Referral

How Customer Insight Can Boost Referral Marketing Effectiveness

How Customer Insight Can Boost Referral Marketing Effectiveness written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

We all know that word-of-mouth is one of the best drivers of new customers.

The problem is, most referral marketing systems are based on best-practice advice that quickly becomes stale.

But referral marketing is important. According to research conducted by Heinz Marketing, 71% of companies report a higher number of conversions with a referral program.

Where most companies fall flat, however, is in understanding their customers. They create referral systems that focus on tools, not a strategy informed by customer insight. In business, we have access to so much data but hardly ever use it.

So, how can you create a referral marketing strategy that offers incentives? What can you do to make your program one that customers are thrilled to be a part of?

In this article, we’re going to outline the importance of customer insight to inform your referral strategy. We’ll also look for the kind of insight you should be looking for and how to use it to optimize your referral strategy.

The Data/Insight Gap

By 2020, more than 50 billion smart connected devices will exist in the world (Cisco).

Samsung has developed a smart fridge that lets you order stocked groceries from its touch screen. The Amazon Dash brings ordering supplies at the touch of a button, literally. These will all become sources of customer data these brands can execute upon.

Whether you’re in the SaaS, e-commerce and app industries, or even a brick-and-mortar business – the amount of data becoming available presents both a challenge and a great opportunity. This infographic from IBM illustrates the situation well:

How Customer Insight Can Boost Referral Marketing Effectiveness

But before you can use the customer data available to you, you need to understand what you want from it. What is its true value?

These principles can be applied to all forms of marketing. But for the sake of this article, we’ll focus on your referral strategy.

First, understand the context. What are you trying to achieve? Is it more sign ups to your referral program, or more revenue per new customer? What’s the key goal?

You must also define the specific needs that are going to be addressed. In this case, we’re looking at stronger conversions and more sales over a defined period.

Understanding the answers to these questions will help you use your data in an intelligent manner, in all areas of business.

When improving the effectiveness of referral marketing, these are the insights you should look for:

What your customers truly care about

Giving a % discount or cash rewards for your customers inviting their friends works great. But it’s not always the most effective way of doing things.

Take Harrys for example. When launching their shaving subscription service, they created a list that customers could sign up for to receive updates:

How Customer Insight Can Boost Referral Marketing Effectiveness

Here’s the twist: On the other side of that email subscription gate was a gamified referral system. Subscribers could invite their friends to join the list, receiving bigger and better rewards the more people they got to sign up:

How Customer Insight Can Boost Referral Marketing Effectiveness

The result? Over 100,000 email subscribers to reach out to on launch day.

They could have given discounted product, but instead, they saw the value in a new customer and were willing to give free products away in exchange for it.

And by giving free products, they attracted an audience who were genuinely interested in what they were offering.

The same can work for your business. Find out what your most popular products are and offer them for free in exchange for inviting their friends.

Use customer development principles, speaking to your customers in person, to learn more about this. Find out why they’re jazzed about doing business with you and offer them more of that.

For a more scalable approach, use surveys. If you’re in the e-commerce space or sell any form of product online (digital or physical), use the data available to you to yield customer intelligence.

How much do people spend with you? What categories do they mostly shop in? How frequently do they shop?

Take the answers to these questions and let them inform the referral rewards you offer.

Discover who your best customers are

Identifying your top performing products is one thing. But have you ever thought of finding your “top performing customers”?

In business, the 80/20 rule is everywhere. A certain percentage of your customers will generate the majority of your revenue.

It would make sense to focus on these keen buyers as targets for your referral marketing program. The question is, how do we find them?

Customer intelligence can help you take customer data and turn them into profiles. This will give you an exact understanding of how your customers are interacting with your business, website or store and turn them into actionable insights.

For example, let’s say you want to find customers who purchased from you more than 5 times over the last month. With customer intelligence, you can segment these customers and tailor your messaging to them.

Those who buy from you most frequently are more likely to spread the word. In fact, they likely already have done. You just might not know it yet.

