How you position your referral program—that is, why it’s in the customer’s interest to promote your product for you—and the creative developed for the program is essential. Success is most influenced by two elements:
1. The positioning of the emotional benefits—with or without compensation to your customer.
2. Copy, graphics and the production format used to promote your product.
There are more places in your direct marketing efforts to promote a referral program than you think. Here are a few ideas:
• Product shipments. The most obvious way to promote a referral program is to insert a flier or a mini-catalog in outgoing product shipments. Consider inserting two fliers or catalogs—one with copy that reads: “Use this if you want to order again” and a second flier that reads: “Give this flier to a friend.” This is a low-cost method to reach customers and engage them at a time when they are delighted to receive a shipment from you.
• Pass-along brochures. Test the inclusion of a brochure in your existing direct mail package urging customers to pass it along. It might be the same flier you use in outgoing product shipments. The key here is testing the additional piece in your direct mail package to make sure you’re not suppressing response by adding the referral program.
• Order form on brochure. For the book club, I included an extra order form in a corner of the large four-color brochure with a headline that encouraged the prospect to clip the order form and pass it along to a friend. Testing revealed that this extra order form lifted overall response by about 15 percent. Again, test this idea to make sure it doesn’t suppress response.
• Gift recipients. If you send gift orders, your customer already has initiated a referral for you. Once you send the gift, mail the recipient a special offer that might convert him or her to a customer. You’ll probably want to test mailing recipients over a multi-season period and not limit your effort to a one-time mailing. Don’t forget to include a brochure in the gift shipment; recipients may want to order for themselves or send a gift before you can get the follow-up mailing out.
Reinventing Direct is for the direct marketer seeking guidance in the evolving world of online marketing. Gary Hennerberg is a mind code marketing strategist, based on the template from his new book, "Crack the Customer Mind Code." He is recognized as a leading direct marketing consultant and copywriter. He weaves in how to identify a unique selling proposition to position, or reposition, products and services using online and offline marketing approaches, and copywriting sales techniques. He is sought-after for his integration of direct mail, catalogs, email marketing, websites, content marketing, search marketing, retargeting and more. His identification of USPs and copywriting for clients has resulted in sales increases of 15 percent, 35 percent, and even as high as 60 percent. Today he integrates both online and offline media strategies, and proven copywriting techniques, to get clients results. Email him or follow Gary on LinkedIn. Co-authoring this blog is Perry Alexander of ACM Initiatives. Follow Perry on LinkedIn.