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Since the many changes to Facebook since the Timeline update to Pages, we’ve found great successes in utilizing Facebook Advertising.

A recent campaign we ran for specialty-retail client Swoozie’s produced a .35 cost-per-acquisition (CPA) of new Fans to their Facebook Page, helping us to reach the 15,000 Fan level in a very cost-effective way.

A few best practices we’ve found to be helpful in driving success for your campaigns.

Be Goal-Oriented

Set a single, very specific goal for each Ad you run. The more focused you are on your goal,the easier it is to accomplish. Facebook Ads are shown to produce better results if what you’re trying to accomplish lives on the same platform, for example, driving Facebook Event RSVPs or new Likes to your Fan Page, as opposed to driving a contest on your brand website.

Dive Into Your Target

Go deeper than the standard demographic targeting you’d normally use. One of the best things about Facebook Advertising is the specificity in which you can target by lifestyle, behavior, interest and so much more. And, remember you can use the visual component of the ad to mimic the segment you’re targeting.

Be Organic

If you’re campaign goal is to add new Fans, always run a “Sponsored Stories” ad type as part of your campaign to help drive Likes. To the average consumer, this Ad type feels less like an ad and more like a functional feature of Facebook so they’re more likely to take action. And, remember to target only those people who are not already connected to your Fan Page.

Tap into the Power of Referral

Add a deeper level of referral to the “Sponsored Stories” Ad type by also targeting “friends of Fans” of your Fan Page. The old saying is true – birds of a feather flock together. Friends are more likely to trust and join in the fun because they see others in their peer group are taking action. I bet you’ll find this to be one of your top producers campaign after campaign.

There is lots of marketing talk related to loyalty, customer retention and how to leverage new media for fantastic results.  But, in reality, most loyalty and traditional frequency programs have dubious payouts for companies. They may trigger initial response and traffic, but most fall woefully short when analyzed against the overall return against costs.

Instead, the same things that have driven people for hundreds of years still hold true today for great brands. That is “word of mouth” or referral.

The best brands have the most effective marketing vehicle ever invented or discovered – their own Zealots! Zealots, as defined in marketing terms, are passionate followers or customers.

In a compilation of research, Harvard Busness Review determined the number one indicator of long-term brand profitabilty is the likelihood of a company’s customers to recommend their product or service to others. Referral. The higher the percentage of “Zealotry” customers, the higher the company was in the black. More referral = more profits.

So, that is the aegis of why Guest Relations is about building more Zealots for our clients. It’s about creating more profits.

Frequent buyer programs are frequently misdefined as loyalty programs.   Zealotry is not about “frequency of purchase”.  Your best Zealots may not be heavy spenders or most frequent customers.  But, they remain extremely valuable in terms of referral.   True loyalty is earned by the brand, not bought by frequency of purchase.  Read on …


Let’s just get this straight once and for all: There is no such thing as brand loyalty. Each of us likes certain brands and may even love them. We may buy them most of the time, or perhaps even every time. But the idea that we have a true bond with any brand, like the kind of commitment we have in real life with our friends and family, is a farce. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to create that kind of loyalty; most of us tell ourselves that’s the end game and it’s always important to aim high.

What it does mean is that we should take a harder look at how we go about creating what we call loyalty. We need to admit that coupons, discounts, points and prizes are just beanbags. We ought to spend more time thinking about the stuff that really matters to people, and serve that up each and every day.

That means products and services that really and truly solve problems and help people live happier lives. Providing a helping hand when someone really needs it, and smiling because we truly mean it. It’s not because the customer is always right (nobody’s perfect). It’s because it’s up to us to make it right. We may not get the same kind of loyalty we enjoy with our family and friends, but we’ll have more fun, and so will everyone else. Loyalty is what we make it. Your thoughts? ~ Tim Manners, editor.

From Media Post:

To help marketers boost their reach on Facebook, the company has added an option that lets companies advertise to friends of their brand fans on the social network.

The new “Friends of Connections” targeting feature allows you to “expand your audience reach by delivering your ads to the friends of people already connected with your Page, Application, Group or Event,” according to a a post on the Facebook Ads Page. So when someone sees the ad, they will see which of their friends is a fan.

Previously, advertisers could only target people who “fanned” their pages, used their applications, or signed up to any company groups or events via the site.

The new targeting capability “should lead to increased conversion on Facebook Ads (Facebook’s performance advertising system), because users will find the social context and implied endorsement more interesting,” according to the Inside Facebook blog. That’s the idea, anyway.

While the company has allowed marketers to include social actions in ads before, this is the first time they can specifically target just friends of connections. If users don’t want their Facebook actions in the ads that friends see, they can use the site’s ad privacy setting to turn off that feature.

