4 tips for boosting your customer engagement

Consumer engagement is a very important factor that contributes to the success (or failure) of your business. Isn’t it interesting that fully engaged customers are 23% more profitable in terms of revenue and relationships? Its absence should flash a red light in your head that something is wrong. If customers were eager to come back to your website and shop in the beginning but now the situation is different, you should start looking for a reason why. It may be poor targeting of your offer or increased competition –  there can be many reasons for this. 

Of course, you could try, for example, to expand your offer or change the target if you feel that these are the reasons for a lack of commitment on your website. But we also have some ideas of our own and asked some professionals about their tips for boosting customer engagement. Are you interested? 

Time response is crucial

Customer involvement is heavily influenced by the customer experience. After all, 86% of buyers indicated that they would be willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Do you know what your customers don’t like the most? Waiting. So don’t make them wait too long. 

The first interaction with a client is very important. First impressions are only made once, right? Therefore, if you make clients wait from the very beginning, it does not bode well for a long relationship. Here is what Petra Odak, CMO at Better Proposals advised regarding this matter:

Reduce your first response time as much as you possibly can! If you take hours to get back to a customer, they could have already gone to a competitor and canceled their subscription with you. Either employ a chatbot to resolve the most common questions your customers ask (which we don’t do) or hire a dedicated customer support rep to cover all the time zones of your customers. You don’t need to immediately solve your customers’ problems, but it is crucial to respond as soon as possible.

Chatbots, as mentioned above, are a very interesting option. Bhooshan Shatty from Engati said:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is radically changing business, and AI chatbots are becoming a feasible customer service channel. The best ones deliver a customer experience (CX) in which customers cannot tell if they are communicating with a human or a computer. AI has come a long way in recognizing the content – and context – of customers’ requests and questions. They are ubiquitous on nearly every brand website today, making a significant mark in consumer-facing tasks through fast and consistent support.

He also mentioned some of the biggest chatbot pros just to highlight their values:

1. Available 24/7 for Your Customers

2. Chatbots continuously learn

3. Ensure a Personalized Customer Service Experience

4. Your team has more context on each customer

5. Creates a consistent user experience

And just to support these words, forecasts say that approximately 40% of customer interactions will be automated by 2023. As you can see, automation is becoming a bigger player on the market in terms of interactions as well. 

It’s important to be understood

People need to know why they should choose you and how it could be beneficial for them to be engaged. Ugnius Zasimauskas from Attention Insight says that:

Whenever users open your page, they will immediately have several questions that you are expected to answer: Does this page have what I’m looking for? Where is it? How do I get it?

Ugnius highlights the importance of your page’s visual aspects, the way you organize it, and how easily navigable it is. He advises that: 

You can also promote specific content, encourage your visitors to click on call-to-actions, and improve the overall user experience. All of which will undeniably increase customer engagement and your conversions.

The way your page looks and how easy is to find something on it is a crucial aspect. If someone visits your site, they are doing so for a reason. Firstly, what they’re looking for has to be relatively easy to find, and secondly, it must be clear why they should do business on your webpage. Send your message clearly.

Jeffrey Kagan from Nifty also has an interesting point of view. His main tip is to: 

…focus on ensuring that users both paid and free have a good understanding of the best ways to use your product. In support of his words, he adds that:

At Nifty we have started offering biweekly webinars to our user base and they have become very popular among productivity junkies and new users alike, leading to a much more engaged and active user base.

And he has a point – boosting customer engagement is all about understanding your product. Showing how to use it or presenting some useful tricks may be the key to their hearts.

The same rules apply to mobile apps. David Cacik, Head of Marketing at CloudTalk explains:

The observed huge increase in the range and importance of mobile will continue. Mobile channels must provide customers with what they expect, based on intuitive interfaces and a wide range of available tools and options. Access to selected products may be limited due to the client’s ability and “ability” to close specific transactions, but the access to services and information itself must be sufficiently wide. Customers can be directed to specific places and channels (e.g. a dedicated call center or a designated, conveniently located outlet) in order to continue the process, but it must be done efficiently and easily, without effort from the customer’s perspective.

As for the mobile applications themselves – their capabilities, intuitive design, security of authorization mechanisms, etc. – the wealth of solutions offered on the market in all industries and markets is so large that each company can find and choose what best meets customer needs despite limitations and formal or legal requirements.

Show benefits

Once customers understand what your product is about and how to use it, they need to focus on the benefits. These are the main driving factors for choosing your product over competitors’. Konrad Caban has this piece of related advice:

Show your customer how their activity in your app can benefit them. Explain that the more they do, the more they get from the money they spend. And I’m not talking about some virtual rewards (gamification), but a real impact on their business (or life).

He added how they manage this issue in Super Monitoring:

For example, in Super Monitoring, you can stick to default checks and only view email alerts and reports. But when you create more checks, you can monitor more features of your website, besides availability – like load speed, transactions, expiring assets, etc. And when you log in, you can access detailed information about the problems detected for root cause analysis.

Konrad also highlights the importance of the cause-and-effect relationship between customer engagement and their benefits. He claims that it’s good material for case studies, but what’s crucial is that: 

Such case studies should be presented to a user early as a part of the onboarding process.

Building community helps a lot 

Community is a factor that allows customers to feel a bond with the brand in question. Moreover, it builds loyalty and keeps customers coming back. Matej Kukucka from Marketing Player says:

Create a community around your product with specific use cases. No matter your business size and industry, your customers are probably very keen on using your products or services. Therefore streamlining them into a single place is a great way to increase customer engagement, and it’s very possible to improve retention as well.

Martin Bloksa from StreamBee has exciting insights about using Discord for this purpose. He explains from his experience why it was a bull’s eye: 

Considering we are streamer analytics software, Discord was an obvious choice when it comes to choosing where to engage with our customers. Create  different channels and let your customers and potential prospects interact with you. Help them, they won’t forget about it. And for those who are your best clients, create a special place. Simply a VIP zone to feel them better. They will be happy to come back and engage with yourself.

It’s a very nice idea to go the extra mile and expand beyond well-known social media. After all, right now, most interaction takes place online, so why not have a chat with your customers in real-time and let them talk to each other too.  

Building a community may also be helpful with creating or upgrading new products. More than 60% of companies admit they turn to brand communities in the case of product development.

Focus on relationships and authenticity

Building strong relationships is important both in life and in business. It’s crucial to be close with your customers to give them the feeling they have a go-to site where they can find what they need. Zach Boyette from Galactic Fed advises focusing on three P’s, which are:

Purpose: customers are more interested in social impact, especially when it comes to diversity and inclusivity.

Personalization: customers want to personalize their products and feel like brands are tailoring the product to them.

Positioning: brands that position their product to enhance or facilitate a new experience will come out ahead.

He adds that experience is crucial when it comes to relationships:

Customers want an experience that is more meaningful and less transactional, and brands that do this will boost their customer engagement as a result.

What is the foundation of each good relationship? Authenticity. That’s why Deepti Chopra from Adaface points out that:

Customers today are looking for authenticity over all else. Finding a voice that is unique, that customers can relate to, while staying true to your brand values is a long term investment which pays off over time.

She adds that relationships and authenticity support the community, which, as already mentioned, is another key aspect when it comes to boosting customer engagement.

Showing off your brand personality on social media (while still knowing where to draw the line) and building a community that adds value and maintains an ongoing conversation are also great ways to engage customers.

Authenticity goes hand-in-hand with security. Each client has to feel that their data is safe and sound when it comes to your database. Iva Anusic from Mediatoolkit added:

Observing the world around us, we commonly see two opposite trends. On the one hand, customers are ready to share more and more data, if only to get a better offer. At the same time, the same customers are expressing more and more caution and distrust when it comes to the security of use and the guarantee of storage of this data.

In order to gain the customer’s trust, banks should clearly and openly communicate the scope and manner of using individual data, with the option of “going in / out” (opt-in / opt-out) of a specific procedure for obtaining and using the data. That is to emphasize the care for data security and confidentiality. Plus, it can be another highlighting factor.

Content should be king

You have probably heard this phrase a million times, but it’s true. Without good content, it is hard to catch anybody’s attention, let alone engage them. Farwa Anees from Content Studio says that:

Using your blogs as a means of providing answers to what your audience is looking for will lead to happy and permanent subscribers, ultimately leading to company growth.

As a consultant for both small and large businesses, Felix Yim from GrowthBoost says that:

…the most common mistakes I see are advertisements that don’t engage with the customer. As a guide to boost your customer engagement, start all your campaigns with the pain point your customer faces, and then lead with how you can help.

You need to create a content plan: what, where, and when. You should then examine the content itself: its form, design, and accuracy. Remember to provide meaningful content, share your knowledge in a nice format, and don’t forget about personalization.

Agnieszka Kuprianowicz from Angry Nerds has a good insight about this topic:

Commitment starts with a better understanding of customers as people. It can and should be supported by the most up-to-date and beneficial information (including the offer). This information, in turn, should be provided in an attractive and engaging manner, building a good experience, using a wide range of complementary channels (omnichannel).

