Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

[Guestpost] The 3-Email Sequence to Boost your Referral Program Conversion Rates

Word of mouth is a powerful form of marketing. By having your customers spread the good word about your brand, you essentially have a great source of third-party testimonies. This is basically free marketing for your store, plus it helps to win over prospects by communicating user benefit from people they trust.

Well, that’s good and all, but there’s an even better way to push that formula further. The answer—Referral Email Marketing.

A Positive Feedback Loop to Grow Your Profits with Brand Trust

Run-of-the-mill customer acquisition efforts can cost your business more than you think—up to 5x even according to Forbes, as compared to if you were to nurture your existing customer base.  Which is why some brands choose to focus on customer loyalty programs in a bid to drive better and more meaningful customer engagement. This way, they can keep customers coming back for more, enabling them to build a loyal brand following.

But when it comes to expanding your customer base without additional cost, referral email marketing can help you in this area. Plus, when potential customers hear about you, be it your brand story and products or services from someone closely connected to them, this is already pretty stable groundwork.

Rather than focusing on why they should shop with you, you can refocus on delivering what you can offer differently. After all, interesting content, attractive discounts, and efforts effectively boost customer retention rates and average order value.

Long story short, referral email marketing is like a reward campaign for your loyal customers who can refer your brand to new customers and convert them to be members of your tribe.

Here’s a rundown of the 5 major benefits of referral email marketing:

  1. You Gain Better Quality Customers

Referral email marketing can help you get, not only new customers, but far more valuable customers than what you would get from other marketing channels.

What makes these particular customers more valuable, you ask? It’s simple. People trust other people. The common customer trusts the opinion of a fellow customer more than a brand’s ads.

Generally speaking, it creates a great positive feedback loop in your customer ecosystem when you reward active customers who are loyal to you while growing your existing customer base at the same time.

And that’s simply the magic of referral marketing! It’s an all-in reward system and social approval link chain of events that keeps getting passed on.

Email marketing also factors in the fact that the referrer is probably a close acquaintance— be it a friend, colleague or a family member. These are the kinds of referrals that drive the highest lead-to-deal conversion rates.

Referred customers also have higher profit margins. This is most likely due to them being a better fit as a customer, since they took the word of fellow customers when it came to products or services they were interested in.

  1. It Helps Boost Your Customer Retention

Remember our mention of how customers gained through referral email marketing are more valuable? According to research, these particular customers tend to have 16x more lifetime value, meaning they are also more likely to stick with your brand in the long run. So not only do referred customers contribute more profit, they are also less likely to leave. This also means that their customer lifetime value is higher.

What’s so special about customer lifetime value?  Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) is the amount each of your customers spends in your store, on average, over their entire lifetime. Simply deploying this simple SOP framework and understanding the value of CLTV will help close the gap between you and 8-figure eCommerce stores.

  1. You Can Build a Healthier Email List

Loyal customers can help you gain more active subscribers and even win back inactive ones. This can be done by leveraging social proof and customer feedback to help solidify the referral link between your brand and the referee.

This is especially helpful for preparing a full list ready for engagement this coming BFCM. After all, it is during that week of intense sales mayhem when you want to get as much sales out of your email list as you can. So encourage your customers to use their best testimonials to bring in new business for you.

Additionally, automating referral emails to your existing customers is a win-win situation. By doing this, you are also creating more opportunities for your customers to keep coming back to your site.

  1. It Makes Customer Acquisition Cost-Efficient

As we mentioned earlier, this is like an upgraded version of word of mouth. Your loyal customers can help win over new customers for you, more so if incentivized.

Think of it as bounty hunting, only you’re talking about capturing more customers. Rather than spending on ad campaigns and allocating resources for marketing materials, a referral marketing email campaign can get your loyal customers to search and convert prospects.

  1. Loyal Customers Broaden Your Market Reach

If email marketing is your means of reaching out to your customers, then your loyal customers are your means to reach even further. Potentially, your loyal customers can reach out to people in their network with the same preferences and tastes but didn’t even know your brand existed.

People who tend to be outside any realm of possibility of coming into contact with your brand are now at your virtual doorstep—all because your loyal customers referred your brand to them.

So What Makes a Successful Referral Email Campaign?

Refer a Friend 2 edited

The secret behind every successful strategy is how well it fits in and works with your overall framework.

Ideally, your referral strategy should integrate as seamlessly as your buyer’s journey and a powerful extension of your marketing arsenal. Don’t treat it as a separate add-on, but a natural and effective addition to your customer’s journey with your brand.

