Share the Love: 5 Tips to Boost Customer Referrals

The concept is simple: You have customers. Your customers have friends. Your customers’ friends probably “walk alike, talk alike.” In fact, they most likely like a lot of the same things — clothing, travel, social causes, Instagram posts, events etc.

You with me? It’s pretty simple. If your customers like your products, then their friends will too!

What do you think of when you hear “word of mouth marketing?” If you just said “social media” to yourself, you’re not alone, but it doesn’t start and end there.

Word of mouth is actually more powerful when it happens in the real world too.

In fact, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association found that two-thirds of all referred purchases come from real world recommendations, vs. one-third that are discovered online. Recommendations made by people are 10 times more powerful than impersonal ones. Need more convincing?

92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know.

So why isn’t everyone doing it — and doing it well?  The truth is that “referral marketing” isn’t easy … and it’s so much more than automated referral links and pre-populated spammy messages for your customers to annoy their friends with on their social pages.

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But with a little planning, finding the right customers, and then giving them the tools to make referrals online AND <<drum roll please>> in the REAL WORLD … You will be able to turn your business into the next $1 Billion Brand.

Inspired by the book Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, here are 5 tips to get your customers talking:

  1. Talkers

Find your most authentic voices and actually talk to them. Understand why they love your product and how they talk about it to their friends.

I’m the talker in my friend circle. If I find something and it works, I tell everyone I know — and often who I don’t know — everything I know about it. All of my friends now subscribe to SunBasket, own a VitaMix, have been to Iceland, and wear Allbirds to work.

You don’t have to use discounts or product; things like early-bird access and newsletters often attract people like me who are authentically your most valuable customers and want to learn more or just support your brand. Using these “incentives” makes it easier to collect their contact information, which means you have a more personal way to engage them.

  1. Topics

Using real the feedback you get from real customers makes it easier to engage a larger audience more authentically. Create topics for your Talkers to organically talk about based on the topics they are interested in.

Niyama Sol ambassadors, for example, were asked: “Take a photo of yourself in your favorite place to do yoga on your personal Instagram.” Hundreds of real people shared their story to their friends and the brand saw lift quickly.

  1. Tools

Create an easy format for you and them.

Getting 10 customers to talk and spread the word about your brand to their friends is manageable; 100 customers a little harder; 1,000+ customers and it won’t scale unless you have the right tools in place.

One more time … MAKE IT EASY … You will thank me later.

Don’t complicate it for your customers. Add a sign-up link to your website and automate an invitation to join the ambassador program when a customer makes a purchase. Once they have joined, keep making it easy — give them access to your brand’s story, referral links, and topics to stimulate their storytelling about your brand.

Ensure that they are able to share their unique referral link or code and tell their story quickly on as many platforms as possible without any hassle. This includes social media channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and the like.

  1. Taking Part

Great. You have them talking the talk, now you need to show them that you can walk the walk … WITH them.

You want people to purchase your product without having to convince them. So the only way to do this is to make sure you are listening and engaging with your Talkers, and then rewarding them for authentically spreading the love about your product in the real world to their friends.

Make sure you make it easy for your Talkers to talk to you and encourage them to give you feedback. Big retailers like Sephora, Amazon and Nordstrom ask every customer to leave a review.

If they ask a question, you answer.

If they have a suggestion, you listen.

If they had a bad experience, you get a chance to fix it.

  1. Tracking

Understanding the data behind what is working and who is working the best for your brand is important.

You will find that some of the best Talkers don’t feel comfortable sharing a referral link online, but they will talk to anyone who listens in the real world. Or you may find that some of your customers are great content creators with high engagement, but they don’t see themselves as an “influence.”

Reward them & engage with them equally.

These are your “diamonds in the rough.” Love them and hold onto them dearly. They will intrinsically help you attract more people like them and are the best advertising investment you can make.