Jacek Wizmur-Szymczak from Scalac advices focus on topicality:

To increase the level of customer engagement, companies need to become more involved in terms of product offerings and promotions, but also in the way they share information and demonstrate understanding of customer needs. The so-called Content (content and form of communication) must be up-to-date, profiled, and “meaningful” for customers; it should not be seen as part of cross- and upselling activities.

Boosting your customer engagement starts now

As you can see, boosting your customer engagement is not rocket science. Hopefully, some of these pieces of advice from experts will pave the way for you and your customers to engage a little more.

Improving customer engagement is a big step towards building your business performance and brand awareness. When you engage your customers and strengthen bonds with them, they will stay with you for longer.

Clubhouse Referral Phenomenon: nuts and bolts

Invitation exclusively via membership, only for owners of hardware with iOS software. Visual and text elements kept to a minimum. Voice as the main means of communication. What are we talking about? Of course, it’s the Clubhouse application that has recently exploded in popularity. How does it work and what should you know about it? You’ll find the answers in this article.

What is Clubhouse? 

Clubhouse is a young social network that was founded in March 2020. It is based on live voice calls, and all activities on this platform take place around them. App owners describe it as a new type of voice-based social product that allows people to chat, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting people from around the World. Messages, pictures, and videos can’t be sent in the app, however you can create your own profile, add a description in the bio, make friends, observe other users, and participate in conversations. 

It can be compared to an interactive radio or podcast. Its users also influence the popularity of the platform. Currently, you can find popular journalists, the richest people in the world, as well as the most important names in marketing and Big Tech as users. In addition, you can find A-list stars and celebrities using the app.

How to register for Clubhouse? 

Clubhouse is not open to everyone. To register, you must receive an invitation from an active user sent to your phone number. Each user receives a number of invitations to give away – the amount number varies. The quality of new users who are referred influences the algorithm’s perception of the given invitations. Importantly, Clubhouse is currently only available on iPhones.

This exclusive approach to membership is not the first such on the market. In the beginning, Instagram, which was designed only for iPhone users, and Quora, which was only open to invitees, worked similarly. Neither app was perceived negatively, but the exclusivity rather worked to the advantage of their image.

Why is it a great referral marketing case?

Despite only being a year old, Clubhouse has attracted 2,000,000 users. It is applying a strategy called Velvet Rope. Exclusivity is created through a combination of invite-only memberships and strategic hype. A person who wants in must be either a VIP or receive an invitation from someone who is.

Once you’re in, you become a “VIP” too, being an exclusive member.  It’s hard to acquire anything behind a velvet rope, and therefore what’s behind it seems more desirable. As Clubhouse’s app is exclusive, more people are likely to want membership due to its invitation-only approach.

Clubhouse is a large topic of conversation on social media. As a result, there is a lot of demand for relatively little supply. In this way, people beg their friends for an invite, while those with invites have to show a lot of kindness and consideration to those without. You might think that limiting access to your service to invite-only would hurt your chances, but it can actually do the opposite.

Those invites take care of any trust issues because a friend has already tested out the service. The enrollment itself is a gladly taken action. Besides finding initial users, it does not require any financial cost. Also, the scales work incredibly well. 

A few brands are fortunate enough to have two of their customers refer two of their friends. You can scale in a massive way if you make the process simple (as Clubhouse has done). Clubhouse’s invite-only model also stands to benefit members. The start might be a little low, but when everyone recommends two more then it develops into an exponentially growing machine.

How does Clubhouse work? 

After you receive an invitation and create an account, you can join a room where voice calls are held. At the moment there are three types of rooms in Clubhouse:

  • Open, which is one that anyone can join, 
  • Social, a room that is available to people who follow the user that organizes a specific conversation – it works great for building your community, 
  • Closed, a room available only to those who receive an invitation to it.

When creating a room, you can give it a theme that is displayed in invitations and its description. In addition, you can add regulations to your room.

You can participate in conversations passively and just listen to them like a radio or podcast. The second option is to actively participate in discussions. If you are not the moderator or conversation organizer for a particular room, then you must “raise your hand” to let them know you want to actively join in the conversation. In addition, if you want or need to leave a discussion then you can “leave quietly”. You can also invite people who are not already in the room – ping.

If you want to set up your own conversation, just click Start a room. Anyone can join the room, but it is up to you to decide whether or not to join the discussion as a speaker and if you want to appoint someone else as the moderator.

To look for conversations that interest you, you can use the search option. In addition, you can search for specific people as well as users related to a topic you are interested in. Another useful option is the ability to create a room that is setup in advance. People from your and co-hosts’ networks can see such an event.

You will also see emotes and additional colors on photos when in a room. What do they mean? The moderator of the meeting is marked with an asterisk in a green circle, the crossed out microphone is of course information about muted audio, confetti shows us new users who have been on Clubhouse for less than a week, while the gray pulsating border around a photo indicates the person who is currently speaking.

After setting up your first three rooms, an additional option to apply for the establishment of your own club appears. This is the equivalent of Facebook groups. At this point, you have to wait even several weeks to establish such a club.

Who needs Clubhouse and why? 

The main advantage of Clubhouse is the possibility of learning. It gives you direct access to people who are high-level experts that want to share their knowledge. Communication with them is easy and, by participating in discussions with them, you can ask questions that may have been bothering you for a long time. 

Another important aspect is that it is a source of acquiring new followers or engaging existing ones. Often, even if someone follows your profile on Facebook or Instagram, they do not see your content as often as they would like to.

Clubhouse is a brilliant way to remind them of your existence. It’s also great for maintaining relationships with people you rarely meet and are not at the stage of your relationship when it’s appropriate to talk on the phone or write on Messenger.

Get ready for Clubhouse

Prepare a good quality profile and bio 

Once you have access to Clubhouse, it’s time to complete your profile with your name, photo, and bio. This is the only place where you can write something, so it’s essential. What is worth including in it?

  • information about who you are, what you do professionally, and why it is worth contacting you, 
  • what topics of industry and private talks interest you,
  • an email and/or website address, 
  • information about organized rooms and meetings, 
  • links to your Instagram and/or Twitter accounts.

Make sure your profile picture properly represents you and is of good quality. Your photo is displayed in all rooms that you join, hence its importance. 

Expand your friend network 

The networks you build can be divided into two main categories: those with whom you have social interactions (social graph) and those you do not know personally but share our interests (interest graph). The latter category definitely prevails in Clubhouse, as you share common areas of professional and private interests with the members of a given network. Appropriate selection of the people you want to observe shapes the approach of algorithms towards you and impacts upon further suggestions of people to follow.

To add a specific person to your watchlist, just click Follow. And if you want to receive notifications about any rooms organized by them, you should click the bell next to the Follow button (or Following, if you are already doing so).

Cross-promote with other social media

Clubhouse will certainly not dominate Facebook or Twitter, as it is a medium on which a different type of communication is used. However, it is definitely worth investing time in joining activities on Clubhouse. The greatest involvement among an audience is driven by improvised messages aimed at an immersed viewer. This makes Clubhouse generate engaged communication. Therefore, the key to the activities of marketers and other people conducting online activities is to extend their activities to Clubhouse, thanks to which they will have a chance to reach new followers and meet the needs of current users.

On the other hand, Clubhouse allows you to conduct live shows and interviews without the need to prepare an entire studio, lighting, or professional cameras. It allows content that doesn’t really need images to be shared in a format that suits it best. In addition, it allows users to follow in the background just like when listening to podcasts on streaming services or radio.

A few words of summary

A few years ago, the end of the voice era was announced. After podcasting, Clubhouse is further proof that this is not actually the case. It satisfies another area of ​​communication that has not yet been developed by popular platforms like Facebook or other social media. The requirements for using Clubhouse are greater than other platforms due to the need to be invited and have an iPhone, which gives the user a sense of uniqueness. But use of the application itself is very easy, allowing you to join conversations in just a few clicks. We don’t know if Clubhouse will develop further and last for a long time or if it will rather share a similar fate to Snapchat, which shone for a while until it was made obsolete by Instagram. Perhaps one of the big players will want to take it over, but we don’t know about that for sure. However, it’s definitely worth watching Clubhouse and taking action right now, because doing so will allow you to stay one step ahead.

Parrot Insider #2: How EarlyParrot supports eCommerce: 5 reasons to love our tool

Right now, the eCommerce market is very crowded. The pandemic has forced many retailers to switch to digital, and thus the competition is fierce here. Maybe you didn’t experience this for yourself, or on the contrary you are feeling the competition’s breath on your back. No matter which situation is closest to yours, it’s useful to know some good ways to support your eCommerce performance. 