Here’s an example of what a customer profile looks like, based on real-time data:

Tools & organizational buy-in

Knowing the importance of data and customer insight is one thing. Getting everybody on your team to buy-in is another challenge.

It’s clear that the data-insight gap is a problem beyond marketing. But when it comes to referral strategy specifically it can gain huge wins, fast.

So, start with your marketing team. Get them on board and believing in what data can do for them. Show them what data you have access to and how it can benefit word-of-mouth for your business.

Implementation is easy with the right tools. To get an understanding of your customers, there’s Woopra. For referral marketing, ReferralCandy is a powerful digital tool that’s easy to set up and integrate with your current systems.

How Customer Insight Can Boost Referral Marketing Effectiveness

If you’re in the “brick-and-mortar” space, Belly provides a comprehensive customer loyalty system. Their system provides your customers with digital loyalty cards, tracking all of your most loyal customers buying behavior.

Conclusion

Referral marketing is the highest performing acquisition channel in many industries. Hearing a raving review from a friend will always hold more weight than even the most creative of ads.

The key is to understanding what your audience cares about. Go big on incentives with rewards that are relevant to them.

Finally, target your best buyers and work on turning them into advocates for your brand. It’s likely they already love your products and services. They just need a little encouragement to spread the word.


About the Author

Elie Khoury

Elie Khoury is the CEO of Woopra, a customer intelligence platform for the modern organization. Readers of the Duct Tape Marketing blog can sign up for an account here.


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Is Your ‘About’ Page Ruining Your Chances of Getting a Referral?

Is Your ‘About’ Page Ruining Your Chances of Getting a Referral? written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Your ‘About’ Page - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit: Canva

Every business has a website, right?

It is your shop window; the place where people learn about you, your brand and the products or services that you’re selling.

And due to our heavy online usage habits, it’s also the place that dictates the sustainability of a company.

You see, every business needs to be liked.

According to the New York Times, 65% of new business comes from referrals.

Meaning that almost two thirds of consumers make a purchase because someone they know has recommended a particular product or service.

On your website, there’s one page that’s more important to securing referrals than all the others.

It’s your ‘about’ page.

In this post, I’ll tell explain exactly why this page is so important.

I’ll give you some simple pointers that’ll help you create a killer piece of content to sit in this area of your site.

[Content that will win you business both now and in the future.]

And finally, I’ll also reveal how to tell if your ‘about’ page is failing you.

The ‘about’ page – what’s the big deal?

This is where your prospective customers get to know you – the place where they form those all-important first impressions.

And it’s these very impressions that will make or break your chances of getting a referral.

It’s a question of pure logic.

As consumers, we use the extra details that we learn about a brand on this page as backup in case we’re undecided about whether to buy something.

A good ‘about’ page pushes a lead further down a sales funnel, either consciously or sub-consciously.

If we’ve subsequently given our prospect a great service, we build on those good early impressions (again, either consciously or sub-consciously).

Then, it’s only now, at the end of the customer journey, that we potentially reap the ultimate reward: the referral.

As you surely know, this is the best and most powerful form of marketing there is.

And it’s all thanks to the first step: the ‘about’ page.

However, creating a quality piece of content in this area clearly isn’t straightforward, otherwise more businesses would do it.

Despite the importance of the ‘about’ page, this is the section of a website where a company traditionally drones on about how many years they’ve been operating.

Or how many offices they have scattered across the world.

A good ‘about’ page will empower your brand and make you memorable.

It’s funny.

For many business owners who are tasked with creating content for their websites, the ‘about’ page is usually given low priority status.

Yet this is a huge mistake – it’s ignoring one of the oldest clichés in the book: that people buy from people.

An ‘about’ page is critical to a website’s success.

It’s your chance to step away from the boardroom and reveal the people behind your brand.

But an ‘about’ page is about much more than just providing an opportunity for chitter-chatter.

This is about creating copy that will help establish some of the main pillars that people need to see and feel before they part with their hard-earned cash.

We’re talking about factors such as trust, integrity, authenticity, personality and morality.

