers are pretty savvy and no longer fall for the typical “sales pitch” that used to work. In fact, many people rely on the recommendations of their peers and word of mouth to help guide their decision making.

Recommendations from other people remain some of the most trusted sources of information for buyers. According to a survey from Nielsen, 82% of respondents in North America believe that consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising - way more so than display ads, branded websites, and TV product placements. As such, today’s brands are being forced to revisit their existing marketing strategies to figure out a way to nurture these brand evangelists.

Given the power of third-party recommendations, many companies are turning to brand influencers, or loyal customers who advocate on behalf of the company. Influencer marketing has become an integral part in many businesses’ marketing strategies. In fact, B2B and B2C companies across all verticals and markets are launching brand influencer marketing campaigns.

Rather than aggressively target consumers, this form of marketing concentrates on reaching out to the individuals who have influence over your target audience due to existing relationships and peer credibility. After all, consumers are much more likely to pay close attention and listen to a respected colleague than a company that appears to just be focused on quick, impersonal sales pitches.

Typically, brand influencers evangelize on the behalf of a company simply because they believe in the organization’s product and values. So how can you give back and thank your brand influencers for promoting your business? Below are different ways in which you can show proper appreciation to your brand advocates.

1. Give Them Sneak Peeks

Do you have a new product feature you’re going to release or an upcoming webinar you’re hosting? People love feeling like they have the exclusive “inside scoop” into a company’s happenings, and your brand influencers are no different. Before you release company news to the masses, give your brand influencers the news first. You may even want to beta a new functionality with them or give them exclusive access to a marketing event before the public.

2. Keep in Constant Communication

One of the reasons why your influencers promote your brand graciously is because they feel a connection with your company. Keep that bond strong by staying in constant communication with your brand advocates. Specifically, you can explore the notion of creating and distributing a separate newsletter that features exclusive content, such as tips and tricks, company updates, and more. You can also make it a point to schedule regular phone calls to check in with these influencers.

3. Send an Old-Fashioned 'Thank You'

In our digital age, snail mail stands out. Let your influencers know that you are truly grateful for all that they do to drive awareness and champion your brand on social media, review websites, blogs, and more by sending them a personal, handwritten “thank you.” Doing so will demonstrate that your company specially recognizes the people who help raise your brand’s awareness, as well as make them feel included and appreciated.

4. Help Increase Influencers' Recognition

Besides expressing gratitude to your influencers on a personal level, you can also give them “shout outs” to publically acknowledge their dedication and loyalty to your brand. Simultaneously thank your brand influencers by including them in your social media posts and show your followers that you’ve got brand evangelists by your side. After all, today’s buyers trust peer reviews and customer feedback the most when it comes to making purchasing decisions. If you have brand loyalists on your side, then your potential buyers might be inclined to trust your business.

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