So let’s assume that, unfortunately, your customers aren’t breaking down your doors right now. It may be a challenging situation, after all you need customers if you are to stay on the market. Why are customers not visiting your store? You have to answer this question yourself. Perhaps, as mentioned before, there’s too much competition in your sector, and you can’t get through potential customers or maybe they just don’t know you are. If you’ve read our text on ways to increase sales, you will know that referral marketing is one of the most suitable strategies in this case. Why not give it a go? It’s worth trying new solutions that will interest customers, and perhaps they will stay for longer and make some purchases.

Now let’s start from scratch. Why should referral marketing be your cup of tea?

Referral marketing in a nutshell

Referral marketing is based on the relationships you manage to build with your customers. In this respect, it’s worth taking care of the customer experience, since almost 90% of customers say that they would be willing to pay for something if they have a good one. By building relationships you can create a community, and this is the perfect foundation for acquiring more and more customers. The support of your eCommerce operation through referral marketing can become really visible, and all this with relatively little effort. 

So what’s the drill? First you need to create a program and set the rewards, then let your clients know about it. When customers engage in it and share referral links with their friends, you will most likely see an increase in sales. 

If you are wondering if recommendations really have that much power, we have some numbers to back it up. Over 90% of customers trust referrals from their friends over those from other sources, e.g. influencers. In addition, take into account the desire to win a prize. People are competitive by nature, so why not make the most of this. Encourage both your regular clients and those who visit your site for the first time to participate and try to win the referral trophy. You can choose the prizes differently for both groups – the rewards system is up to you.

Thanks to referral marketing, you can also lower your CTAs, extend your reach, and increase customer engagement and loyalty. It will drive up your conversions for sure – referrals can convert up to 30% better than other marketing types.

However, in order to prepare a referral marketing program well, you will need the help of a tool. EarlyParrot may be a game-changer for you! Why is it so great?

Reason no. 1: easy installation and seamless integration

Let’s start from the very beginning, which means the installation process. If you are worried about your IT skills, there’s no reason to be. EarlyParrot does not require any, and the whole process would guide you through it step by step. The installation won’t take you more than 15 minutes. 

What to do first? Pasting the code is the most important step. For everything to work properly, you need to have tracking on both the landing page and the share page. You can paste the code manually or use Google Tag Manager. Now click the Verify Installation button.

If you use Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento, that’s great. For other platforms, you can contact EarlyParrot and they might be able to make it work for you as well. If you have chosen one of the aforementioned three, what you need to do now is to set up a webhook. Thanks to this, the platform will know about every new purchase made on your website. EarlyParrot does its job at this point, which is to detect whether a given transaction was initiated from an email or not. If this criterion is met, a notification or reward will be sent to the referrer. 

Now it’s time to create your program, design communication, import and invite your customers, then you can go live. But hold your horses. We will show you some big pros of EarlyParrot before you gain countless new customers. 

Reason no. 2: convenient program creator

The program creator is very handy and intuitive. What’s more, it shows you which aspects need more improvement. For starters you can decide on your goal, which in the case of eCommerce would be more sales.

The next step is the reward system. You can choose who you want to reward by picking from the three options Reward Unlocking, Top Influencer, and Fast Lane. 

Once you choose your system, you can then create the rewards. Select its criteria, and decide whether it will be a repeat reward or not. If so, define the target. Add more specifics like image, name, and description. You can also write a coupon code in a reward email, in which case you need to create that. 

Here you can create emails, invites, and share pages. Another great advantage at the end when you are required to integrate the program with your landing page, share page, and eCommerce platform. You won’t be able to click finish if you don’t configure this properly. What’s more, all changes are saved automatically.

Reason no. 3: personalized communication

If you are worried about your communication, you have absolutely no reason to be. EarlyParrot allows you to define all the details of your communication with customers. You can customize the invitations that your customers will share on social media, and no EarlyParrot logo is visible at any stage. 

You have many social media platforms to choose from: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber Messenger, and Telegram. As you can see, your clients have a wide range of possibilities to spread the word about you and your program. Therefore you should enter a short message that will appear in the post when your client shares the link with their friends or family.

E-mail personalization

Another aspect that can be customized is emails. EarlyParrot will send emails on your behalf, so you should write your customers the highest level messages.

If a customer feels like they have received another bulk email, it won’t do much good. Do you know that personalized emails have an average open rate of nearly 19%, compared to 13% for those that are not. You probably open emails that contain your first name more often than those which don’t. It’s a natural mechanism. Therefore, if you want a customer to feel cared about, personalization is a must. Whether it’s an invitation email, one informing about a reward, or a thank you for their first referral, you should address every user by name. Moreover, don’t forget about the content. First, it should be grammatically correct and spell checked. Typos are the worst possible mistake in the copy, so double check before saving your template. And remember about the title, which should be catchy.

What’s very cool about EarlyParrot is that you can add the kinds of emails you want to send. You can choose to send, or not, an email upon a customer reaching X numbers of referrals, a welcome to the campaign, or every time a new customer is gained from a given referrer, for example.

Don’t forget to add the ‘email from’ field, which is your signature under the message. Also, the address from which your emails are sent is an important aspect, otherwise recipients might consider them to be viruses or spam.

Share page personalization

You can edit the share widget. There are four styles to choose from: full widget, slim, one line, and referral URL. You can edit HTML code if you want to, or choose to leave it as it is.

Reason no. 4: everything at your fingertips

After logging in to your account, you will have all your campaigns in one place. You can view all parameters related to each of them on the dashboard. You can analyze the statistics of each campaign step by step, and also choose the time period you are interested in. Do you want to check how the previous week went, or review the entire last month? No problem.

It’s crucial to have such information at hand. Thanks to it, you can check what types of campaigns work best for your recipients. If a certain campaign is not effective enough, you can refine it or create a new one in its place.

Reason no. 5: support on cue

If you are going to invest in an external platform, it’s essential to be able to count on support. And with EarlyParrot, that’s certainly the case. For starters, you can download a demo version to get to know the whole system. It has limitations though, so if you need more campaigns then you’ll need to purchase paid access –  but there is a free trial available. You will always have a chat box on hand where you can ask questions, or search for answers in the knowledge base or the blog.

If you would prefer to contact us by email, you can reach us at [email protected] and you will receive a reply as soon as possible. 

As we have already mentioned, if your store uses a platform other than Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento, feel free to let us know and we will try to find a solution. When it comes to the process of creating the program, you can also count on support for that. The platform dictates the sequence of steps and shows which elements must be refined before the program goes live.

Let’s create a referral program!

Creating a referral marketing program can be a real turning point for you. Regardless of whether your eCommerce is having a hard time or customers visit you in their droves all the time, you can never have too many, right? A solution such as a referral program will build brand awareness among potential and current recipients, which translates into better sales results. 

Nevertheless, creating a program without a good tool will be practically impossible. That’s why EarlyParrot comes in handy. It’s an intuitive tool that’s effortless to use, thanks to which you can easily create a program that will bring the desired results. The reasons above are only a brief introduction to what EarlyParrot is capable of, so download the demo and check it out for yourself!

#ParrotInspires: 6 marketing strategies to increase referrals

Referral marketing can be a very effective solution. If you’re still at the beginning of your referral adventure then the results may not be hugely significant right away, but fortunately there are ways to change that. It could also be that your results are a little underwhelming after your program has been running for a while. Perhaps your customers are no longer as engaged as they once were or as interested in the incentives. So what can you do to increase their engagement?

To increase your referrals you should reorganize your strategies. Markets change and so your marketing actions should too. If you are wondering what you should do, we have gathered some strategies that may be helpful if you want to get more referrals. But let’s start from the beginning: what is a good marketing strategy?

What is a good strategy?

Your marketing strategy is the plan that should determine your actions; what, when, and to whom. A well-designed strategy will improve the performance of your marketing activities. In order to plan correctly, you should first think about your target.

Marketers often design strategies that are very good in theory, but in practice they do not bring many benefits. Why? A particular strategy might be creative and innovative, but if it is not perfectly matched to the target then it will not be effective. So if you are looking for a good strategy, you should tailor it to your customers first. You need to analyze who your customers really are, what they expect, and what their habits are. If you need to change your strategy because the current one is underperforming, analyze who your target was before and who it is now. Consumers are always changing, and maybe your offer is too. You have to align your strategy with these changes if you want to stay in the game. 

A good marketing strategy clearly communicates the company’s USP. But to express it well you need to know what it actually is first. Think about your strengths and what makes customers choose you. What unique propositions do you have to offer them? If you can identify the qualities that make you stand out from the crowd, you should emphasize them in your strategy. They will be a catch that your existing customers can throw in order to attract new referrals.

The strategies below address both of these aspects. Remember to adopt any strategy you choose to the specifics of your industry and your program.

Find the right tool

Half the battle is using a good tool, thanks to which you will be able to create a program that is well-tailored to you and your customers’ needs. Why is it so important to choose the right platform before you start building your program?

First, you’ll be able to fine-tune everything individually to your business. EarlyParrot has a very good option for novices that shows which aspects of your program still need to be improved. Thanks to such hints you can be sure that your program will be well constructed, and avoid a situation when, for example, new users are not notified about the possibility of joining your program.

