How To Get Started With eCommerce Referral Marketing (For Free)

There’s really no better marketing strategy than referral marketing. 

It’s a win-win-win. Your customers get social validation, their friends get a recommendation they can trust, and (best of all) you get free marketing. 

What’s not to love?

So how does referral marketing work?

Essentially referral marketing is the process of encouraging your best customers to refer like-minded people to your brand. When executed well it can quickly become a powerful method for growing your business. 

A recent report from Annex Cloud collected some of the latest statistics on referral marketing for online brands. The findings are pretty remarkable and highlight why every eCommerce brand should have a referral marketing program in place. 

Did you know?

  • People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.
  • Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% – 50% of all purchasing decisions.
  • More than 50% of people are likely to give a referral if offered a direct incentive, special recognition, or access to an exclusive loyalty program.

If you aren’t currently using referral marketing in your business, you’re likely missing out on a massive opportunity for growth. 

And if you are using it, there’s likely some simple tweaks you can make to massively improve your results. 

Here at Andzen, we’ve helped many of our clients implement highly profitable referral and rewards programs in their business. 

The tool we generally recommend is Smile.io and you can get started with their free plan in a matter of minutes.

We love Smile.io because it seamlessly integrates with many other platforms (including Shopify).

Getting started for free

We recently set up one of our clients, Infectious Clothing Co. with a “refer a friend” incentive program and they’ve seen some seriously impressive results from it.

Infectious Clothing Co. sell (among other things) medical scrubs. So we decided to give all their new customers the option to refer-a-colleague (or friend) and get rewarded. The friend they refer also gets an exclusive discount on their first purchase. Here’s how we did it…

The best time to ask a customer for a referral is always in the period not long after purchase. With Smile.io’s free plan you’re able to set a simple “refer a friend” program to display on your checkout completion page. See below:

Smile.io Example

So whenever someone places an order on your site they’ll see the above message, prompting them to share their unique code with a friend. 

To set this up, simply:

  1. Set up a free account at Smile.io. 
  2. Integrate Smile.io with Shopify (through a one-click installation).
  3. Decide how much of a reward you’re willing to give customers and their friends.
  4. Set it live.

Using this simple strategy Infectious clothing Co. immediately saw an influx of customers sharing their unique code. 

And more importantly they saw an influx of new referrals using their code and placing their first order.

Taking it to the next level

Once you’ve started seeing some great results from this free strategy, you’re ready to start exploring everything else Smile.io can do.

By setting up a rewards program inside Smile.io you can incentivise people for taking a wide array of desirable actions. These could include:

  • Following you on social media
  • Spending more money with your brand
  • Or referring a friend

By setting up a points system you can simultaneously gamify the process and incentivise customers to refer more of their friends to your brand. 

One company that does this really well is Ript Apparel. As you can see below they call their rewards points “Bones” as that fits in with their brand:

Ript Rewards Program Example

The next step is integrating Smile.io with your email service provider. A post purchase email sequence is generally the best place for implementing your referral marketing program. 

Immediately after receiving your product, customers are hopefully feeling the giddy flood of emotions that will make them far more likely to refer a friend. Contrast that with asking someone to refer a friend 6 months after purchase (you don’t need a degree in consumer behaviour to predict the difference in results). 

Hopefully, you’ll agree; referral marketing should be part of every business’s marketing plan.

And with the right strategy in place and the right tools in hand (like Smile.io) – your brand could have a highly effective referral system up and running, in no time. 

We’ve helped clients all over the world implement their own insanely effective referral marketing plan and we’ve become exceedingly good at it. If this is something you’d like our help with, get in touch today to have a chat with our team.

Author:
Hi, I'm Luke; Copywriter at Andzen. Some people appreciate vintage cars; others appreciate American West Coast IPAs. I appreciate words, sentences, songs, books, and creative use of the English language. After growing and selling my own eCommerce brand I now use everything I learnt to help other eCommerce brands grow their reach and revenue. I enjoy working with inspired entrepreneurs who are looking to launch a product that truly 'shakes things up' and changes people's lives.

Enquire now

Give us a call or fill in the form below and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Need help

  • Drop your details in below and one of our strategists will get in touch.