The biggest headliner you’ve never heard of

Think about your group of friends. There’s usually that one person who always seems to be coming up with something to do — picking the restaurant, finding a new destination, or suggesting the next festival to attend. This is the planner — the one who convinces you to do something you may have no idea how to do and makes sure you have the time of your life doing it. Planners are the most important person to any event organizer, and luckily there is a way for organizers to harness their power and reward them for all of their hard work.

Firefly Music Festival realized the power of these fans and wanted to find a way to make them feel like they were a part of the festival’s planning process as a whole. By harnessing the power of natural planners, Firefly was able to create a robust program of 1,600 fans who became their biggest advocates. Then, using gamification, Firefly challenged these fans to start doing what they do best — round up their fans and make the plans.

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In just 90 days, these superfans rounded up over 2,000 of their friends to attend the festival and generated 13 million+ impressions by creating content and sharing their tips for how to experience the festival better.

By creating a “home” for the planners, festival organizers were able to say “thank you” to these valuable fans by making them the headliners — hooking them up with elevated experiences that are generally reserved for the artists and sponsors like backstage passes & VIP camping upgrades.

So next time you’re stressing about finding the big name to bring people to your event, don’t forget about the real headliner: the planner.

Need help identifying them? Ask us!

How To: Sell Out Your Conference!

 

How do you sell out a conference? Your strategies might differ from those employed by other types of events. In this post, SocialLadder will provide you with some tips and tricks for conference promotion that will have you on your way to selling out your event!

  • Start Early: Everything should start early: planning, organizing, and promoting. If you have your marketing materials in place ahead of time, you can start offering early bird tickets; it gets people thinking and talking about your event, and also gives the event-goers who already know that they would like to attend the chance to get purchasing tickets off of their to-do list.

  • Offer Cheap Ticket Options: Conferences tend to fall on the more expensive side, so promoting discounted or cheap tickets is a good way to call attention to the event and get tickets sold. As mentioned above, early bird tickets are a great way to get interested parties to your event who would otherwise not be able to afford it; you might also offer discounted tickets for a single day of your event, or even just the keynote timeslot. Consider running an ambassador program to give interested attendees a chance to earn free tickets in return for promoting your event and selling tickets!

  • Have A Ticket Giveaway Contest:  Along the same lines as offering cheap tickets, you can use a ticket giveaway contest as an opportunity to promote the conference. Whereas other types of events might run a lottery here, conferences might consider running a fun or challenging competition aligned with the theme of the conference.

  • Don’t Neglect Social Media: Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to promotion, but many conferences do only the bare minimum. It’s not enough these days to simply have a Facebook page and a corresponding event; a good game plan puts your brand on platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn as well, with content going out year-round and ramping up in advance of your event.

  • Use Your Panelists: Your event has a built-in word-of-mouth promotion team, whether you’re using it or not. Your panelists and presenters should be reaching out to their entire network to get their fans,  friends and family to see them speak. Consider using a brand ambassador solution like SocialLadder to catalyze this natural process and organize it into a true sales machine!

  • The Fear Of Missing Out: FOMO is quite real, and moreso in 2018 than ever! Exclusivity and necessity are the name of the game here. Can you offer your attendees the feeling that they’ve got the inside edge from attending your conference? Make sure that your event is well-photographed and recorded; a good “afterglow” being spread around on social media is key to fomenting some FOMO around your next event!

 

Of course, the backbone of your event will be your presentations, panels, and activities, but solid promotional strategy is the key to growth. Selling out is an ambitious goal – but if you’re just entering the live event arena, you should be shooting for the stars anyway! Good luck!

Click here to read more about the benefits of having an ambassador program!

Relationship Marketing: “Develop a Relationship and the Sales Will Follow.”

“Develop a relationship and the sales will follow.” It’s a saying that has been used time and time again to emphasize the importance of Customer Experience Management (CEM), and relationship marketing in particular.

