The Top Review Platforms - And Why We Love Them
If you have a consumer-focused business and are not using referral marketing you are missing out. Did you know that people are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend? Meaning, referral marketing has the potential to help grow because it uses the power of your own customers to do the talking for you. Not only that but it makes you customers feel a part of a community, which is a total PLUS! Referral marketing is a super power for your email programs. In this episode, I talk about some of the benefits referral marketing can bring your business as well as our favorite tools to work with - and your email.
Have questions after the episode? Send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Top Review Platforms - And Why We Love Them
I have been obsessing a bit about our customers. How do we create that culture within our brands? One big way is to have a referral program in place. Seriously, you need one. What leads to better ROI, and it's easier than generating leads from scratch? Referral marketing, of course. There are many benefits of referral marketing for your business. A referral program can help optimize your sales cycle, help you produce quality leads and take your marketing efforts up a notch.
Many businesses turn to referral marketing because they want to expand their reach. They know their customers can market to potential leads far more successfully than they can, which is one of the benefits of referral marketing. It also dives into social media marketing, which sells a behavior or lifestyle. Nielsen found that people are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. Meaning, referral marketing has the potential to help grow because it uses the power of your customers to do the talking for you. They are creating a sense of trust before the purchase is made.
As you will see, the benefits of referral marketing are incredible. Here's why. It enables word of mouth to happen. This is your doorway to new customers. That personal recommendation for your business acts as one of the best advertisements and builds trust, not to mention that it is a free lead. Word of mouth can activate referral loops, which can cut down on your customer acquisition costs.
Built-in target audience. A person will ask their friend for advice on a problem they need to solve. Often, this brings up a specific brand or product. For example, a neighbor might talk about needing a good landscaper. You might know of a landscaping business and recommend them to your neighbor. Meaning, you have sent that landscaping company someone in their target audience and likely a qualified lead.
A referral is an owned paid-per-performance channel. Owned channels can be a good extension of your brand. We see this with email. This is because they create even more ways for customers to interact with you. You have built your referral program and nurtured them to grow. As an owned channel, you are providing a more authentic channel that helps convert, whether or not you offer an incentive for referrals, you have complete control over what you pay for. You only pay per performance. Meaning, your customers can share and promote your business all over but you only pay for leads that convert. This is such a good benefit.
Also, loyal customers multiply. It's a lot easier to gain and keep a lead through your customer’s inner circles than it is to acquire a single new customer. A referral request creates a sense of trust, and that can create loyal customers. Referred customers are a whopping 16% to 24% more loyal on average than others. It’s a no-brainer. Not only are leads more prone to staying loyal but your customer is, too. They now have an incentive to purchase from you in the future and possibly even refer you more down the road.
Lastly, referral marketing is a channel for engagement. Anytime you have the opportunity to connect with customers, you should take it upon yourself. This is because building up your customer relationships is essential in becoming a referrable business. Referral marketing programs allow you to use relationship marketing. Referral marketing enables you to build a Rolodex of customers who will speak on your behalf, and allow you to measure and see certain behavior metrics. All of which enable you to build the perfect opportunities to remarket and promote your business. How does this create a channel of engagement to occur?
It is simply the ability where customers will continue to refer you, and then we get new loyal customers. They join your referral program, and they continue to refer you. Before you know it, 60% of your new lead acquisition is coming from referrals. It is simply a treasure trove of engagement, and it makes a community for your brands.
Referral marketing is super native to email marketing, as you probably can imagine now. Have you ever gotten an email from a company, in particular, Gap or the Banana Republic, that shows you your loyalty points as well as your referral link built to the bottom of the email? It makes it a no-brainer to share, forward the email on or simply access it at a later date. There's nothing more exciting than knowing that if I send this link to my friends, I can get some points and, in turn, some contribution to my purchase.