Marketing’s job is to get ‘em in the door, right? It’s operations job to service them and hope they will return. Which is why most companies spend the overwhelming majority of their marketing budgets on getting prospects to the door. And, that might not be the most efficient spending – especially if you are desiring repeat customers.

There are six stages of customer relationships and half occur once the guest walks in your door. Many marketing programs and agencies focus on one area, failing to account that all touchpoints are collective and ultimately impact results. But, what about potential touchpoints after the business is concluded and your customer or guest has departed. This generally gets short shrift. Yet, savvy marketers know this is where you often develop a true loyalty and basis of referral.

Some quick facts to consider in future budgeting debates:

  • It is 5 to 10x more costly to win new customers than to keep existing customers coming back
  • Cost of new customer acquisition can be several hundred to several thousand dollars
  • Estimates are anywhere from 75 – 90% of marketing is spent against initial trial programs
  • Referral and retention programs generate the highest ROI, but are typically far less than 10% of a company’s marketing budget

The sales process: you’ve wooed the prospect, warmly greeted them, solved their need, provided them with product or service to their expectation. Now, what? Back to mining for more prospects. Instead, consider continuing the dialog with this guest.

Hollrr is a relatively new site devoted to referral.  Unlike other organic referrals or recommendations found on the web, Hollrr brashly solicits endorsements through reviews, referrals and other tactics and will pay cash for the efforts.

From Hollrr: “Social Media totally changes what effective advertising should be. Why should you believe a company that tells you their brand is good… when you can listen to the Twittersphere and find out exactly what users think of that brand?”

Social media does not change what effective advertising should be.   Effective advertising has always been about being authentic, credible, distinctive and often, giving consumers a different way to look at a product or service.

BzzAgent has been successful as a grassroots referral promotion for new products.   But, using social media as the primary platform opens up a company for severe backlash if referral is driven by promotional payouts instead of real, felt experiences.

Incidentally, Hollrr is ranked by Alexa as the number 266,263 website.

Guest Relations Marketing
Transforming Prospects to Guests, and Guest to Zealots

Companies looking to save costs would do well to pay attention to these stats:  the cost of a live customer service agent averages $7.50 per call.  Outsourcing those calls overseas will drop the cost dramatically to $2.35 per call.  Install an automated phone response system and each call averages just around 32 cents per contact.  This is according to author Emily Yellin of Your Call Is Not That Important To Us.

Of course, if you can build a customer relationship for $7.50 per contact, you might look at this equation differently.  And, if you can turn a negative situation into a positive one, you may just have a potential Zealot on your hands. The word-of-mouth conversations quickly go from dissatisfaction to “listen to what company X did for me” and referral.

Anyone ever claim a better experience because they punched through an automated system?   We do have a friend who has become quite attracted to the Garmin automated voice.  The author says trust, respect, empathy, caring and a little fun are keys to call center success.  Well, maybe the Garmin voice has something going …

Guest Relations Marketing
“Transforming Prospects to Guests, and Guests to Zealots”

chartThe most innovative, no, the most most successful companies integrate customer experience into every facet of the business. This recent white paper from Hub Magazine features a short, but excellent take on breaking down silos to build strong innovation.

Customers do not think in silos – they are not responsible for “pricing” and ignore quality control.  It all matters to a customer.  But what drives referral?  What drives a customer to emotionally embrace and willingly tell others about their experience?  Processes are good.   But, most fail to take into account the non-rational elements that drive distinctive experiences.

recommend-thisBuilding zealots is a fundamental approach to marketing … packaged goods have long understood the competitive power of defining and segmenting marketing practice to heavy users.   Their approach focused purely on volume of usage and did not take into account satisfaction and impact their unsolicited referrals can have within their community.

Targeting zealots combines operational performance with the efficiency of potential word-of-mouth performance.  By building against zealots – we are aligning those customers that are best satisfied with the actual brand delivery and are most likely to practice the most effective and efficient marketing activities – word-of-mouth referral and repeat purchase.

From a pure advertising standpoint, targeting zealots and potential zealots aims messaging at a mindset versus demographic – often increasing the potential target audience.   Creative is allowed to be more intelligent – playing to a higher sensibility and category understanding.   That results in more distinctive work and a higher brand value perception.

Harvard Business Review has written that the number one measure of brand profitability is the correlation of customers that are “extremely likely” to recommend a brand product or service to their friends or family.

Does your business target mindset or demographics?  Those that relate best to your business are likely to do so for reasons other than their age, their household status or where they live.  Do you understand who your zealots are?

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