What is more, it is quite important that such a tool can be easily integrated with your existing platforms. How to create a referral program if the tool is not compatible with your eCommerce platform? Simply put, It will be hard or even impossible. That is why the referral platform you choose should have plenty of available integrations, like EarlyParrot does. 

Improve the customer experience

Going the extra mile in terms of customer experience is generally always profitable. First and foremost, you can improve contact with your customers. Almost half of all companies understand that their customer experience is the basis of success, and you need to be one of them. Wondering how this will affect your referrals? Clients will not recommend to their friends a company that, for example, cannot be contacted or has poor after-sales services. So what to do?

First, answer any questions that are asked. If a customer sends a query it should be addressed. Even the simplest ones can be answered, for example, with a link to FAQs. Don’t leave any customers unanswered or you may lose existing ones and they will not be encouraged to make new referrals either..

Remember about a high level of communication. Not only should you inform clients about every level they reach towards a referral reward (here you will need a suitable tool), but also about any changes in the program, new ones, or different rewards. A good way is to remind clients about yourself – send emails to any who have not made referrals for a long time or that are close to earning a reward.

Also, be sure to be regular, diligent, and honest in your communication. If you provide your users with, e.g., weekly industry news, do it conscientiously and deliver good quality. If there are any issues, whether they are your fault or not, let your clients know. Better to apologize for the inconvenience than hide a problem.

Personalize interactions

Personalization is also an important aspect of your marketing activities. About 70% of millennials may feel a little upset when receiving bulk emails from a brand rather than a personalized message. You probably (hopefully!) refer to your customers by name in your messages already, but it’s worth going a step further. 

Ask for feedback about a reward that a client has recently won, or whether the referee was satisfied with the recommendation and your offer.

You can also link, for example, to the profiles of people who created accounts using the referral link of a particular client when you send them notifications about rewards to show some appreciation.

Remember that enough may be enough, though. If a person recommended by a client has not made a purchase for a long time, for example, do not send them a message with the title “why is your friend no longer buying from us?” This is out of place and your client may feel embarrassed. If you want to find out, write to the referee instead and encourage them to visit your web and do some shopping.

Another good solution is sending birthday wishes (of course, if the client has shared the date with you) or gifts on the anniversary of their participation in the program. Shortly before this date, you should ask the customer if they want a gift for the occasion and if they would like it to be sent to the address they provided when setting up their account. The gift could be a small item like a T-shirt, eco bag, or a mug with your logo, if not a bestseller from your offer. Also, don’t forget to include a “Thank You” card for participating in your program. Showing your gratitude for their support will surely result in an even better cooperation.

Build relationships with customers

As already stated above, customer experience is a matter of either being there or not. Building relationships is an important part of this. The closer the bond, the better the customer experience. If you know the basics of referral marketing, you probably know that relationships are its foundation. How can you take care of this aspect even more? Loyalty programs are a good option. You may ask how many programs you can provide to your customers, and the answer is as many as it takes. Referral programs, loyalty programs, or whatever your customers need. 

Why not build a relationship based on loyalty by engaging customers with a loyalty program and additionally rewarding them for spreading the word about you? It follows that the more attached clients feel, the more likely they will be to encourage others because they will want to create a community. So take care about communication and your customers’ well-being.

Share case studies 

A case study can be valuable material for your audience. First of all, depending on the topic, they can prove that what your business is a good choice. Case studies can also show that your business is popular among your customers, and that they love it. Secondly, you will build authority by sharing knowledge. Such content could be interesting facts to share with friends or family. And this is the core of referral marketing. If someone talks about you well and attracts others as a result, it is worth investing in. Even if the referral doesn’t convert right away, they may be interested in what your business does and make a purchase in the future.

It’s a good idea to publish case studies around your USP. Most likely, no one has created similar content before. As such, this will arouse interest not only in the data itself, but also in what you have to offer. Two benefits for the price of one!

Be focused

The more you specialize in a given field, the easier it will be for you to attract potential customers. Sometimes it is better to focus on a narrow range of services or products. If you perfect one aspect of your listing, the recommendations will more-or-less generate themselves. 

Do you remember about the USP? Create on this basis. Now that you know what makes you stand out from the competition, take advantage of it. Build a unique offer around this aspect only for your customers. Remember that everyone wants to feel special, so provide them with that experience. Communicate not only what makes you stand out, but also what you can offer in connection with it. The more special and unique, the better.

It is also a good solution from a practical point of view. Focusing on one aspect of your offer allows you to perfect it. It will be much easier for you to handle one referral program based on your niche and USP than a few that cover half of your offer. But don’t be mistaken – just because you should be focusing on one segment when building a referral program doesn’t mean forgetting about the rest. Inbound marketing is a good solution here

Which strategy is the best for you?

Building a referral program seems relatively simple. In practice, it is, but it takes some effort to break out or maintain a winning streak. Despite the fact that your customers are the driving force behind referral marketing, a lot depends on you. too. Yes, clients recommend your company, but you must give them a reason to share their positive perceptions about you with their friends. 

We hope that you like the above suggestions and ideas and will try at least one of them out. Every good strategy is focused on the target, and when implementing it is worth highlighting your USP. Whichever choice seems best for you, be sure to keep these two aspects of a good strategy in mind.

How to start a referral marketing program?

Referral marketing is an excellent solution for SaaS businesses, eCommerce, and even for small companies that are searching for more newsletter subscribers. Recommendations can be the most important factors behind as many as 50% of consumers’ shopping decisions. So no matter in which industry you operate, or whether you are a small business or a well-developed one, referral marketing might be for you!

When somebody is looking for an item but has no idea where to start, one of the most popular options is to ask a friend. What if someone’s friend recommends your shop and they can both benefit from this recommendation? They will put more trust in your brand and encourage others to do the same. By using an effective referral program, the machine is able to drive itself. It is definitely worth establishing a relationship with your customers this way, especially since acquiring a new client can be up to five times more expensive than retaining an existing one.

To unlock the full potential of referral marketing, you need to create a well-tailored referral program. If you are wondering how to do that, we’ve prepared some guidelines to help you manage the whole process.

But let’s start from the beginning. What is a referral program?

What is a referral program and why do you need one?

A referral program is an initiative that your clients can join, which works just like the loyalty schemes we are all familiar with. A given client shares their recommendations with friends or family and in return collects points that eventually amount to receiving rewards. The new customer who visits your website via the referral may also benefit, depending on the criteria that you set. 

Every new customer should be invited to join the program and they should also be notified about their progress in it, as well as if they win a prize. You can use all available communication channels to stay in touch with your clients. 

It is also a very trackable solution, since it will be clear as day who referred who and whether the referral was successful. You can also keep an eye on the most important KPIs.

Are you still wondering why you should invest in a referral program? First of all, it builds trust and loyalty, and as mentioned above, it is more efficient to retain existing clients than acquire new ones. Another pro of referral programs is that they are quite a low-cost solution, with the major outlay just being on rewards. Such programs don’t require big resources in terms of money nor knowledge.

What is more, it is easy to implement one and let it more-or-less manage itself. One client refers another and so on repeatedly – you just need to keep tracking the performance. of your program.

So now let’s move on to putting it into practice. How to start a referral program?

Think about your clients first

To make referral marketing effective, you need to put your clients first. They are your target audience after all. So what would they find attractive as a reward? Focus on who they are: their values, passions, and hobbies. Depending on demographic factors, the lifestyle and cultural incentives awarded should vary, especially if your product offer is quite broad. If the segments are very diverse, you’d better make your rewards diverse too. Sometimes coming up with a universal incentive may not deliver you what you expect because it won’t be sufficient for any segment. 

You can pick from one of the following incentive models:

  • One-side means that only one person is rewarded. They could be either the existing client or the new one who came thanks to the recommendation. If you decide that the former should get the reward, it will increase their motivation and possibly result in more referrals. If, on the other hand, you want to reward the new customer, the chances of them finalizing a transaction will increase. However, there is a risk that such clients will not get you as many referrals as your loyal customers.
  • Two-side. This type of incentive will definitely appeal to your audience the most, since here you reward both the referring customer and the new client. Nothing prevents both parties from receiving the same reward if that’s what you choose. This type of motivation will provide you with new recommendations, plus strengthen the bonds with and loyalty of your current clients.
  • No reward is also a solution. However, is it effective? People rarely spare their time totally unselfishly, but it cannot be assumed that it does not happen at all. As you might guess, this model will not bring you too many new customers nor build brand awareness very effectively.

It is also worth looking at the purchasing behavior of your recipients. Which products are bestsellers? Perhaps a good incentive would be a discount on them. Furthermore, you can use new releases as a limited reward in your program, if applicable. Maybe early access to these new products (for example, a brand new nail salon software) or the ability to purchase them at a reduced price would be a good solution. It is all up to you.

You can also ask your clients for feedback. Show them your suggestions, and they will help you with choosing the best one for themselves.

