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Increase Your Referrals With Word Of Mouth Marketing
With less than a month to go to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, your projected ad spends may be starting to alarm you. Or maybe you’re just straight up terrified. We get it. It’s an intense time of year.
So, this week at Banners Mall we’re looking at a strategy that can help you generate highly qualified leads for a fraction of the cost of your other brand awareness strategies. We’re talking about referral marketing. Also known as WOMM (aka word of mouth marketing). Or win-win-win marketing.
As in, you get free marketing just for being awesome, your customer gets social validation for sharing something great, and their network gets a solid recommendation about a product or service they need.
With all of the effort you’re putting into engagement, retargeting, and conversions right now, wouldn’t it be amazing to multiply the result.
Well, guess what? You can.
Buyer Journeys Have Changed
Gone are the days when marketers could target their customers along linear journeys from awareness, to consideration to purchase. According to Google’s study of thousands of users’ clickstream data, “…no two journeys are exactly alike, and in fact, most journeys don’t resemble a funnel at all. They look like pyramids, diamonds, hourglasses, and more.”
Customers are showing intent throughout every stage of their journey. And they’re eager to immerse themselves in the experience of the products and services they are looking to purchase, before they even do. This is where you come in.
You may not be able to anticipate exactly how consumers will engage with your brand but you can make more relevant, trustworthy and engaging content available to them. Like referrals!
Consumers Trust Each Other
Consumers are increasingly exercising their power to view only the types of content they wish to see. Statista’s research shows that 24.4% of U.S. internet users blocked ads on their connected devices in 2016. This figure is projected to grow to 30.1 percent in 2018.
So, what’s a marketer to do? You can’t just up and give up on your display ads. But you can develop better strategies for targeting your customers in meaningful ways.
According to the Spiegel Research Centre the purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than the purchase likelihood of a product with no reviews.
Sounds about right. With so much information to wade through when making a purchase decision, reviews can go a long way. Especially when it’s from someone you trust.
Word Of Mouth Marketing
Nielson’s study on global trust in advertising has found that consumer opinions posted online are the third most trusted advertising format. This is behind branded websites and the most trusted form of advertising—recommendations from friends and family.
If you’re not already getting reviews from customers, it’s easy enough to prompt them. Just a follow up message after a purchase will do the trick. And it only takes a few reviews to make a big impact. Most of the increase in purchase likelihood occurs within the first 10 reviews. The first five make the biggest impact.
Now when it comes to getting recommendations? Not as straightforward, but oh, so rewarding.
Be Intentional About Referrals
What would you rather be doing than chasing customers? How about developing new product lines? Scaling your company? How about adding new revenue streams?
All of the above? Yup, us too.
Referral marketing allows you to spend less time, energy and money on customer acquisition and more time on building your business. It also allows you to strengthen your relationships with existing clients as you incentivize them to become your brand advocates.
The payoff is the lifetime value of a customer and the amount you would have spent acquiring them. Funds which you can reinvest into more marketing and sales or simply consider additional revenue.
Sounds great right? And it can be. As long as you’re consistent and intentional about it. You can be amazing at what you do, and your customers might love that and share their great experiences. But they also might forget to. Don’t leave your growth to chance.
Referral Marketing 101: Incentivize You Customers
First thing’s first. Decide on the incentives that will be a part of your referral program. Because givers get. It’s a simple sentiment that goes a long way.
You give your customers a reason to become your brand advocates when you provide them with great products and great service. And you can give them a reason to make referrals by offering them something in return.
This could be a one-time discount off of their next order or an ongoing cut of the profits generated by a referral for a set period of time. Consider which incentives are the most likely to drive the results that you’re looking for.
Incentivizing your customers doesn’t just pay off in one-time new business. Customers acquired by way of referrals have higher retention rates. This is because your customers are referring their friends, family members and colleagues who are most likely to use and benefit from your products. This kind of specific targeting is incredibly valuable as it will lead you to some of your best and most loyal customers.
Get Your Messaging Right
You can use multiple touchpoints to let your customers know of your referral program. Actually, scratch that. You should be using more than one touchpoint to let your customers know of your referral program.
Add your compelling designs and text copy about your program to every part of your user experience.
Newsletters, blogs, emails, email signatures and your website header and/or footer are just a few places you can start with. Be sure to align them with key moments in your customer’s interactions with you (e.g. sending an email after successfully completing a project, or reminding a recurring customer, in between billing cycles, that they can get a percentage off their next bill with a referral).
Keep the copy concise, the value proposition clear, and the call to action simple. We can help.
Find Your Influencers
No two clients are created equally. We all know this. Their needs are different, their projects have different requirements and their budgets will vary too.
But when it comes to your referral marketing, the differentiating element you really want to zero in on are the size, and quality of their personal and professional networks. Take a look at their social media and blog followings, as well as their domain authority to figure out how much social clout they have. This way you’ll know who you want to target with specific asks.
Script The Referral Content
Give your brand advocates guidelines and a few templates to help them make referrals. This way you can be sure that they’re hitting all your most relevant value propositions and including any key success metrics.
The easier you make this for your customers, the more likely they are to help you with your referral marketing.
Going Beyond Emails
Creating shareable content that includes the details of your referral program is another effective approach to employ. Find content that worked well in your industry, improve the content and promote it.
Oberlo provides a great 4 step process for this:
#1. Find content that has performed well in your industry using the Ahrefs Content Explorer
#2. Improve the content by analyzing what works and what doesn’t.
#3. Promote it strategically (e.g. on Facebook and LinkedIn groups, answer questions on Quora or share on forums, tap into individuals with emails lists.)
Content Explorer’s “Who Tweeted” button is another great resource. Using that you’ll be able to find who’s shared the content you’re trying to replicate, and you’ll be able to develop a persona for a target audience or influencer.
#4. Leverage the power of influencers and the opportunity to get an endorsement from someone who already has an influence over your target audience.
Monitor And Optimize Your Referrals
While referral marketing may require very little when it comes to budget, it’s still crucial to monitor and optimize so you can realize its full potential.
Consider ways to automate and track your referral marketing before you launch. Software like Viral Loops, Friendbuy, and Extole can help you create a process through which you can monitor, track, test and incentivize referrals.
Using the right tools, you’ll be able to determine the optimal way in which to scale your referral marketing program.
Start With The Extra Mile
No one likes buyer’s remorse. And these days customers will do anything to avoid it, by researching the products they’ll buy extensively.
“If you can play to the research-obsessed person’s needs, you can be assistive in a way that gets them excited, relieves their anxiety, and pulls them into your experience so they don’t choose another.” – Lisa Gevelber, VP, Marketing for the Americas at Google
This is why great referral marketing begins with a great product, exceptional customer service, and consistent repeatable processes that allow your customers to count on you.
You’ve got to give your customers something to rave about. And when you do, that’s when you’ll build an engaged community rather than one-off buyers.