In summary, your ‘about’ page needs to ‘wow’ visitors and impel them to recommend you to the people in their lives.

After all, referrals are how you create a memorable brand; one that will enjoy a stable future.

So, what can you do about your page?

For starters, don’t be self-obsessed.

You have to put yourself in a visitor’s shoes.

Suppose that you’ve just landed on a website.

What do you need to hear in order to convince you to make a transaction?

Which brands do you admire?

Which businesses do you trust, admire and respect?

Chances are, they’ve convinced you through having a clear and consistent content strategy.

To that end, ironically, your ‘about’ page is more about ‘them’ than it is about you.

Take time to establish your core values.

Think about your customer pain points (why are they even considering buying from you in the first place?).

Then map out your content and make sure that everything you’re saying is relevant to the customer.

With all due respect, all things being equal, they don’t care whether you’ve been trading for 10 years or 10 minutes.

They don’t care about industry awards they’ve never heard of.

All they care about is what they can get out of their time on your site.

Can they get what they want?

To that end, what you have to say about your business isn’t really the point.

By contrast, you should actually focus on what your visitors need to get out of their time on this section of your website.

Are you leaving money on the table?

Here’s a quick X-step process to find out whether you could do a better job with your ‘about’ page.

[Hint: you’ll need Google Analytics set up with your website.]

Step 1:Your ‘About’ Page - Duct Tape Marketing

After opening up your Google Analytics account, click on Behavior.

 

Your ‘About’ Page - Duct Tape MarketingStep 2:

Now click on All Content.

Step 3:

You should automatically land on the first option: All Pages.

What you’re looking at is a breakdown of what people are doing on each of the pages on your website.

Now find your ‘about’ page.

Most businesses will see this in one of the top 10 most-visited pages on their website, but if it’s not there, then go through the other pages until you find it.

Step 4:

Once you’ve found the stats for your page, look at the column under bounce rate.

Step 5 [the analysis]:

As you may or may not know, your bounce rate reveals how many people are leaving a certain page without taking any other action.

In other words, they’re either not finding what want or aren’t liking what they see.

Clearly, the lower the bounce rate is for your ‘about’ page, the better the job it’s doing.

If your bounce rate for your ‘about’ page was 100%, everyone’s leaving after reading your copy and you’re doing terrible.

If it’s 0%, your ‘about’ page has definitely piqued their interest and you’re doing great.

But those examples aren’t that helpful.

They’re too extreme.

So the big question is, what bounce rate should you be aiming for?

In truth, there’s no clear right or wrong answer.

Having said that, research does tend to indicate that a bounce rate of 25-30% is very good (and probably as good as it’ll get).

Most businesses will probably see a bounce rate in the region of 55-85%.

And it’s those companies, the vast majority, who can improve their ‘about’ page.

All the top entrepreneurs always say that it’s the little details that yield the big results.

So surely it’s worth putting some effort into your ‘about’ page?

Matt PressMatt Press is an experienced copywriter who has written for some of the UK’s biggest brands, such as Sky, Three and Vodafone. He now runs his own content marketing agency, Splash Copywriters.


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Building Trust for Online Referral Marketing Campaigns

Building Trust for Online Referral Marketing Campaigns written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Building Trust for Online Referral Marketing Campaigns - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit:”Pixabay

Running an online business can be difficult and expensive; you have to worry about managing ad campaigns and monitoring your budget. If this is not done properly, your business could fail. Having a referral marketing program is a great way to reduce marketing costs and increase the profitability of your business. Referral marketing involves your customers telling their friends and family how much they enjoyed your service. Not only does this gain exposure for your business, but it also inspires trust, which increases the likelihood of generating more sales. This article will teach you how to do referral marketing.

Why Referrals?

When a potential customer visits your website for the first time, they likely have no idea who you are or how dependable your business is. This lack of trust makes them hesitant to buy from you. But people trust the opinions of those they respect, such as friends and family members. When a customer refers their friends to you, the referral is going to trust you more than if they had found your website on their own. But nobody will refer their friends to you unless you inspire trust and respect.