Do some research

What you should check at the very beginning are the prizes. Not only among customers but also among competitors. First, do those you compete with have a referral program? If they don’t, good for you – you will already be one step ahead. If, on the other hand, the situation is completely different, take into account what your competitors offer as incentives and try to beat their offers.

It’s also good to know the reward structure of your competitors. You might opt for the same structure or choose one that you think will appeal to your customers better. You have a choice of three:

  • Standard structure the simplest model. In short, you offer the same reward for successful referrals to each of your clients. It is automatically sent when the referrer completes a transaction.
  • Tiered structure this method is about differentiation. You offer various rewards and incentives for different groups of customers. You could differentiate them based on the number of referrals, e.g. a 5% discount for the first and 10% for the next. Alternatively, you could set up referral levels so that the percentage discount increases after, say, 15 successful referrals.
  • Multi-step structure – this is the most complicated model. You offer your existing customers a variety of rewards depending on how much the new client interacts with your company. For example, offer a 5% discount for a client who purchases without creating an account, 10% discount if they create an account, and 15% discount if they become a subscriber.

Once you decide which structure would be the best (and the most competitive), you can start planning the creation of your program.

Set your goals

The starting point for creating a program should be figuring out what you want to achieve with it. Do you want to increase sales or do you want to strengthen the position of the brand? A lot depends on the initial goal. You should continually track the progress and analyze if you are on the right track to achieving your goal. Remember to be specific, i.e. how much and in what time.

Companies that track their performance and objectives are two times more likely to achieve their goals within a year.

Referral marketing programs are quite easy to track, so it won’t be a problem to follow the results. If you use a reliable platform to run your referral program, all KPIs should be clear as day. 

Speaking of tools, it is high time to cover this topic.  

Choose the right tool 

Implementing your referral program should be a piece of cake, and it will be if you invest in the right tool. Thanks to using the right solution, you will be able to create a program designed for your specific needs. It can also be a great time saver. The entire process will be automated, and the only thing you need to do is track the program’s performance and make any adjustments if necessary.

One of the best options is EarlyParrot. Why? Here are some of the main reasons:

Firstly, the installation process only takes about a quarter of an hour. You don’t need to have a PhD in computing either. The tool guides you through the whole process, so it will be a piece of cake.

Another great pro about EarlyParrot is that it takes care of your clients, both existing and new ones. Once you implement this tool to your page, you can import your current clients and EarlyParrot will send them an invitation to join your program. New customers will be notified about the option to join too. Notifications will also be sent when users meet the reward requirements.

But speaking of which, before you run the program, you should set the reward criteria. You may choose a different reward for your existing clients per each referral and another one as a welcome gift. Furthermore, you can choose whether you want customers to accumulate some kind of points to unlock prizes or if you only want to award the top referrers. You can also brand the referral links, which will be a positive step towards achieving your SEO goals. 

One of the best features of this tool is its communication. First, there is no EarlyParrot logo, so you can apply your own branding to all client-facing pages. And what is more, you can send inbox messages to all participants of your program just to strengthen your brand awareness and relationships with them. 

If you are not sure if you can manage running a referral program, don’t worry because the platform shows which aspects need more improvement. If you are still not fully convinced, there is a free demo available to give it a try first.

EarlyParrot integrates with many of the most popular platforms such as Magento, Shopify, Joomla, WordPress, AWeber, MailChimp, and many more. If it happens that your favorite provider is not currently on the list, you can contact EarlyParrot representatives who will try to address this.

Start your referral program

A referral program can be an instrumental part of your marketing strategy. Regardless of whether you are just starting your business or have been on the market for some time, this type of solution can improve your brand image and strengthen your position. You will certainly become more memorable for your clients by starting a referral program, as well as gain their trust and loyalty.

If such a program is well-structured and the incentives are matched to the target audience, you can achieve not only image and marketing goals but also financial ones. The amount of sales, registered users, and newsletter subscribers can all increase thanks to a referral marketing program. Sounds worthwhile, right?

#ParrotInspires: How can referral marketing support virtual events

Virtual events are trendy right now. The year 2020 has forced us to move many aspects of life to digital. Conferences, meetings, and events are all taking place online. The number of organizations planning virtual events has doubled compared to the previous years.  

Organizing such an event differs from managing an offline version. It may seem to be simpler because you do not need to organize a location, staff, or caterings, etc. However, this is not entirely true. 

One of the main problems with organizing online events is promotion. During a time of pandemic, it is difficult to publicize anything offline as the activities of many places have been limited, and many potential participants just stay at home. Therefore, in order for an online event to be well publicised, its promotion should be based on digital activities. 

In this article, we will cover this topic and help you with managing virtual event-related issues. 

What should you do before organizing such an event?

Before we discuss some tips and tricks to support organizing online events, let’s speak about preparation. Below you will find a list of the most important aspects to consider before organizing an online event. 

  1. The first thing you should do is carry out research. You need to know whether similar topics have already been discussed, whether such events took place recently, what the ticket prices were, who was invited, and what the agenda was. You must also keep in mind the importance of the date, which can’t clash with similar industry events. It is also not worth organizing events around Christmas or other holidays, since people have other things on their minds at those times.
  1. Focus on your target audience. Consider who will attend the event. How can you encourage them, and what agenda will suit your target audience best. Moreover, you should consider the price. Your target group may not always be able to afford expensive tickets, while for some people a too low price can mean poor quality and they may also not be willing to purchase. Also remember about the method of communication and the channels intended for it. If your target group are professionals then LinkedIn will be the right place, but if you are targeting students then Facebook or Twitter are much better channels to use.
  1. Take care of the technical aspects. Consider which platform will be best for this purpose. You, as a host, should also have the right equipment -a laptop, webcam, and microphone. Moreover, you need to have a reliable internet connection. If it fails, the newest laptop on the market will be of no avail.

Once you figure these things out, you can start organizing the event. To make it run flawlessly and well publicised, you should follow the steps below. We will show you how to promote your event efficiently without a huge budget. One of the best methods to promote such events is referral marketing, so let’s begin with it. 

A referral program to gain more attendees

This is a great solution to encourage your early attendees to spread the news. Referral marketing is a low-cost solution so it won’t burn a hole in your pocket, and, what is more, tracking its performance is easy. What you need to focus on is your target audience, whose shoes you should step for a moment. This way, your referral marketing journey has the potential to be a successful one. 

This method of marketing encourages people to talk about you, and your event could go viral as a result. Word of mouth marketing, as it is also known, uses people’s interests to benefit a company. Your attendees can share their opinions about your event after it has taken place and encourage others to participate in future ones or just familiarize themselves with your brand. 

What you need to do first is think about incentives. They can help to expand your brand reach and also build trust. The incentive doesn’t have to be money, but it could be a discount coupon for a future purchase or a gift from your company. Such examples of these are T-shirts or eco-bags with your branding on them. Think about what would work best for your target audience. You can even ask them for feedback about your ideas if you have enough time to do so. 

Referral program – how to run it well?

After deciding on incentives, you should start implementing the program. The best way to do this seamlessly is to choose a platform that will handle the process and automate the whole program. We can recommend using EarlyParrot for this.

It is a referral marketing platform that will help generate a buzz around your upcoming events. How? First things first, you need to install it on your landing page. If you want to connect these actions with an email list then you need to integrate the platform with your CRM or autoresponder. Installation is a piece of cake, so you do not need any IT teams to support the process. After successful installation, you can start creating a referral program. 

Referrals may be shared in two ways. Each of your attendees could buy a ticket to your event and then receive a referral link via email, thanks to which they can invite their friends or family. These future customers can then register via this referral link and the existing customer who referred them will receive a reward. 

The second method is to use emails. Once your attendees register for the event, they could receive a referral link to start sharing with others for doing so. This could also be an option exclusively for those who sign themselves up for your newsletter when registering for the event. 

Remember to set all criteria for your rewards – will they be available for anyone who shares the link successfully, or will multiple shares be required? It’s up to you. 

EarlyParrot also allows you to communicate with your clients and build bonds with them. And no worries, you can customize all your communication channels as you wish, without EarlyParrot branding. All notifications are sent automatically, so you don’t have to worry about anything apart from organizing the event. 

What else can you do to support your events?

There are obviously more ways to support your events, and we have some ideas for you. Let’s start with a very low-cost one, which is your participation at another conference or event.

Share your knowledge

If you perform at another event sharing your thoughts or knowledge, you can become an ambassador of your own brand. If you are introduced as the owner or representative of your business, the conference participants will find out who you are, what your company does, and maybe follow social media to learn more.

If listeners are interested in your speech, it’s very likely that they’ll want to attend your events in search of more knowledge. It’s entirely up to you whether to offer discounts for your event to attendees of the current one. Of course, you should discuss with the event’s organizers before offering such deals. It’s like taking part in your own referral program, except that new attendees are the reward.