So what makes an effective and hassle-free referral strategy, here’s 3 features you should look out for:

  1. It Works in the Background (While You Work at the Front Lines)

For your referral strategies to work at their best, you must also make it easy for your customers to refer new customers. And not only for your customers, this whole referral framework shouldn’t take up too much of your valuable time.

That’s where automation comes in. ReferralCandy’s framework is automation-friendly, meaning you can easily and seamlessly integrate it with your existing automated flows. Just a couple of tweaks and copy-pasting here and there and your new referral program should be good to go for BFCM 2020!

  1. Smooth Transition and Integration to Your Existing Frameworks

Another aspect of a successful referral email campaign is its flexibility. Not only should a referral framework integrate easily with your existing email framework, it should still continue working well with your third-party apps.

  • And this flexibility shouldn’t be exclusive to your internal operations, it should also extend to your customers as well.
  • As the saying goes, “Different folks, different strokes.” The flexibility of the referral system can help you answer your audience’s various needs based on your customer profiles.
  • Whether it’s a custom gift, cash rebate, or bigger discounts—full customization of your rewards allows for a full-range of incentive options for your loyal customers.
  1. In-depth Data Reports to drive powerful decisions

To top it all off, you should have a clear bird’s eye view of how your referral program is performing. That way, you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

Also, you should have the means to track valuable information such as who your top referrers are, what new sales were made from referrals, and many more. All the data you need for making data-driven tweaks and adjustments to your overall strategy are available when you need them.

Here’s the bottom line. While you’re focusing on making sales on the frontlines, having a solid referral strategy can help you generate sales in the background and expand your customer reach through your loyal customers.

Now take that and integrate it into your BFCM email marketing strategies and you’re sure to make maximum sales, expand your customer base, AND strengthen customer relationships without missing a beat in the frontlines.

How Do You Design a 3-email Sequence to Boost Your Referral Program Conversion Rate?

While 83% of your satisfied customers are willing to refer your brand to others, you can’t really straight up ask them to do it right off the bat.

Ease it into your existing email campaigns. Slowly formulate a reward program type of email campaign. This way, you can incentivize your customers’ act of referring to make them more likely to do so.

Here’s an example of an automated referral campaign that we at Chronos Agency designed for one of our clients.

Email #1 : Introduction to Rewards Program

Truly Beauty Referral Email Campaign 1

The purpose of this email is to introduce the rewards program to their customers. In this case, the email contained info on the classic points system, as well as a list of actions that can help their customers earn points.

Notice that one of the actions is “REFER YOUR FRIENDS.” It’s subtle and it’s just one of the many other actions your customers can do to earn points. For now, this is to plant that seed in your customers’ minds to prepare for the next email.

Email #2 : The Big Incentive Email

Truly Beauty Referral Email Campaign 2

This is when you can push that actual action of referring. By tagging referrals as a big points-earning action, your loyal customers will surely get active with recommending your brand to their friends, family, and maybe even acquaintances.

Again, this is like putting up a bounty to motivate your “bounty hunters” to do their thing while you don’t have to actively and directly participate.

Email #3: The Deal Sealer

Truly Beauty Referral Email Campaign 3

While this email does not directly tackle the whole referral program, it’s a great way to top off your customers’ referral efforts as a long-term reward for your newly converted customers.

By simply being a part of your tribe, they can already earn points. Here’s an example: points during their birthdays! It’s an extra layer of filling to convince your new joiners to sign up and stay!

You can see how a sequence like this can be a nice addition to your BFCM marketing strategy framework. It rewards your existing customer base and encourages them to seek out and convert prospects for you—leading up to more sales and a broader market reach!

However, if you’re feeling a little tight on time and resources to integrate this whole system into your existing email marketing structure, we at Chronos Agency are more than happy to take this off your hands!

The first step to get your automated referral campaigns tuned up and ready for BFCM 2020 is to apply for a free strategy call with our email experts!


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Samuel Catbagan first started out as an online copywriter for real estate. He took up Hotel and Restaurant Management as his college course but soon after graduation he sought out a more creative career. He showed passion for the arts and went to a digital arts school and learned the basics of visual storytelling.

He spent a year gaining experience and streamlining his writing style until he moved on to blog writing for a podcast website. And now, Samuel is a Junior Copywriter under Chronos Agency—writing blog articles, press releases, and case studies.

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This is a guestpost shared on ReferralCandy. The author bio is at the bottom of the article!