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Customer Referral Marketing

“A brand is no longer what we tell the customer it is – it is what customers tell each other it is.”  Scott Cook, Co-Founder of Intuit

Referral Marketing Defined

Wiki defines as Referral Marketing as “a word-of-mouth initiative designed by a company to incentivize existing customers to introduce their family, friends and contacts to become new customers.” As consumers, we are heavily influenced by the opinions and experiences of others, both friends and strangers. This is because subconsciously we are taking in the products and brands that we see and hear about, whether we realize it or not. Scrolling through our social media feed, we encounter posts from our friends and those we follow recommending different brands that they have tried and love, along with paid advertisements trying to get us to try their products. 

Product marketing is everywhere we look, exposing us to different products continually. Because we are continually seeing and learning about new products, it is important to learn what products are worth spending our money on, and which ones we should skip over. Knowing how and who best to trust for recommendations is going to be critical in ensuring that we make the right purchase for us. 

Recommendations and referrals come in different forms, including from our friends and family, paid advertisements, and from strangers. Searching online for items provides reviews and recommendations from strangers, where when we seek out the opinion of those we know we are getting personal experience from friends and family members. 

With the ability to get opinions and referrals from various different sources, why does it matter where they come from? Is one source better than another? We’ll dive deeper into stranger-to-stranger advertising and how it is different than friend-to-friend advertising.

Friend-to-Friend 

With the rise of social media, and the ability to connect with friends, we have also experienced a change in the way that we see marketing being done. A survey conducted by Nielsen’s Harris Poll Online showed that a whopping 88% of Americans want to be rewarded or compensated in some way for sharing products or services online with their friends and family; whereas, 82% of people admit to asking their friends for advice before making a purchase. 

So, what does this all mean? Essentially, it means that as consumers we trust the opinions of those we know to guide us in making wise purchasing decisions. Not only are people passively listening to and being influenced by products and services that are being shared with them, but they are also actively asking for and seeking recommendations from those whom they know and trust. When you have a positive experience or discover a new brand or product that you now love, you immediately want to share it with your friends and family. Social media makes it easy for you to share what you use and love so that they too can try it for themselves. 

In other words, when you ask for recommendations from friends, you are experiencing friend-to-friend word-of-mouth advertising. Because we already have a relationship with our friends, where we trust and want their recommendations, this form of word of mouth is powerful. Aside from utilizing pre-established relationships to encourage sales and recommendations from a friend-to-friend; these micro-influencers are generally willing and eager to share a positive recommendation in exchange for a discount, vouchers, or event invitations in the future. Because brands aren’t having to pay out large amounts of cash for reviews and recommendations for paid reviews, allows for brands to really reward their true and loyal customers who refer their friends and families.  

One of the easiest and most popular ways in which brands utilize the power of friend-to-friend marketing is through affiliate and brand ambassador programs. Both of these programs reward members for simply sharing brands, products, and services that they’ve had experience with to their friends and family, often via social media. After posting online, friends see the post, are intrigued, click through to check it out for themselves, and the cycle continues with more people sharing and experiencing brands and products for themselves.

Stranger-to-Stranger 

Another form of word of mouth that is popular is stranger-to-stranger marketing. Similar to that of friend-to-friend, where one person shares their experience to influence others to make a similar purchase; but instead of relying on friends, the recommendations are coming from strangers. This is often done with the help of online reviews, paid advertisements (like Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, or Google Ads), and sponsored social media posts. 

The biggest difference between friend-to-friend marketing and stranger-to-stranger is that friend-to-friend is dependent upon a trust relationship that has already been established, whereas, a stranger-to-stranger campaign is hoping their hook or tag line is good enough to capture the attention of a potential customer. Recommendations from a business (a stranger) are shared and made, not knowing who exactly will be on the receiving end.

Relying on stranger-to-stranger advertising means that brands have to be more creative with their advertising methods in order to create something that resonates with potential consumers. For example, when consumers view an ad for a product that is relevant to them and is delivered in such a way that attracts them and resonates they are more likely to make a purchase. 

While it may feel as though stranger-to-stranger is more like a shot in the dark than targeted marketing, social media has made it easier for companies to target their advertisements to specific audiences. In fact, social media platforms allow brands to target their advertisements to specific audiences based on users’ profiles. Knowing who your target audience is and how best to target them, makes stranger-to-stranger marketing pretty effective.  

How ShareitEffect is Different 

ShareitEffect is different because it harnesses the power of friend-to-friend marketing and the vast networks already established on social media. By providing an opportunity that is as simple as clicking “share”, for consumers to share products and brands that they recommend with their friends, creating the perfect ripple effect. 

When our customers (just like we would) see a recommendation with a link from someone they know and trust, they are more inclined to check out the link and see the product for themselves. This is how ShareitEffect is different because they allow your customers to share a product they are purchasing from you, including a link back to your site, to their social media profile so that their friends and family can check it out. 

Not only does ShareitEffect make it easy to share recommendations with friends and family using social media, but your customers get rewarded for sharing too! Prior to making a purchase, consumers of your website will be given the opportunity to receive a discount on their purchase by simply sharing the product on their social media profile. From there the ripple effect goes into effect because, your customer’s friends and family will be able, with one click, to visit your website and share the products in order to receive a discount for themselves. This is the ShareitEffect in action! 

Not only is ShareitEffect more effective than other marketing and advertising methods out there; it is also more affordable. Goodbye, are the days of paying for expensive social media ads, hoping that they are targeting the correct audience. Instead, simply offer a discount and let your customers do the marketing for you through social media and the power of word of mouth. 

Try ShareitEffect risk-free for 30 days and see for yourself just how powerful word of mouth and social media can be when used effectively in friend-to-friend marketing! You turn to your friends for advice and recommendations, now your customers will recommend your brand to their friends through social media. The world of possibilities is endless when you trust ShareitEffect to help get recommendations, regarding your brand, out there for numerous friends of your customers to see. 

ShareitEffect is the newest trend in friend-to-friend marketing and it is changing the way you share what you know and love with others. Try it for yourself, you’ll be glad that you did!

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