• E-mail. If you have an opt-in list of customers and you send e-mail promotions, one of the easiest things a customer can do is forward your message to a friend. The term “viral marketing” has been coined by e-mail marketers to describe how one customer recommends a product to a friend. If you hope to have customers forward your message, the emotional motivations you need to convey may be different than in print. Successful e-mail tends to be highly offer driven, and you have a short span of words and seconds to communicate your message. There should also be a reason provided for why e-mail was used to convey the message, such as a time-sensitive offer or making it easy to click through to a Web site. Consider, too, the demographics of your typical customer (who provided you with an e-mail address and gave you permission to contact him by e-mail) as you craft your message.
If you launch a referral program, fulfill it. If you plan to give your customer an incentive for making the referral, capture the data and fulfill the gift. Even if you don’t give a gift, a highly appreciated gesture might be simply to send a letter of thanks.
You may not have to give an incentive to customers to encourage them to refer your company to a friend. Rather, the position of the “ask” for the referral and how you convey the message to evoke the emotional feel-good may be enough.
When you encourage customers to make a referral for you, they must feel as if they’ve done a favor for their friends. Not for you. Sometimes a referral program is as simple as that.
Gary Hennerberg has been a direct marketing professional for more than 25 years, and a direct marketing consultant and copywriter for the past 11 years. He can be reached at (817) 481-8644 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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.