As we all sit here collectively bra-less, having done zero yoga in the yoga pants we have been wearing for three days straight, it’s difficult not to wonder how all of this is going to pan out. Will there really be dolphins leaping through the previously inhospitable Venice canals? Will people ever stop asking us to post the 4th picture in our phones to ‘lighten the mood’? And will the whole world be saved by drinking hot lemon water as Karen’s pixelated jpeg insists?
Whatever happens, the more time passes, the more it seems unlikely that everything is going to return to exactly how it was. Our habits are already changing. For a lot of industries, working from home is now finally accepted as viable, with the focus shifting to the value of what an employee produces as opposed to how many consecutive hours they sit at their desks. And in a world where people aren’t leaving their homes, the internet is now the undisputed heavyweight champion of work and play.
Businesses that aren’t online are now hauling ass to make sure they are, brick and mortar companies who don’t have a delivery option are now hiring drivers, and companies who already have a strong online presence are getting off their hineys and preparing themselves for an influx of competition.
Customer referral marketing for a new era
At Harviist, our expertise lies in the phenomenon of customer referral marketing, and so our focus has been largely centred around what impact, whether temporary or permanent, these changes will have on how customers talk about brand experience and products.
Since we can’t meet our friends for lunch anymore, no one can recommend which restaurant to go to. Since we haven’t washed our hair in four days and it looks horrendous, no one is going to ask us where we go to get it cut. And, since Zoom only displays us from the armpits up, no one is going to notice our *ahem* chiselled thighs and ask us which gym we go to.
Word of mouth is the main influence behind up to 50% of purchasing decisions, and 83% of potential customers trust recommendations from friends and family. But, as a business, how can you encourage conversation when no one is able to physically meet up for the foreseeable future?
Simplicity, Creativity and Incentivisation
It looks like while people are predominantly shopping from home, incentivisation will be one way to get them talking. People don’t mind dropping your product into their face-to-face conversations for free when that conversation happened naturally, but if you’re actively asking your customer to recommend you after they have made a purchase, you’d better have some fancy swag ready to reward them with.
Simplicity is also essential. After all, 83% of customers would be willing to recommend a product, but only 29% actually do. So, this isn’t necessarily about trying to convince them to talk about you, it’s about making it easy for them to talk about you, and then dropping that nice little incentive to say thank you.
Finally, it’s time to get creative. A successful customer referral campaign is more than just a ‘Refer a Friend’ button at checkout. Make people excited about your referral proposition – offer challenges, ambassador tournaments, cash rewards, product incentives, targets, gamification – there’s so much to play with, and people are boooored right now.
More than ever, the power of your product marketing lies in the hands of your customer – they are, after all, your hardest-working brand ambassador. So, when it comes to adjusting your marketing strategy in these unprecedented times, don’t forget to include them in your plans.
Talking of plans, I should maybe get dressed.
And that’s a big maybe.
If you’d like to find out more about how customer referral marketing can work for you, get in touch with us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!