Make your speakers ambassadors

Who said that your event’s guests can’t spread the word. Of course they can, and even should. The guests or speakers you invite are authority figures among your audience, which is a crucial aspect that you should take advantage of. Let your guests invite their followers to your event. Apart from hearing the expert, a very good incentive would be discount codes for tickets that your speaker can share using referral links. It’s the perfect way to see how many new visitors a given client attracts, so you would know who people most want to hear and watch.

Thanks to the involvement of your guests in promoting your event, invitees will also start to associate them with your brand. Establishing permanent cooperation when organizing an annual event is a good idea. Invite the same speakers once every so often, but of course with a different speech and presentation. 

Do some previews

In this case, the best solution is a video recording. After all, this is how your event will be watched. Record the highlights of speeches and opinions about the outline or the idea itself. You could ask speakers or even participants of previous events for them and promote this material on social media and on your website. You may think that creating such material is tedious and time-consuming and It is, but not as much as the event itself. And believe us, it will definitely pay off in the long run. Did you know that that video is the number one form of media used in content strategies? So grab a camera and make a film!

Remember that content is king

It’s not without reason that this saying is so well known. What you publish and how you publish are very important. The form, language, and design of your communication is crucial. Moreover, this does not only apply to posts promoting your event but to any communication channel. 

If the description on your event page is not clear, no one will want to buy a ticket. It’s not a great situation when the buying process is not transparent, as people want to know what happens when they click a given button. The same goes for the details of your referral program too, so its conditions and prizes must be clearly defined. If not, no one will use the program and you won’t the recommendations that you’re after.

Virtual events – are you ready to master them?

So you have read about different ways to support online events. The biggest support for such a venture is decent promotion. As you can see, referral marketing is a big dose of help and it comes in many forms. The power of referrals could be significant and it won’t blow your budget. It is definitely worth trying the above tips, especially now that almost all events are virtual. If you combine the power of referral marketing with other types of promotion (especially the ones we mentioned), the effect of synergy may be breathtaking.

We have shown you some tips, tricks, and the aspects of preparation for such an event that are crucial in order to run it well. Now it’s your turn to enter the virtual events market.

Parrot Insider #1: How EarlyParrot can improve your referral program

Let’s imagine that a potential customer is in need of a certain type of product, but they have no idea where to look for such an item or which brand would be best to buy from. What’s the solution? Ask a friend. That’s how referral marketing begins.

Referral marketing is gaining popularity, but it is still not a go-to solution for many businesses. This is a pity, because 92% of consumers believe in referrals from people they know well. As it is also known by some, word-of-mouth marketing is very easy to implement and it won’t cost you a lot of money either. 

To make the most of this type of marketing, though, you will need a well-tailored referral program. And we will tell you how to run one with EarlyParrot!

But let’s start from the very beginning, which is why you even need referrals.

Why should you start a referral program?

Creating a referral program can help you acquire new customers relatively quickly and cheaply. Information spreads very quickly between customers, and if you promise rewards in return then it will happen even more so. Research shows that customers who visit your website thanks to recommendations will spend 25% more money there, and the probability of them recommending you to someone else is three times higher than in the case of other customers. As you can see, referral marketing not only produces results but also builds trust.

Such solutions are also relatively easy to monitor. Thanks to using an appropriate tool, such as EarlyParrot, you can track all referrals and see how they affect sales. You can have all of the most important KPIs at hand, and you can analyze the performance of your program whenever you want.

What exactly is a referral program?

In short, it is a system of rewarding customers for recommending your store. Your existing and future clients will gain rewards for making an appropriate number of referrals according to your set criteria. Your clients can share referral links or codes with their friends or family, who then visit and use your site. That’s basically it: rewards are distributed afterwards, and you gain another client.

One of the most popular programs of this type that you may have heard about is Uber: you share a code with your friends and both of you can save some money on your next rides.

In order for the program to fulfill its task, you need to choose the right incentives. It is crucial to the success of such a program. In the case of Uber saving money is the reward, but it is not always the best solution. Sometimes it’s better to offer a product or service as a reward. The situation depends on the type of business and, of course, your target audience.

How can EarlyParrot help with your referral program?

EarlyParrot is a referral marketing platform that will improve the implementation of your program. Its installation is simple and only takes a moment, only requiring a computer and 15 minutes. You can easily implement a program into current purchasing processes. You don’t have to change anything, so customers can shop and log in as before. One difference will be an opportunity to participate in the referral program. Both new and existing customers will be informed about the possibility to join the program, receiving a notification with this information. 

After successful implementation, you can set up a reward system of when, to whom, and what will be delivered. It is up to you what and how referrers and referrals will be rewarded for their cooperation. 

Another important feature of this platform is the ability to brand communication with your clients, without an EarlyParrot logo. Feel free to customize emails and pages as you wish. You can also take care of your relationships with customers thanks to broadcasted messages, so you can be sure that everything is running smoothly and your subscribers are taken care of.  

This tool can be easily integrated with the most popular platforms like WordPress, Shopify, Magento, Typeform, MailChimp, and many more. Why not give it a try?

Referral program for SaaS

If you are planning on taking a SaaS solution live, it could be very beneficial to start a referral program too. How to make this happen with EarlyParrot?

If you are about to implement a referral solution just before launching your SaaS, then great. You can increase engagement among your early adopters, and they will be able to share their referrals via social media, messengers, or emails from day one. Why is it a good idea to start a referral program together with your SaaS?

First of all, you can improve the engagement rate from the very beginning and build bonds with your users. The stronger the relationship and the trust is, the longer they will be with you. On top of this, more referral leads means lower CTAs. Everybody wants lower CTAs, especially at the beginning of their journey. 

Thanks to the recommendations of your referrers, your reach can extend immediately. If you encourage people enough, they will talk about you. Nothing gains attention like the buzz made by users and being a newbie on the market. People are curious about such solutions and want to see what the hype is about.

Thanks to a referral program, you can also find out if your SaaS is liked by users (they will not recommend something that they don’t) and which of your brand ambassadors have the greatest clout. It is worth rewarding them accordingly.

In the case of implementing a referral program with EarlyParrot to an existing SaaS solution, there are yet more advantages

You can set premium features or discounts for your biggest fans and most active referrers. You can also adapt the program to existing strategies to drive the best results, and even set the time at which program invitations will be sent. 

Referral marketing in eCommerce

If you are an eCommerce provider, referral marketing may be beneficial for you too. How to surprise your customers with a referral program? We’ll tell you what EarlyParrot can offer your eCommerce to boost sales and gain more loyal clients.

As you have already read, EarlyParrot can be implemented with most eCommerce providers like Shopify, Magneto, or PrestaShop. So if you have 15 minutes spare then you can install this solution to your website right now, and thanks to referral marketing you can drive more conversions. Did you know that referral leads have a 30% higher conversion rate than conversions from other channels? That is a great score. Thanks to implementing a referral program you can gain more trust and improve your brand image. Thanks to broadcasting messages you can also build relationships with customers, making your website a go-to place for buying products in the categories that you offer. 

As with SaaS solutions, EarlyParrot supports your business with expanding its reach. The more people who share their opinions about you on social media or via email the better. Reducing CTAs in eCommerce is also a very important aspect. 

The timing of encouraging your customers to take part in the program is crucial, and it is best to do so as soon as they finish shopping and are satisfied with their purchases. Thanks to EarlyParrot, invitations are sent automatically, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to do so. This is similar with rewards, in that as soon as a given client meets the criteria you have set, notifications will be sent.

Building your links with a referral program

It might be surprising that referral marketing is a great way to build your email lists. Thanks to such a solution you can check whether new subscribers joined via referrals or not, and reward them accordingly. Not only can you ask them to share referrals, but also remind and motivate them to be more active. 

You can integrate EarlyParrot with your CRM or autoresponder and let the magic begin. The platform will determine whether a new subscriber was referred or not, and only send a reward if they were. It works with all the most popular autoresponders and CRM like MailChimp, AWeber, Infusionsoft, or ConvertKit. If you use software that is not on our list then reach out to us and we’ll figure it out.

Why is it a good solution to let EarlyParrot help with your subscribers? You will get to know them better, and find out who has the power to improve communication. Thanks to rewarding your subscribers you can build a loyal community, which is essential for your brand image. 

Why should you choose EarlyParrot?

First of all, it is very easy to implement and even easier to use. There is also a free demo that you can use to see if it’s your cup of tea. We are almost 100% sure that the answer here will be yes. Moreover, this platform has got your back. It helps to show you which parts of the program need improvement before it goes live. You can also choose the best rewards: coupon codes, secret links, downloadables, or account upgrades. No matter which you choose, the platform will automatically send it to everyone who meets the criteria set by you.

No worries if your website is not in English, this platform provides campaigns in Spanish,  French, German, Greek, and Italian too. 

Data security is the priority here. EarlyParrot is GDPR-compliant, and also has fraud protection. No suspicious emails or web traffic, and all social media shares are confirmed via IP tracking.

