Take a seat and get comfortable, here comes Part 2 of our series: Creating Your Marketing Plan from Scratch. In Part 1, we discussed the media categories, the channels and how they can work for your e-business.
Today we are going to talk about how to incorporate referral into your marketing planning. And, as promised, we will keep it digestible, thought- provoking and giving you confidence as a marketer. In this post we will overview 5 simple steps that will help you leverage we the science in decision-making, formulate and execute a wildly successful referral marketing program.
The first 2 of these 5 steps, we are already touched on more deeply in Getting What You Want Defining your Objective & Target, but have also included them below. Sit back and relax, no need to flip back and forth – we summarized it all for you.
1. Define Your Objective
After the appropriate categories and channels have been identified, you will need to think about how best to incorporate referral into your program, starting with your objective. Your objective needs to be documented, written and measureable. It must make an impact for your business. Your objective and focus is key to building a successful referral program in your marketing plan. Do you want to drive new customers? Increase reach? Drive sales? Think about it. Your objective will single handedly inform how you design your call to action and the offer in your campaign.
2. Identify Your Target
Who do you want to be talking to? Once you have honed in on your target audience, go back to the media categories and channels and determine the best places to reach or talk to your target. Who are you talking to? Where you want to talk to them? You can best converse with your target when they are in the right place at the right time. Think about that as it relates to your daily life. Let’s say it’s Sample Sunday at Costco. You are starving, but there to buy your month’s groceries. You are offered a sample of homemade granola. It’s delish! You put the bag of granola in your cart and carry on with the rest of your shopping trip. As this relates to referral, consider where the customer is on your site or their buying journey. Capitalize on their mindset.
3. Arrive at your Referral Bonus or Incentive
Referral incentives are handled in a variety of ways. It’s challenging, right? You want to encourage advocates and customers to make as many referrals as possible. But you also you want to encourage referrers to maximize the quality of each referral. However, going back to the objective of your campaign, you want to avoid creating a referral program that motivates customers and advocates to supply a high volume of low-quality referrals. Create an attractive offer and make sure it fits your brand. Know your audience, their needs and wants and determine your referral incentives accordingly.
4. Turning Customers into Advocates
Establish that your customers actually are happy with your product and their experience. Then, offer them the referral incentive or offer you arrived at in Step 3. Reframe your referral offer as a way to help a friend. Be sure to give your customers/advocates a choice as to where to share the offer (most often this means on Facebook or by email). For more information on how to ask for the referral, see our post on How to Ask for the Referral and discover how to take the awkwardness out of the equation.
5. Track, Optimize & Convert
Track everything – each purchase, customer share, and reward advocates when they meet your defined campaign criteria. Always be optimizing. Test what works with your target. Experiment with different designs, text, and placements. Maybe even consider A/B testing to determine the best performing offer that meets your objective, resonates with your audience, and turns customers into advocates.
… and there you have it. Five straightforward steps to incorporating referral into your marketing plan. However, the most amazingly developed referral marketing program can’t help you if you aren’t creating a product that people want to buy. Aspire to create and deliver an incredible product or experience every single time. Be laser focused on building relationships. And, integrate wherever possible – wherever and whenever your customers engage with you or your brand be sure to include your referral program and you will be set up for success. Strive for excellence and Talkable will help you deliver against that goal. Any questions, just ask in the comments below.