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No surprise here: from early November through Christmas Eve, the holiday shopping season is one of the busiest for ecommerce brands.
Afraid you’ve missed the chance to leverage your current referral program? Good news: it’s never too late!
In fact, with increased website traffic and sales this time of year, it’s the perfect opportunity to encourage shoppers to sign up for your referral program and become an advocate for your ecommerce brand.
Here’s everything you need to know about creating a holiday referral marketing strategy and how to use the busy shopping season as a runway for even more growth throughout the year.
Why holiday referral marketing matters
For most ecommerce businesses, the holiday season is one in which traffic and sales are at increased levels. And by taking advantage of the increased brand awareness, there’s an opportunity to have new and existing customers sign up for your referral program.
Let’s take a look at why holiday referral marketing matters:
Drive more traffic to your store
Referrals are a beneficial way to drive traffic to your ecommerce business during the holiday season. Take advantage of the spike in website traffic and encourage customers to share referral codes to access exclusive sales and additional discounts.
Once customers send out referral codes to friends and family and codes are used, customers have an additional opportunity to shop with the business (while also seeing increased traffic and sales resulting from referrals).
Stand out from your competitors
The holiday shopping season is the prime time to pull ahead of the competition. How? By rewarding customers with even better savings when referral codes are used.
This works to activate customers (both new and existing) who might have been on the fence about moving forward in the buying journey.
A sense of urgency to take advantage of the incentive during the limited window also creates excitement and increases sharing (bringing more traffic to the website).
People tend to spend more during the holiday season
Consumers are primed and ready to spend more during the holiday season, so make it easy and festive for them to shop your ecommerce brand.
A referral program doesn’t always have to be about offering monetary incentives, either. Perks like stocking stuffers or bonus products work well during the shopping season!
The joy of giving
The holiday season is naturally a time for giving. For brands and consumers that emphasize giving back or doing good in the community, using that as an incentive is a powerful motivator.
In addition to offering referral incentives, presenting consumers with an opportunity to donate to a cause or charity can make them feel exceptionally generous during the holiday season.
4 holiday referral marketing strategies you need
Make incentives even more enticing
One of the simplest ways to enhance your existing referral program into one that drives even more traffic and sales to your ecommerce brand is to update the current incentives.
Double the reward points, offer an additional monetary or percentage with each code used, or include extras to attract even more action toward signing up and using your referral program.
Apparel brand Boden does a great job of highlighting the benefit of signing up for a referral – both parties receive a discount. Still, new customers get an additional incentive of saving 20% on the first purchase, increasing the likelihood they’ll use it and reap benefits for themselves and the referrer.
Advocate for a cause
Tap into altruism during the holiday season. Consumers are more in a giving spirit this time of year, making it easier to get them to spend (especially when it benefits an important charity or cause!) to see a bit of good done in the community.
And while not everyone is incentivized by giving back (and that’s okay), you can also include a perk for shoppers to enjoy.
A win-win for everyone.
Use holiday-specific messaging
Simple changes to the aesthetics and messaging of your referral program are recommended.
Book of the Month not only offers a referral bonus for anyone who signs up using a code, the holiday messaging here is targeted at shoppers who need that perfect last-minute gift.
Doing this highlights to consumers that it’s a special time to sign up and use codes; plus, using holiday copy in referral campaigns underscores a sense of urgency that perks and savings are only available for a limited time.
Build excitement and hype
Want more consumers to sign up for your referral program? Make it exciting to be part of the community. Starbucks does a fantastic job of this every year. Since so many already buy coffee daily, the festive challenges add something special during the holiday season.
Whether it’s getting active on social media and encouraging fans to tag friends and family, entering them into a raffle when they complete several activities, hosting a giveaway, or rewarding them for loyalty, there are plenty of ways to get new eyes on your brand and referral program.
Referral marketing: Beyond the holiday season
Enhancing your current program to one geared toward the holidays makes sense for a few reasons:
- Consumer behavior and spending habits change and evolve during the holiday season. They’re more motivated to shop, sign up for rewards and incentives, and spend.
- Reward your most loyal brand advocates! As a way to spread some holiday cheer, increasing incentives or offering exclusive perks shows your biggest fans that you care about them. For many, the holiday season comes with financial struggles, and referral programs are a great way to help them save money or make a little bit of extra cash.
- Creativity wins. If you want to revamp and promote your referral program, this is a great time to do it. Social media, interactive contests, and communities are just a few ways to build traction and attention for a referral program, especially during the holiday season.
With a referral program already in place, using it to your advantage throughout the year (holidays and beyond) is essential to growing your ecommerce brand and attracting loyal customers.