Are you ready to start a referral marketing journey?

As you should now know, referral marketing is a low-cost, easy-to-implement solution that is also quite simple to monitor. Thanks to EarlyParrot, referral magic can basically happen by itself. Once you integrate this platform with your eCommerce store or SaaS solution, you will never look back. Referrals will soon come, and you will start to benefit from them as a result.

However, remember to keep your finger on the pulse. In time tastes change and so your rewards may need to as well, or customers might not recommend you so willingly. You must be proactive and track the program’s performance continually.
So, do you want to try a free demo first?

8 good practices to power up your sales

The eCommerce market is becoming increasingly crowded. Many new stores appear from year to year and even month to month, continually increasing the competition. Building a business today is easier than ever before thanks to the Internet, but it is more challenging to maintain or grow sales than it was several years ago. 

It is estimated that, by 2040, about 95% of all purchases will be made online. This means that interest in eCommerce is growing very quickly. The main rule of business is: where there is a demand, there must also be supply. So you should provide it. But what to do to make consumers choose your offer?

In this article, you will find some tips to implement in your sales or marketing strategy in order to boost your sales. Grab a pen and take some notes, let’s begin!

#1 Think about your target

Targeting sounds pretty obvious. After all, before starting your business, this is probably one of the first aspects that you took care of. However, your offer and/or the preferences of your customers may have changed over time. Analyze website traffic, bestsellers, and who your regular clients are. It may turn out that the most active customers are not those who had been targeted at the beginning of your journey. Knowing your target well helps with choosing the best communication channels, which is extremely important for eCommerce success.

Your marketing strategy depends on targeting too. If your target market has changed, your marketing channels should also be adjusted. Keep in mind to continuously monitor which groups have the most interest in your products. This way, you can use their interests to reach even more recipients and thus increase sales. 

#2 Use the power of referrals 

Referral marketing is one of the best low-cost solutions, but it could bring you many benefits. More than 80% of consumers trust the recommendations of others over other marketing efforts. It sounds like the perfect combination; low costs and possibly big profits. So what’s the drill? Referral marketing uses the power of your clients’ recommendations. In practice, a referral program works according to very simple principles. A current client recommends your brand to a friend by sharing a referral link, their friend joins your website, and you can reward one or both of them. You decide the rules for granting the rewards.

Referral marketing does not require a lot of resources or professional knowledge. Start by coming up with incentives. Accurate targeting will again come in handy here, as you need to know what will encourage your buyers to share their opinions. 

When the rewards are ready, it’s time to implement the referral program. To make this easier, use EarlyParrot. It will take you less than 15 minutes to install, and you will be guided step by step through the process. This tool allows you to design the program as you want, by setting the criteria and brand communication with the client. EarlyParrot automatically adds new customers and sends them invitations to participate in the program. Don’t worry about your existing clients –  you can import them to the system and send invitations too.

Now you just have to wait for the referrals to begin working and for new customers to start buying your products. 

#3 Implement a CRM

A CRM system makes it easier to communicate with customers efficiently and provide better service. It supports the management of marketing, sales, and customer service. Better management of these sectors will increase customer’s confidence and make you a go-to store when they need products from your industry. Did you know CRMs can boost lead conversions by as much as 300% and enhance purchase values by 40% at the same time? It sounds very promising. 

As a result of CRM implementation, your sales reps will have in-depth insights into every customer’s profile, resulting in more efficient services. Additionally, thanks to this solution, interactions between departments will be automated, which can only improve the speed and quality of work. About 33% of American consumers admit that it is highly likely they would switch companies after one poorly handled customer support situation. This proves that boosting sales and providing quality customer service are inseparable.

#4 Take care of customer’s loyalty

Building loyalty among your customers is the basis of good sales performance. It makes them return to your business and also share opinions about you with others, which is a great foundation for referral marketing. If you would like to build increased levels of trust then you could start a loyalty program.

As with a referral program, start creating a loyalty program by determining the rewards. The criteria for obtaining them are also important. Should you reward the tenth purchase or give a discount on the fifth? Or maybe the customer will earn points that can then be exchanged for prizes? It all depends on your choice. 

You also have to decide on the method of collecting points. After logging into the account, would each customer have an insight into the number of points or do you prefer a virtual card with stamps? As many as 68% of Millennials say they won’t stick with a brand without a loyalty program, so you know what to do.

#5 Improve your sales pitch

This is a solution for businesses that use sales calls. If your sales team calls customers with offers, strengthening your sales pitch is the key to success. 

First, agents should be able to show clients if they have a problem that could very badly affect their business. Research should be conducted to prove that a particular agent knows, for example, if a client has had similar issues in the past. Sales representatives should then provide products/services (yours, of course) that address these situations. It is worthwhile to engage in discussion with the client and demonstrate knowledge of the topic. This way your company can prove its competence and professionalism, and be one step closer to a successful sale. You may also think about using an email warm up tool to increase your chances of success in sales.

If you improve your sales pitch, your company can benefit more from sales calls, and customers that had not even considered buying from you may do so anyway.

#6 Tell a story

We are all surrounded by stories from an early age, and they have been the basis of communication since ancient times. Human brains are better able to replicate information that has been passed down through history. Why not use this method as a sales strategy? 

Thanks to following a narrative you can take listeners on a journey that relaxes them and arouses positive feelings, allowing them to quickly absorb information contained within. Note that giants such as Ikea have repeatedly used storytelling in their ads, especially those for Christmas. It has to mean something, and it does. 

Storytelling drives ROI and conversions. More than half of all customers admit that they are more likely to buy a product after hearing a brand story. What is more, 15% of them will do so straight away. Making history not only stimulates conversions, but also makes positive brand associations with consumers and remains in their minds longer. And this allows you to achieve better results in the long term.

#7 Switch to mobile

More than 80% of US consumers do shopping online via mobile devices. What does it mean to you? That you should invest in an app. A mobile-friendly site is also cool, but you must admit that it is more convenient to do shopping via an app. About 50% of smartphone and tablet owners want to shop this way, so you need to provide this solution. 

Leave the application’s technical design to experts. You own the visuals. Choose a simple design with appropriate CTAs and traditional solutions that people are accustomed to, e.g. menu in the upper left corner. It would be good if you offered some sort of reward for downloading your app. Importantly, in order for it to fulfill its tasks, the app must be available both on Android and iOS devices. 

What’s more important, before launching your app on the market, make sure that all processes are working properly. You need to check that the app is connected with your referral and loyalty programs, that all available payment methods work flawlessly, and that it is able to handle more traffic. You need to be 100% sure that everything works correctly, otherwise you can alienate customers with an unfunctional app and the problems that arise from it.

#8 Offer a demo 

Offering your customers a free demo is one of the best incentives you can provide them, especially if you are selling digital products. People like getting things for free, and if it gives them the opportunity to test a service or product before spending money on it then even better. 

If you are selling non-digital products online, the equivalent of demos are free samples. You have to choose them wisely. Ideally, the client should be able to choose what to try. Then you will be sure that these samples will be used and that the client may come back to your store for full-si\e products later.

Another similar solution is offering free trials, which work in a similar way to demos. People want to test a given product or service before spending more money on them, and this becomes even more important with increasing price. A study from 2017 reported that companies which provided free trials to their users had more than 60% higher conversions, so it is definitely worth considering implementing such solutions in your offer. 

Let’s power up your sales

The above list is just the beginning of what you can do to boost your sales. Remember that it is best to step into the client’s shoes and think about what would encourage them to buy. 
Try at least one of the above methods and you will surely notice the difference. They may vary in their levels of effectiveness depending on the industry, but you will surely see the results. Check what works best for your clients, and don’t be afraid to try implementing new solutions. In the long run, they will surely bear fruit. One of the primary lessons that you ought to take away from this article is that building good and lasting relationships with your customers is the basis for successful sales, so take care of it.

Referral marketing vs affiliate marketing

Digital marketing comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with new trends, let alone apply them to your marketing strategy. However, before you throw yourself into a whirlwind of the latest virals and trends on social media, it’s worth going back to basics. 

Referral marketing and affiliate marketing. These two types are often confused and their names are often used interchangeably. Big mistake! There are some similarities, but also quite a few differences. Once you understand them, you will be able to implement either type into your strategy more effectively. Does that sound interesting to you?

In this article, you will find out the characteristics of both these types of marketing and the significant differences between them. We will also suggest what to do in order to make both referral marketing and affiliate marketing as effective as possible. So without any further ado, let’s dive in!

What is referral marketing? 

Relationships are the foundation of referral marketing. Starting from those between your brand and its current customers, to those between them and their friends or family, i.e., your potential customers. After all, referral marketing is often known as word of mouth marketing. In this case, much depends on the buyers of your products, because they are the ones promoting your brand. Did you know that the average U.S. citizen names different brands about 60 times per week? Let them speak about you and benefit from this type of marketing.

