Posted: 21 Oct 2016 Contributor: Edward Costa
10 Referral Marketing Practices for eCommerce Startups
When a new brick-and-mortar business opens, they’re likely to make an announcement with visible street signs and perhaps even an opening sale to entice you to check it out. Visitors are able to check out a new place, try something new or experience something unique resulting in business profits. But eventually, “Grand Opening” signs have to come down, deals cannot go on forever and the new business will need to continue supporting new clientele.
This is an even greater challenge in the world of eCommerce, where countless businesses are striving to stand out and make an impact on the mind of the consumer. In order for a startup to truly prosper, they must create an eCommerce marketing strategy that’s shaped for lasting results. A well-rounded digital marketing agency for small business operations will tell you that including referrals that will greatly boost your brands exposure.
But there are many variant kinds of referrals, and sometimes relevant referrals are more difficult to come by. Here are 10 referral marketing practices that can help your startup eCommerce site get off the ground.
After Purchase Referrals and Questionnaires
Consumers have different shopping habits that either end with them making a purchase or losing interest and leaving the site. The website’s user experience (UX) can play a big role in guiding visitors towards the ideal choice, and may be the determining factor of whether or not they’ll revisit or refer a friend. A straightforward way to get the answer is by simply asking.
Consider incorporating a questionnaire asking visitors if the experience was worth sharing. These do not have to be extensive. Rather, focus on what information you really need to know. For example: Did they seek other out similar sites? Did anyone refer them? How likely are they to come back? These are simple questions that take a few seconds to answer but could provide a wealth of data and feedback.
Would you refer us? If they say yes, do not hesitate to capitalize on that and ask them do so right away with easy social icons asking them to share. This can be done through multiple channels.
A simple yet effective way to get customers to refer your business is by using email. It’s low cost, and can have a great impact on your eCommerce web development plan. Create a newsletter or sign-up subscription form where consumers can enter their email. If a new subscriber wishes to refer you, consider giving them an option to include the emails their contacts or specific people they feel would be interested in your eCommerce site.
Trust is a vital part in securing any transaction. Having someone receive an email from another person that they trust is a much better practice then partaking in cold emailing. This could also lead to deals that can easily be shared by customers.
Everyone loves a good deal. A great way to get referrals is by providing shoppers with incentives for referring their friends to your site. This provides mutual benefits for everyone involved. One friend is helping another by discovering your brand and at the same time, the two of them are reaping the benefits of an exclusive deal. It is also important to remember your star performing referrers, which leads to the next strategy.
Reward The Referrer
One referral is phenomenal but what if there was a way to get 5? How about 10? It may seem difficult but experimenting with rewards may yield the results you want. Some companies use points or exclusive deals. The most important action is to leverage those users who are already champions at finding the right people. It is a simple strategy that can be tested with in a variety of ways. From there, you can focus on getting those types of people who are dedicated to your brand to review you and extend your referral program.
According to Search Engine Land, 88% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations. So, while focusing on the trust of fellow peers is important, the trust of complete strangers proves to be just as vital. Find those who have referred you in the past and focus on platforms that many use to review. One way many people review and find new business is through social media.
The power of social media is unlike anything we have ever seen before. Consumers are quick to express their displeasure and sometimes they choose to leave something positive about a brand. Over 66% of B2C marketers say Facebook is their most effective social platform and that number is only rising. It is important to know that consumers are taking recommendations from likes, shares and even those with a great following.
As we said before, the power of social media is unmatched and influencers have a lot to do with that. They are people who are followed by many because people enjoy what they do whether it be singing, creating or simply being famous. They place a lot of trust in that person, and may even take their opinion over someone that they personally know. An influencer can skyrocket your brand as they garner many views and impressions. You can easily track the data as well. It is a simple way to get many eyeballs very quickly and this could lead to sharing of content and referrals whether it is yours or not.
A digital marketing agency for small business practices will provide a business with blogs and other content that can easily be digested by users. While it is important to post this content on multiple channels it is important to find and create content that users will share and talk about.
As noted before, consumers trust other consumers, by having them share anything you are doing this gives the notion that they trust and would recommend you. Strive to create compelling content that is engaging, resourceful and creative.
Do Not Be Afraid To Be Creative
If there is no risk, then there will no reward. Users are now more than ever bombarded by a constant stream of content from various sources. It is completely necessary to create something that will separate you from everyone else. Anything that you wish to share to anyone must be uniquely different and show that you are uniquely different from everyone else. Your strategy should reflect this as well. Do not be afraid to think outside the box, or rather inside the box like Foursquare did.
The social media application rose to new heights when they went to the popular South-By-Southwest festival equipped with rubber balls and chalk. They brought in thousands of walk-up participants to play the classic schoolyard game of Foursquare. There were lines to play and Foursquare representatives took time to show how to use the application and the benefits of its “check-in” function. They even thanked people with stickers, buttons and even shirts.
Thank You Is In Order
After any purchase or even visit, a simple “Thank you” can go much farther then you think. It humanizes your brand, shows that you do care about the consumer and wish to express it. This is different then rewards because this comes from a place of pure gratitude. There is no hidden agenda with a “Thank you” and consumers pick this up right away. Politeness and sincerity shines a light on your brand that will bring consumers’ back and that in turn will get them to talk about you.
There are plenty of ways to utilize referral marketing and developing it into your entire marketing strategy. F, from email referrals to influencers on social media. Remember that trust is a critical part of referral marketing, and everyone expects to spend their hard-earned money on somewhere they trust and confine too. To truly have your startup skyrocket, you must first find the people who will spread it for you.