The greatest marketer any of us could ever have is a happy and talkative customer with lots of friends. Of course, any one customer’s reach is pretty limited compared to a TV spot, even in today’s 500 channel, multi-tasking, timeshifting, DVR world.
When we retailers focus on the customer engagement cycle, which I’ve always defined as Awareness, Acquisition, Satisfaction, Conversion, Retention and Referral, we often spend the majority of our time and budgets on the first stages of the cycle and hope for the best on the Referral stage.
But I think there are at least two steps to actively drive the Referral stage:
1. Provide the right products and service to ensure we have incredibly happy customers
2. Ensure our happy customers have great and easy-to-use tools to tell the world about us
The good news is that the web provides us a fantastic foundation to create these tools, and some of them are so simple you can get them going in no time.
Here are a couple of quickies to start with:
Send To A Friend
Many sites have a Send to a Friend capability somewhere on the site. However, the vast majority of these capabilities are severely understated text links that are hard to find or notice. And worse, the actual email sent is almost always a boring text based email with no branding and compelling content whatsoever. Even though as the sender I’m often asked for my name and email address, the actual message frequently comes from something like email@example.com instead of coming from my full name, which would be far more recognizable to my friend and far more likely to be opened (I hope).
Why not outsize the Send to a Friend capability on the site itself with a fully designed email box with a sender, recipient and notes field and copy that encourages our happy customers to share our products with their friends? Here’s an example from my past at Borders that worked really well:
And when we send the email, why not create a nice, branded HTML template that compels our friend to click though? Why not put as much time and effort into this email template as we regularly put into our weekly marketing emails?
Social Network Sharing
All of our products should have these options as well. It never fails to amaze me how much people want to talk about products, and this is a great way to enable them to talk to all of their friends at once though social networks. These have much better reach than Send to a Friend capabilities, and the resulting post can then spread even deeper through other networks.
Those are two of the simplest ways to very quickly, with limited technical effort, give tools to your customers to help them be our best marketers. In a future post, I’ll discuss some more technically complicated but even more powerful options.
What do you think? What ideas do you have to create tools for your customers to be your best marketers?