email for referral programs- marketing strategy

5 Ways You Can Build Your Brand’s Word of Mouth with Email Marketing

It should be no secret that word of mouth is the best marketing channel you have. In fact, a Harris Poll survey has shown that 82% of Americans seek input and recommendations from friends and family prior to making a purchase.

A marketer’s job can be made much easier if this word of mouth can be converted into an effective driver for business growth. And email marketing is a marketer’s best friend.

Email marketing can be an effective method by which to encourage your customers to spread the word. Here are five ways you can utilize email to leverage your customers’ influence, grow your email list, and increase revenue:

1. Reward Customers and New Friends with “Special” Incentives

Offer an incentive to your customers who bring you referral business—a large enough incentive that will spur customers to lay some groundwork for you while small enough not to hurt your bottom line. Also, offer a “special incentive” to the new potentials being referred to you.

This process enables you to get another conversion out of an existing customer (who doesn’t love recurring revenue?) while enticing a potential new customer with an incentive as well as the almighty power of word of mouth.

In the example below for Handy, you’ll see that they even start this process as early as the subscription process. A referral program is built into the welcome email!

email for referral program - Handy

 

2. Automate Your Referral Request Email

Collect email addresses from your subscribers and customers and create a triggered email program. One idea would be to automate a referral request email that is sent after a set period of time post-purchase (maybe 30 days post-purchase). This email would contain messaging on the referral program and the rewards they receive/can earn.
Also, be sure to link to a referral program landing page on your website that explains the process in detail to ensure that customers face the least amount of friction possible in completing their referrals.

3. Promote Your Referral Program

Promote the referral incentives every chance it makes sense. Here are a couple of ways you can do that:

  • Are you sending special newsletters to your paying customers? Plug the referral program.
  • Have a blog? Plug the referral program—and interesting stories of customers who benefited from the program (Talk about promoting word of mouth!).

Follow up regularly and keep the cycle moving.

4. Say Thank You

Thank your referring customers with a personalized email message. Find ways to say thank you in emails to subscribers at regular intervals.

5. Analyze Program Results and Optimize

Track your key metrics from your referral program (opens, clicks, new sign-ups, new customers, revenue, etc.). Work hard and find ways to prevent fraud and gamification of the referral process (particularly if you think it’s a hot-button issue). Keep a record of all your top referrers and message them specifically with new rewards, etc. If it makes sense to go to a full-blown loyalty program, go down that path as well.

Final Thoughts

An effective referral program is like fishing with a net at the end of the rod instead of the single hook. Your customers become your net to gather more customers into your “boat.”
If you aren’t leveraging word of mouth now, add referral email marketing strategy to your arsenal, generate greater ROI, and build your business on the power and trust of your customers!

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  • Scott Cohen

    Scott has been living and breathing email marketing since 2007. With both agency and client-side end-user experience, Scott brings a unique perspective to email marketing that combines best practices with real-world-tested strategy and tactics.