Refer a Friend 2017 Trends and Best Practices

by Sean Ogino |

Referrals, described as the Holy Grail of advertising by none other than Mark Zuckerberg, have proven themselves to be a long-term success strategy. All business segments and verticals–from fashion to B2B–owe some of their success to referral programs. But looking at the volatile nature of marketing, refer a friend 2017 programs are not going to be used by marketers in the same old ways. Or, the ways may remain same but the extent of their applications may change. And thus, as the year is all set to pass by, it’s a must for you as a marketer to look at how the murmur of changing times will sound in the world of referrals.

Refer a Friend 2017: Electronic Price Tags

Though electronic price tags have been making their impact for the last couple of years, the upcoming year will see a steep rise in their use in referral marketing.

For those who aren’t aware of “e-tags”, they basically work by communicating with a customer’s phone through a pre-loaded app. The personalized promotions will reach customers through these e-tags based on the history of their previous purchase decisions. To explain it in a little depth, if a customer has purchased a specific brand of sunglasses in the past, the price tags will initiate the special or discount offers to the buyers which are there on that brand.

Refer a Friend 2017: Enhanced Segmentation & Personalized Promotions

Segmentation will also play a huge role in refer a friend 2017 trends, especially as it relates to personalized messaging. Referral programs like Annex Cloud’s can combine data about purchase recency, frequency, and average order value with information like the following:

  • Customer loyalty and advocate marketing data
  • Location of purchase or delivery
  • Type of product purchased
  • Interactions with the brand in-store, online, in-app, or on social
  • Any data imported from a client’s CRM, ERP, ESP, or personalization engine, among other third-party data sources

This allows marketers to create highly detailed segments that they can then create personalized messaging for, increasing the likelihood of referral success.

For example, instead of merely sending an email to their whole list that says, “If you love our brand, refer us to your friends,” marketers can send an email to customers in their loyalty program who’ve never referred a friend, or to shoppers who made an in-store purchase two weeks ago, or to people who bought a specific product. The referral request emails can then be made more specific and engaging.

Refer a Friend 2017: More Flexible Omni-Channel Experiences

Smartphones are unavoidable. 80% of mobile Wi-Fi customers use their mobile devices while shopping in-store. Naturally, marketers will rely heavily on mobile not just to get shoppers’ attention, but to pull the entire omni-channel experience together.

This process can be taxing, as marketing teams will have to put more effort in the process of making their mobile referral line-up flexible and responsive. One way of doing it might be to insert referral promotions into every aspect of their mobile offerings. The possible avenues where we can see referral promotions in the mobile set-up could be-

  • Mobile ordering and in-store pick-up
  • Stock level checks on in-store suppl
  • Mobile version of gift card
  • Omni-channel shopping cart

Beyond these promotions, refer a friend 2017 applications will include a more flexible omni-channel process of beginning and redeeming the referral. These methods will include:

  1. Online to Online
  2. Online to Offline
  3. Offline to Online
  4. Offline to Offline

To learn more about omni-channel referrals, visit this post.

Refer a Friend 2017: Referral Programs Won’t Work in Isolation

There is enough empirical data to show that referrals drive purchases. But when they are operating alone, they are less effective in driving a repeat purchase as they could otherwise be. And believe me…repeat purchase is the only sure way to ensure that revenue funnel runs without interruption. It takes 9 first time buyers to get the conversion of a single repeat one. Besides, a repeat customer spends 3x to 5x more. The worth of a repeat customer is much higher!

Now, if your entire referral program merely offers a discount to each and every new customer, you are missing a chance to push them towards a territory of loyalty. For them, you are just a convenient way to get the coupon and make a purchase. And thus, your referral program’s alignment with your loyalty program is a logical progression.

Owing to the referral program, you already have a rich collection of customer data. You just have to target them by giving a discount to encourage the referred customer to your site, and then offer extra value for signing up to your loyalty program. Now, it is like giving them quick incentives and long term benefits. It’s not without reason why experts say that the future of loyalty is referral.

Refer a Friend 2017: Noble Causes

Until now, companies have usually been associated with charitable causes through the channels of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), their founding missions (e.g. companies like Toms), or special events. But we might see referral programs extending their hands here as well. Though it is being formulated by very few businesses, it won’t be imprudent to say that this trend will catch the fire in the future.

Upserve, a restaurant management platform, rewards customers for their referrals by making a $200 donation to the Clean Water Fund. This altruistic motivation is a powerfu motivation l for customers to participate in the program.

We have unflinching faith in our belief that referral programs work well when they operate with other new-era solutions. Read this blog where we have explained how loyalty and referral are a perfect match for each other. To know exact;y how our referral program works, go through this blog. To learn even more about optimized refer a friend programs, check out our case study with Vivobarefoot in which they saw a 10:1 ROI on Sharing and Referrals and Social Login, and our Step-by-Step Guide for a Powerful Referral Program!

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