A product referral program helped each of these thriving eCommerce companies grow by engaging and leveraging their biggest brand cheerleaders. Whether they offer e-store credit, product discounts, or the fulfillment of contributing to an important cause, the most competitive brands understand that their customers crave more than just a transaction. Consumers want meaning, experience, value, and connection–the very qualities a lifestyle brand should be built on.
In today’s information age, we share more frequently, with more people. At the same time, there are increasingly more offers and content competing for our digital shares. Product referral programs have the potential to cut through the noise and motivate individuals to use their social voice and influence to promote your brand and products. To achieve referral marketing success, however, your program must incorporate a deep understanding of your audience, truly valuable rewards, and social incentive.
Product Referral Programs Give Customers an Incentive to Share
A study by the New York Times Consumer Insight Group, The Psychology of Sharing, highlights our primary motivations for sharing online, and essential steps marketers can take to increase digital word of mouth. A majority of people choose to share information for one of the following reasons:
- To connect with others who share their interests
- To reinforce the self-image they’d like to present
- To give others a sense of who they are and what they care about
- To inform others of products they care about
- To change opinions and encourage action
A powerful product referral program taps into one or more of these reasons to share, creating an opportunity for people to connect with one another, express themselves, and directly drive results.
One of the most interesting findings of the study is that the act of sharing deepens individuals understanding of and commitment to your brand. 73 percent of participants said they “process information more deeply…when they share it.” This means that product referral programs not only help you acquire new customers, but also increase loyalty in your existing customers. As one participant stated, “I remember products…better when I share them and am more likely to use them.”
3 Ways Product Referral Programs Motivate Consumers
1. Social Incentive
Referral rewards, incentives, and credits not only save people money and give them material benefits, they can also help strengthen relationships. That is, if you offer rewards that enrich the lives of both the referrer and the person referred. A strong product referral program will appeal to your customers’ motivation to connect with one another–not just with your brand.
A product referral program with built in social incentive will offer rewards to both the person who made the referral, and the friend or family member who claimed it. For example, AirBnB offers travel credit to both the user who invites a friend to join, and to the new member. When everyone benefits, people feel less slimy about recruiting friends in order to make a buck. With social credit, the referral does not come off as greedy, but as a generous opportunity provided by your brand.
2. Rewards People Can Use
People respond to rewards that are truly valuable, and which they can actually use. Many people will only share information and offers that are specifically relevant and useful to the recipient. If you sell health products, your customers are likely invested in improving their health and would welcome the opportunity to try new, relevant products. For example, you might offer your existing customers a discount on repeat orders of their favorite vitamin if they invite their friends to sign-up, and give new customers half off the product of their choice. Introducing the freedom to choose rewards means that people will customize the reward to their needs.
People also appreciate rewards they can experience. A discount or deal on a meal, outing, or event, for example, is enticing because it gives recipients the chance to try something that may have been inaccessible otherwise. Offering a restaurant deal? Participants can share the deal with friends, and all go out to enjoy a meal together, forming a meaningful social bond with your brand.
3. Natural Word of Mouth
Product referral programs can spur customers to become brand advocates, especially when you give people strong motivators to share. Americans say they tell an average of nine people about positive brand experiences. When you reward customers simply for registering, engaging, sharing, or making that first purchase, you start a positive feedback loop that leads to exponentially more referrals.
Word of mouth is an unbeatable source of growth for lifestyle brands, because the products they sell tend to be personal, and closely tied to emotion and aspiration. People will use product referral programs to more closely identify with a brand they admire, and let others know about it. Digital marketers already know how powerful word of mouth is. When friends refer friends, they are more likely to trust your services and form an emotional connection to your brand.
Launch Your Product Referral Program and Engage New Customers Today
One of the best things about product referral programs is that referrals are highly measurable, and help companies identify key drivers of growth and valuable markets. Buyapowa’s product referral program delivers a seamless and responsive experience across all devices. You can capture offline referrals, connect participants through simple clicks, and use easy SMS account validation. Plus it’s backed by round the clock support from our own eCommerce referral marketing experts.
Take the first step in launching your Lifestyle Product Referral Program today. Contact Buyapowa to grow brand awareness and increase loyalty with trust-based customer interactions.