Get ahead of the curve: Launch your Refer-a-Friend Scheme in January

So it’s your first week back in the office in 2017.

No doubt you will be relieved to be in the final lap of that almost non-stop 57 day Holiday Sales period that started with Black Friday and stretches up to the end of your January Sales. And even if the Christmas spending bump may be less important for your business these days, we assume that you will probably have been fully focused on the peak sales period since late September.

So as well as taking stock of your own internal sales data and keeping an eye on the early performance indicators from the retail bellweathers like Next, M&S and Debenhams, you will enjoy the freedom to look at the fresh new marketing ideas that will really make a difference for your brand in 2017.

One thing that should definitely be on your agenda is refer-a-friend marketing. Across dozens of verticals, we have seen that customer referrals consistently provide better quality customers at a lower CPA than any other online marketing channels. So if you don't have a refer-a-friend scheme you should be looking at tapping into this channel. And even if you already have an in-house built or under-performing third party solution, you should be considering swapping it out for a best in class enterprise referral platform.

But it is not only because you now have more time to think of new marketing strategies that we launch more brands and retailers in January than at any other time of the year. There are four very good reasons why this is a great time to launch or re-launch your referral scheme:

  1. Customers are more likely to refer friends when you are at the front of their mind. That is likely to be after each touch point with your brand: immediately after purchase or on receipt of the goods for example. But even on Takeback Tuesday, as a frictionless and satisfactory returns process is a great way to ensure consumer satisfaction. And because you probably made more sales in the last month than you do in most quarters, you are likely to be at the front of mind for a lot of happy customers. This is a great opportunity to tap into that positive goodwill and get your customers to spread the word about you to their friends.

  2. Since you have been in almost constant price promotion mode since Black Friday, you probably picked up a lot of bargain hunters. So now you need to work out how to extract value from them, and the best way to do that is by getting them to refer their less price sensitive friends. When you start getting two, three, four new customers for the price of one, suddenly your numbers start to look a lot better.

  3. The Holiday Sales period is probably the most expensive time to acquire new customers, as all your competitors bid up the price of clicks, impressions and other media. So it’s vital that your newly acquired customers stick around long enough for you to make money. The good news is that customers who refer friends tend to become significantly more loyal themselves – because the act of referring reminds them how much they love your brand and they lend you some of their credibility vis-a-vis their friends by recommending your brand. All of which makes them less likely to switch themselves, not least so they won't appear hypocritical to the friends they referred. And when the reward for a successful referral is store credit or another incentive linked to a future purchase, guess what? They are more likely to purchase again.

  4. Lastly, as your January Sale starts to peter out, you risk losing momentum in Q1. The Easter sales look a long way off and your customers have just emptied their wallets and maxed out their credit cards. We imagine you are probably looking for a new way to get customers over the next two months without returning to constant promotions. So because your existing customers are ready to help you by referring their friends, it would be crazy not to grab that opportunity right now.

Let's talk Referral Marketing!

If you are looking for innovative ways to make 2017 a great year for your brand, then get in touch and we will be delighted to show you the how the latest generation of referral marketing software can your drive customer acquisition and reduce your CPAs.

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