In my email idea episodes, I talk about running referral campaigns a lot so you can make it a whole thing. The bottom line is referral is a cost-effective superpower to your email and customer retention strategy. There are a lot of platforms out there but we have a few that we simply love. These particular platforms stand out because they integrate well with many marketing tools and provide a good user experience for your actual customers, which is probably the most important thing. By the way, these tools are cost-effective. In some cases, you can start free.
Loyal customers multiply. It's a lot easier to gain and keep a lead through your customer's inner circles than it is to acquire a single new customer.
First up is Yotpo. It started as a review platform in which they did the first review that was able to be filled out within the email itself instead of clicking a button and having to go to a separate landing page. Talk about a great experience. After acquiring Swell, they armed themselves with referral and loyalty. Firstly, their tool has the easiest integration with almost any email service provider. Once the quick integration is complete, you can access tokens inside your ESP to enable referral link population in your email, loyalty point balances, etc.
Imagine sending an email out to your customers where you can let them know how many loyalty points they have in every single email. That's the type of personalization we are looking for. That could be the difference between them purchasing that day or not purchasing that day because they understand the point value related to buying something from your brand.
The Yotpo free plan comes with fourteen reward campaigns, including points per purchase, creating an account on social, happy birthday and more. Not to mention that Yotpo makes it easy to customize, which can be one of the harder parts of implementing a referral program. For instance, if you don't want to do, "Give 10, Get 10," but you want to have more of a tiered system, Yotpo comes with a variation of ways you can customize your referral program, which is helpful.
They offer some out-of-the-box reward pop-ups as well as a variety of options for your customers to redeem their points. If you want the full suite, reviews, referral, and loyalty, Yotpo will be the best bet for you. It’s your newest revenue generator. I like to say. Next up, we have Smile.io. A lot of our Shopify customers that also use Klaviyo use Smile.io. This is a referral loyalty tool only, unlike Yotpo, which incorporates a lot of user-generated content mediums like reviews.
Like Yotpo, Smile is easy to use and integrate. It has tokens similar to Yotpo, just not as many options. One of the benefits of Smile is you can reward your customers for actions such as signing up for purchases, newsletter subscriptions, social sharing. If they give a review, you can leverage almost any action, customer tokens, and provide points. I like on Smile how many out-of-the-box options there are to focus on every touchpoint in the customer journey. It's almost as if you are creating an immersive experience.
Smile comes with over twenty out-of-the-box customer actions, such as rewarding customers on their birthdays, anniversary, email referrals, and so many more. This is another good feature. The Smile.io dashboard makes launching a beautiful and customizable rewards program easy, too. It just takes a few clicks. Retailers, for instance, can start rewarding customers for purchases, social media sharing and product reviews. The list goes on.
Thanks to app integrations with Mailchimp and Klaviyo, Smile users can easily engage program members and entice participation. Like Yotpo, you can show those point balances on customer emails. If you want to get started and laser-focused on referral only, Smile is the place to start. The best part about Smile is it can scale from a small business all the way up to an enterprise.
Yotpo and Smile are both great. They are powerful tools. I tend to definitely go with Yotpo if you don't already have a review program started. That way, you can get everything all in one. If you want also to give referral a try and see how it goes, Smile is a great way to start. One thing to be cautious about for both tools is that they have a ton of bells and whistles that will cause you to have to upgrade. We always recommend that my clients exhaust and see some of the ROI on the free or basic plan before moving into a higher tier in which they may not even be at the point in their business to touch those shiny new gadgets.
Like an email program, until you have mastered the foundations, we don't want to go into hyper-personalization and segmentation. In this case, let's do some basic things to see, is your audience interested in referral programs? Can we get them signed up? Can we get them to refer to people? We can then start to say, “How do we take our referral program to the next level.”
Trying to stay within that free or basic plan is super important. If you are not doing referrals, it is time to get started. Seriously, it is a no-brainer and doesn't require a ton of work once it is set up. It makes your customers work for you, and they are happy to do it. Let me know if I can help answer any more questions about referrals, tools, etc. Please send them to Conversations@EmailGrowthSociety.com. Until next time, happy emailing everyone.