When it comes to promoting your brand, referral marketing is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. Fortunately, customer referrals are right at your fingertips — once you know how and when to ask for them.
Why are customer referrals so important to your business? As the backbone of word-of-mouth marketing, referrals help you lower the cost of customer acquisition. By making use of your loyal customers’ love of your products, you circumvent the need to pay for traditional advertising.
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the cornerstones of Ice Cream Social — so much so that it inspired our name. In the 1920s, ice cream socials were popular planned parties that brought friends together over a shared love of ice cream. At the height of this trend, full neighborhoods would gather, swap stories, gossip, and gab about their favorite products.
Ice Cream Social captures the spirit of classic word-of-mouth marketing with a modern twist. It’s a powerful social referral tool that gives your customers the power to act as influencers for your brand. With enticing rewards programs and an easy-to-use platform, ICS makes it simple to let your customers market for you on social media.
Authentic stories can spark more interest than any polished marketing campaign. Surveys show that 92% of consumers believe the recommendations of their friends and family over standard forms of advertising. The modern consumer values lived experience over flashy ads — and fun rewards don’t hurt, either.
How to Ask Your Customer for Referrals
You’re ready to tap into the growing world of social media referrals, but how do you ask your customers for them? While this can be one of the most challenging elements of referral marketing, there are several ways to make sure your customers are feeling at ease and excited to refer their friends to your brand.
Timing Is Everything
The key to harnessing the power of word-of-mouth marketing is timing. While there are several milestones at which you should reach out to your customer, your top priority should be connecting with them when they’re happy about their purchase. Imperative moments include:
Immediately After Checkout
One of the best times to nudge your customers for a referral is in the moments after they check out. They’re online, engaged, excited about their purchase — and likely to share their positive feelings with a friend.
To take advantage of this prime moment:
- Include a call to action that pops up on the order confirmation page.
- In the receipt or confirmation email, encourage customers to share the product with a friend to gain a reward.
When They Receive Their Shipping Confirmation
Once the product is en route, customers are typically feeling excited about the impending arrival. Include a call to action or offer a reward for a referral in their shipping confirmation email.
When the Product Arrives
Perhaps the most magical moment in the process is the day your customer’s package arrives. To ask for a referral on the arrival day, slip a promotional paper inside the packaging — remind them of your referral program and the rewards that await them.
During the Review Phase
After the customer has owned your product for a few days or a week, the time is right to ask for a review and remind them of your referral program. If you have a stellar product that customers consistently love, encourage your happy clients to leave both a review and referral at the same time. You can also follow up with visibly happy reviewers to inspire them to refer a friend.
Another tried and true strategy is to include a clear call to action in your promotional emails. In your email campaigns to leads and customers, include a button that links to a reward. For example, invite them to “Get $10” via a link to a rewards page on your website.
Provide an Incentive
An effective form of referral strategy is incentive marketing — and for good reason! Also known as reward marketing, offering an incentive to your customer is an appealing way to persuade them to provide positive reviews and referrals for your brand.
To take advantage of this effective tool, aim to provide an easy win for the customer. Some brands even use gamification to amp up the fun side of sharing referrals among friends.
Make Them Feel Like a Hero
Never underestimate the power of making customers feel special. When you center your customer as the hero — by giving them the opportunity to hook their friends up with big, exclusive offers — you’re likely to earn a significant number of referrals.
This strategy makes your customers feel that they’re a part of the ever-growing industry of influencer marketing. Ice Cream Social allows every single customer to act as a micro-influencer for your brand, and who doesn’t love that feeling?
Personalization Is Key
Referrals are often most effective when they’re customizable. Ice Cream Social leverages this quality by providing personalized emails. In other words, your customer will be able to send an email to a friend that appears to come straight from the referrer. When emails come straight from your customers, their friends are more likely to take action.
Make the Process Easy
To consistently earn quality referrals from your customer base, it pays to make the process as easy as possible. Luckily, ICS makes it simpler than ever for your customers to link back to the products they love with dynamic linking.
Beyond this, Ice Cream Social harnesses the power of social media by making it easy for customers to integrate with email, text messaging apps, and their favorite social media platforms. ICS streamlines the process by providing a unique URL for customers to share however they choose so they can easily connect with friends.