Relationship marketing is an approach to product promotion where the seller aims to develop a relationship between their product and consumers. By focusing on achieving businessmeetingincreased customer satisfaction and retention, consumers are more likely to give you their continued business over a long period of time. This results in a larger overall volume of individual sales and thus profits.

Through this connection, retailers are also more likely to see an increase in user participation. Customers who feel a deep connection to your brand are more likely to recommend your products to others, write rave reviews, and provide you with valuable feedback; and as we know, word of mouth marketing is a good way to generate new business.

 

So how do you go about implementing a relationship marketing approach?

 

As technology advances, the user experience continues to become more and more complicated. You don’t want to discourage users from making a purchase because they can’t figure out how. Have a co-worker, employee or friend test your website and give feedback about any issues they encounter; then, implement changes based on their feedback.

Note: This tip also applies to any and all facets of your business that clients or general users will come in contact with, so be sure to have any other platforms or products that fall in this area tested too.

 

Take the time to personalize each confirmation email or promotional advertisement, such that all messaging is related to a user’s purchase history or preferences. Try to womanonphonesimplify this process by using an automated emailing system that automatically fills in each customer’s information. Similarly, put more resources into making sure each customer has a great experience with customer support. This can be as simple as expanding the hours that this service is available or taking a few extra minutes to add a little more thought to each email.

 

This is one of the easiest ways to develop a relationship with your consumer base, as it rewards them for being committed to your brand. One innovative way to do this is to create a brand ambassador program where customers are rewarded for advertising and selling your product, thereby generating revenue whilst strengthening the bond they have with your brand.

Relationship marketing is all about developing a relationship with your customers in order to continuously receive their business over a long period of time, and is therefore viewed as an effective way to garner more business. Implementing these suggestions is the first step to utilizing this powerful marketing strategy to further your brand. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

 

Top Firefly Ambassadors Generate over $500,000 in ticket sales!

For its fifth year, the folk music festival that takes place over four days at 105-acre festival ground of The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway in Delaware was a smashing success. Firefly, produced by Red Frog Events alongside Goldenvoice — the folks who are responsible for Coachella — showcased headliners like The Weeknd, Muse, Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper and Bob Dylan. Needless to say, it was THE ticket to get your hands on this summer.

With so many festivals popping up, how does a festival like Firefly continue to attract nearly 100K people year after year?  Their answer lies in building a strong brand and giving fans what they want. From top headliners and creative food vendors to easy-to-navigate grounds and access to exclusive experiences, Firefly allows fans to curate the experience.

Each year, Firefly attendees rave about the amazing experiences they have had at the event, posting eye-catching selfies and videos that captivate their peers and entice them to join in on the fun – so it made sense to set up an ambassador program to reward them for doing what they do best: proving their fandom.

Firefly teamed up with SocialLadder to create a brand ambassador program to engage their fans and reward the most engaged of them for helping them create another great year. Through the platform, ambassadors were given access to  exclusive rewards like backstage access in exchange for proving their fandom and getting their friends to pick up passes.

“We really enjoyed working with each member of the Social Ladder team. In the fast-paced festival environment, timing is everything, and whenever a question would arise SocialLadder always had a timely and insightful answer. Collectively, our brand ambassador program benefited greatly from the Social Ladder partnership,” said Firefly marketing coordinator Baily Gorey.

Ticket sales by ambassadors set a new bar this year, with sales from the ambassador program accounting for over $500K in just a few short weeks. This organic outpouring of friends bringing their friends, accompanied by the hundreds of thousands of social media impressions and Instagram posts generated by Firefly ambassadors, is a great example of the symbiotic relationship between brands that care about their fans and fans that are eager to support that brand!

 

For more information about creating a brand ambassador program like Firefly’s, or other ways to use the SocialLadder app check out our website.

 

 

clarissa

 

Clarissa Phillips is an Intern at SocialLadder. A class of 2019 student at Swarthmore College, she studies Sociology, Computer Science and Psychology. She is an avid music lover and enjoys going to concerts, as well as singing in her college’s newest a cappella group, Offbeat.