But how to encourage customers and keep them motivated to recommend your brand? It is for this purpose that referral programs were created. They work a bit like loyalty programs, but customers get rewards for recommendations rather than purchases. When creating such a program, you must consider what rewards will most motivate your clients to share positive opinions about you with others.

Referral marketing with EarlyParrot

To make it work, you need to offer a referral marketing program. If you are wondering how to manage such a program, there are tools to help you with doing so. One of the best available on the market is EarlyParrot. Don’t worry, you don’t need an IT specialist to implement this tool on your website. The installation process is a quick and straightforward, step by step self-guide. You can customize the program and choose all criteria according to your own preferences. How does EarlyParrot work in practice? Your customers share their recommendations about your brand using referral links and receive rewards when they meet the criteria set by you. Moreover, this service also works for those clients who are already in your database. You can simply import these clients and invite them to join your program. No worries if you operate globally – EarlyParrot can provide campaigns in English, French, German, Spanish, Greek, and Italian.

How does referral marketing work?

In general, this type of marketing works as follows. Each member of the referral program will receive, for example, a referral link or code that they can share with others. Each new member who uses this link/code when creating an account will get, e.g., a 5% discount on their first order. Meanwhile the referral provider moves one step closer to or achieves earning their reward. By sharing such a code or link, your current clients might feel like famous influencers for a moment! This can be a significant added value for some people.

Enabling clients to act as ambassadors of your brand is really not so difficult and can be very profitable. After all, their good opinions are social proof. Consumers need to hear about a brand up to five times before they become convinced. So the more social proof, the better. And it is definitely worth the effort – referral marketing can generate as much as five times more conversion than other marketing channels.

How to make the most of it?

When implementing a referral program, remember about targeting. You should provide various types of reward for each segment. After all, teens generally enjoy different things to young women, for instance. Content is also essential. Take care over the style of your communication with the participants of your program. Everything needs to be understandable and presented in a nice, aesthetic form. After a while, you can perform A/B tests to see which types of reward work best.

Now let’s take a closer look at affiliate marketing.  

What is affiliate marketing?

Long story short, it’s all about collaborating with your affiliates. These are people who promote your brand on their marketing channels; bloggers, vloggers, or YouTubers, etc. You can choose whoever you want, but there should be a relation to your industry in order to reach your target audience. You could hire multiple affiliates and run various campaigns for specific product categories, or rather focus on one affiliate program. 

According to Business Insider, about 15% of revenue in the digital media sector comes from affiliate marketing. So as you can see, it is quite a popular solution. But enough of the theory, how does it work in practice?

How does affiliate marketing work?

We have decided to identify the three pillars of affiliate marketing. Let’s start from the very beginning – who will be promoting what. 

First, you have to decide which products will be promoted by your partners. The next step is to find the right affiliates. As we have already mentioned, it’s best to look for those who have a relationship with your industry. If your business operates locally, there’s no point in spending money on national or even global celebrities. Local ones have power too, and it’s worth using in that case.

The next aspect of establishing an affiliate program is setting its terms. That is, how affiliates will promote your products – whether it will be a blog entry or a series of posts on Instagram, etc. Another issue is payment, as there are many models to choose from. For example, you could choose to pay affiliates either after gaining some leads or after each successful sale. Choose the method that suits you best and suggest it to your affiliates.

Now the final issue, which is choosing the best affiliates. There are dozens of such programs, so affiliates can participate in many in a short time and you need to remember to choose wisely. Suppose a given affiliate promoted a competitor’s products a few months ago, and now they’re about to publish your new blog post. In that case, it wouldn’t be trustworthy content and consumers wouldn’t believe such a person. As a result of this, you probably wouldn’t meet the expected goals. 

How to make the most of affiliate marketing?

Think about your target first, then start looking for partners. You can ask people in the industry about recommendable affiliates. Then analyze their audience and see if it matches yours. If it does, then now you know what to do. Also, find out what rates are offered by other companies of a similar size in your field. You must have a starting point when negotiating affiliate payments. 

Efficient communication is also crucial when working with affiliates, so choose the best channel to facilitate this aspect. Also, remember to inform partners about any upcoming news with sufficient advance notice. They need sufficient warning for promotional content to be of high quality and prepared on time.

Referral marketing vs affiliate marketing – what’s the difference?

So now you know what the drill is about referral marketing and affiliate marketing, let’s cover a few important points for the success of marketing strategies in both dimensions.

Both types work in a similar fashion. They rely on people to promote your brand and offer a reward for their work. Also, for both types, trust is an important factor of success. What else?

Reward type

Referral marketing is all about incentives. The reward could be discounts, free products, or even cashback if both you and your customer prefer. It’s up to you to choose how to encourage clients to participate in a referral marketing program. 

Affiliate marketing has a few payment methods to choose from. You need to make an agreement with affiliates, but the reward here is primarily money. Sometimes it could also be bartered, i.e. they get to own products they promote.

Relationship with the target audience

In referral marketing relationships are significant. Your customers know the people they recommend your products to. Trust levels are therefore high, and word-of-mouth marketing is quite effective. In this case, it’s more likely that new customers will stay with you longer.

Affiliate marketing relies on relationships with the audience. Affiliates do not know their followers personally. Nevertheless, since people are following them, they had to build some kind of bond and inspire confidence. But without a doubt, the level of trust is lower here compared to  referral marketing.

Costs 

Referral marketing is a low-cost solution. You don’t need to invest much money into creating programs or rewards. Looking at other types of digital marketing, this one costs pennies in relative terms.

Affiliate marketing is called a low-cost and low-risk type of marketing, and it’s true. Compared to other popular solutions, providing affiliate programs won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Medium

In the case of referral marketing, one person shares a referral link via (mostly) social media platforms and others can use it to, e.g., register on your site and shop with a discount.

An affiliate shares their opinion about your products via a dedicated platform. It could be a blog, YouTube channel, or a social media platform. 

Which one to choose?

It all depends on your goals, product offer, company size, and the market it operates in. Sometimes it might be hard to find a reliable affiliate partner with many followers in each industry. Moreover, you need to provide in-depth research about your future partners; their trustworthiness, if cooperation and communication with them will be seamless, their quality and speed of their work, etc. Plus, in order to get things done nice and quick, you should also provide some promotional materials for your affiliates to use.

When it comes to referral marketing, all you need to do is to encourage your customers to participate in your referral program. So the main effort is to create good incentives and rewards. Once that’s been taken care of, you can start the program and automate the process with EarlyParrot. Easy-peasy!

A waiting list landing page is not enough!

Experienced marketers will advise you to start building a list prior to launching. Why? Because they know that an email list is a gold and that building an audience will take time, so might as well you start doing as from day one.

EarlyParrot managed to collect 600 emails prior to having an MVP to show off and over a 1,000 emails by the time we launched our BETA program. So, if are thinking about whether it is worth it to start asking for emails think again!

Hotjar managed to build a 60,000 email list prior to launching is yet another example of why you should focus on building an email list.

Creating a waiting list landing page is a good start but it is not enough!

Most stop there. They build an awesome page, maybe throw in an explainer video and capture emails. Once someone inputs their email, they will find a dead end and will have to wait indefinitely until the time is ripe for the founders to launch.

But it should not be the case. Those who took the step and gave you consent to notify them about your launch are truly interested in what you are baking. They want to be involved, want to know more about how they can help out. Building a wall and hold these raving fans on the other side, with no visibility on what is being created is foolish, to say the least.

Turn their energy in your favour…

How likely is it that these early adopters are:

  • well connected?
  • willing to share on social media?
  • in contact with someone who will be interested in what you are doing?
  • future business partners who already see the potential in your company?
  • willing to write about what you are doing as part of their job?

The opportunities are endless and by just letting them wait endlessly, you are simply fighting off the momentum you are working very hard to build. Offering an easy way for your early adopters to share the news about your business within their network is the add-on that each and every waiting list launch page should have.

This is referral marketing and you can achieve that by integrating a referral marketing platform

I can already hear your questions why this cannot be done. I keep answering these questions during our free referral marketing consultation calls

Why would anyone refer my business which is yet to launch?

Reasons can vary. People feel smart when they are among the first to know about something new. Early adopters also feel great if they can recommend a solution to someone’s problem. On top of that, people love to try out new things and share new ideas, let alone if you are giving that extra incentive (a reward) for sharing your business.

I haven’t launched yet, what can I give out as a reward?

Very easy! You will be amazed by how your early adopters will appreciate minute rewards such as early access/priority access, VIP status when you launch or simply go on a call and ask them for their feedback. You can lock a lifetime discount too if you already have a plan on how much you will charge for your new product or service.

I don’t have time to handle a referral program

You shouldn’t. Your time is best spent getting feedback and building an MVP. We will help you handle referrals.

How many will share my business? Is it worth it?

Like everything else, there is a conversion rate. Not everyone will be interested in sharing on social media and not everyone will send email invites to their friends. You experience 10%-12% of your early adopters to recommend at least 3-4 new subscribers. These are averages – some do better some do worst!