Professional Website

Your website is the first impression potential clients have of you and your business. If your customers don’t think you put much effort into it, they will likely believe you handle all areas of your business carelessly. Having a professional website inspires trust and credibility, which will increase your sales and referrals. You must have a clean design and quickly fix any broken links. Sometimes, setting up a professional website requires training and experience; it is also time-consuming. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, it’s vital to have a professional web designer; this ensures your website is professional and inviting.

Managing Bad Reviews

It does not matter how great your product or service is, every company gets bad reviews on occasion. Bad reviews don’t matter as much as how you handle them. Many companies make the mistake of trying to hide their negative reviews, which is a mistake. Trying to cover up negative comments makes it seem you have something to hide; this is damaging to your reputation and will result in losing the trust of potential customers.

Instead, use bad reviews to improve your reputation and inspire trust and credibility. Respond to each negative review with complete openness and honesty. If you made a mistake, be honest and admit it. But vow to do better in the future. Being open about your flaws, mistakes, and shortcomings will show your customers that you have nothing to hide, thus inspiring trust.

Branding

If you want to be truly successful, you need to be more than remembered; you need to become a household name, which is accomplished with a successful branding strategy. This means your company, product, and mission statement become one in the mind of your customers. If you want to successfully brand your product or service, it is vital you provide quality service and live up to a powerful mission statement. Don’t expect branding to be done overnight; it is a long-term process. But when done properly, it gives you a major competitive advantage over others in your industry.

Building Trust for Online Referral Marketing Campaigns - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit:”Pixabay

Offer Gifts

Many companies make the mistake of only considering how they can get their customers to hand over their money, which is a critical mistake. Internet users are bombarded with advertisements every day, and if you only come at them with more ads, they will tune you out. You will lose their trust, business, and referrals. If you want to avoid this, offer your loyal customers small, unannounced gifts. This is not charity; it’s an investment. Receiving gifts will make your customers like and trust you, and the gifts don’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can simply offer gift cards or store credit. If you want to give more valuable gifts away, you can do a monthly drawing. By offering gifts to your customers, they will feel appreciated and valued.

Relationship building

Relationship building is another way to build and inspire trust. Some companies make the mistake of selling to each customer once and letting them walk away, but doing this is leaving money on the table. A customer who buys from you is demonstrating they are interested in your product or service, which means they will likely buy from you again. However, you can’t sit around and hope they will come to your website again. You need to actively remarket to them. This can be achieved by emailing them special offers and promotions. Now, it’s important to never come across too strong in your emails. You want to frame the conversation as you doing them a favor, which can be done by offering discount and loyalty rewards.

Trust Building Overtime

You must know how to build trust, which is not all or nothing; it’s a process that grows over time. But it is also fragile, and while it can take some time to build, it can be destroyed in a second. Therefore, it is vital to be open and transparent in all communications with your customers; never lie or be dishonest. Always be truthful whenever answering questions, and never lie or exaggerate the benefits of a product to get a sale. While doing so can work for a short time, people will eventually catch on, and your trust will be forever damaged.

Final Thoughts

While there are many important factors to the success of your business, none are as important as earning the trust of your customers, without which you lose referrals and the potential to grow and expand. When you lose trust, your business will likely fail. But trust can be built and maintained with a proper plan. Always be open, honest, and transparent in all your interactions; make it a part of your mission statement. Build relationships with your customers, and do everything you can to make them happy and feel valued. While this might seem difficult and overwhelming, it can be simplified by remembering to treat your customers as you would want a business to treat you.

Sarah SmithSarah Smith is a blogger is currently learning about marketing, using the internet. Aside from working on her own business, she likes to use social media and read travel books. Find her at Twitter.


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Why Online Reviews Should Be a Part of Your Referral Marketing Program

Why Online Reviews Should Be a Part of Your Referral Marketing Program written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

When it comes to marketing, nothing beats a quality referral from a trusted source. Developing a strong referral program is vital for many businesses. Increasingly, online reviews can play a very important part in a vibrant referral program.

We all have experienced the power of a referral, whether it is for our business or from our personal experiences for products and services that we needed.

Referral Marketing is Important

I’ve worked with many small businesses that join business networking groups to build a referral network. I’ve done this for my business too – I am currently a member of several local chambers, and I’m also a member of a local Business Network International (BNI) chapter. Let’s be honest, most of us join these groups for the networking and ultimately the referrals that we hope will come.

While these networking groups can be a great source of referrals, I think that many businesses miss a big opportunity by not developing a formal referral marketing program. It is important to take control of the referral marketing process as it is arguably the most important marketing program that many small businesses can develop. And even if a business has developed a robust referral marketing program, there is a component that many businesses miss – incorporating and owning the online review process.

John Jantsch has written an excellent book on referral marketing – The Referral Engine – that does a fantastic job of laying out several referral techniques. I encourage people to read this book and think about how they can use it for their business.

I want to focus on how online reviews can be a powerful addition to a referral marketing program.

Online Reviews Are Trusted  

Online Reviews

Increasingly, online reviews are playing an important role in not only helping be found online but being seen as a trusted business. Keep in mind that 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal referrals. These personal referrals include recommendations from family and friends!

Online reviews are read by nearly everyone who uses the internet. According to Adweek, 81% of customers conduct research online before buying from a company. For certain industries like restaurants or retail, 93% of U.S. consumers check online reviews at least some of the time.

Strong Online Reviews Don’t Just Happen

If a business does not take control of the online review process, a couple of things typically happen – neither are good for the business:

  • Reviews skew to the negative – good reviews are almost under-represented.
  • No reviews – if a potential customer finds your business on your Google My Business page, or Yelp, or other important review-oriented sites, and they don’t see any reviews that also says things about your business.

If you don’t own the review process, and make it a habit of asking satisfied customers to write reviews about your business, your online reputation may be less than impressive. People are often more motivated to write a negative review.

Online Reviews Help With Local SEO

Online review sites are really important for local search engine optimization. Local SEO is triggered by many searches on a mobile device or by searches that include a product or service in the search phrase along with a location. An example would be “Home Remodeler St Charles MO”.

Having several strong reviews on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and industry specific sites like Zillow (for realtors), Avvo (for Attorneys), HealthGrades (for Medical Professionals), and Houzz (Home Remodelers and Interior Designers) can make your business findable. It is not uncommon that your business listing on one of these review sites might show up higher in the search results than your website.

Some businesses are concerned that if their customers write online reviews for their business that it will make it easy for a competitor to poach their customers. But it is far riskier if there’s no information, or luke warm to poor reviews, out there about your business or about what it’s like to be your customer. Invisibility is a worse problem.

Taking Your Online Review Process to the Next Step…

Hopefully you agree that online reviews are important. Now how can you take these to the next step and strengthen the referral marketing aspect of online reviews?

First, make it as easy as possible for happy customers to write reviews about your business by creating a review funnel that makes sure their reviews are on the most important review sites for your business. Satisfied customers are willing to write reviews if you ask them, and you make it easy and convenient for them.

Turn your customers into advocates. One of the important tenants of developing a strong referral program is educating your champions. Your customers can be some of your biggest champions, so consider educating them on what is important for your business. Ask for authentic but specific reviews about your business that will help you attract your ideal customers.

An educated customer is often a better customer. Spend time with them to understand their problems, explain your processes, why you are different, and what value you bring. This will all translate into information that your customers can use to write those online reviews – or when talking with friends and family.

Summary

Nothing beats the power of a personal referral. But online reviews can serve as a strong second with the added benefit of helping people find out about your business 24-7-365. Your referral partners are always available with someone has the must have or must do need, but with a strong online review management program you can! Consider adding a customer online review component to your referral marketing program.

Ken Tucker Jan 2015This post was written by Ken Tucker, owner and founder of Changescape Web. Changescape Web is an integrated small business marketing solutions company delivering managed marketing services for clients across the US. These include website design, search engine optimization, social media management, reputation management, and lead generation services.


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