By Sam Gach
If you give your customers their groceries for free, they're going to like you better. But chances are they aren't the only ones.
One of our employees was scrolling through her Facebook feed this morning and came across a friend's status:
"Was at Whole Foods tonight when they lost all power to their systems. Rather than have us tired, dinner shopping souls wait, they bagged up everyone's groceries as usual and then said 'this is all on the house tonight.' I tried to estimate what I owed (as did others) but they wouldn't take it. There were about 20 of us in the store. They just built some serious brand loyalty!"
Not only did this woman become more loyal to Whole Foods because of this experience; she also shared the story with her friends on Facebook and over 30 of them "liked" it.
As mentioned in the status, Whole Foods created brand loyalty by their generosity. But this brand loyalty led to brand advocacy - the customers who were in the store at the time are not the only ones who like Whole Foods a little bit better now.
By Sam Gach
Facebook has become an essential part of the marketing strategy for most businesses, and acquiring more fans by having them “like” the company page is often one of the top priorities. But how much is one of these fans or likes actually worth?
There have been many attempts to answer this question – some have proposed a like is worth even upwards of $200. In their 2012 Nonprofit Social Networking Benchmark Report, Blackbaud, NTEN, and Common Knowledge put this number at $214.81 for one Facebook like. Additionally, a study by Synapse concluded that a Facebook fan is worth $136.38 more than a customer who is a non-fan. But the most compelling argument may have been from Forrester, who says that it is best for marketers to assume the answer is zero.
As Forrester points out, there are several reasons why assigning some monetary value to a Facebook fan is problematic:
- Every audience, brand, and program is unique. The value of a fan of a high costing item is not the same as a fan of something cheaper. For example, a Prada like may be more valuable than a Walmart like. Or vice versa; maybe most people who like Prada on Facebook never actually make a purchase from the brand.
- Not all fans are equal. Some have large social networks with the potential to recommend a product to many people, while others aren’t as well connected or aren’t as influential to the people they know.
- How a Facebook user becomes a fan of a page is important. Someone who likes the page organically will have a higher potential value than one that is encouraged by the brand to do so in exchange for a promotion or something else in return.
- Cause and effect is important. Do people spend more because they are fans of the page, or do they become fans of the page when they already spend a lot? Which comes first matters; if it’s the latter, the fandom merely reflects existing value rather than the creation of new value for the brand.
This is not to say there is no value in a Facebook fan. But for everyone out there avidly working to come up with a formula to discover what one page like is worth in dollars: it might be time to focus on something else.
In this realm, quality trumps quantity. It is more important to actually engage fans through social media than to just get more page likes. It is crucial to utilize every available touchpoint to get the most out of your company’s brand advocates, and Facebook is certainly an important one. For more details on this and many more best practices for building successful sales channels, download Amplifinity’s featured whitepaper for free here.
By Sam Gach
Marketing and advertising teams are always looking for ways to increase the exposure of their brands while fitting seamlessly into their existing strategies.
It is no secret that integrating a referral program into your company’s marketing and advertising efforts is a great way of doing this. But there are some key points that you need to keep in mind in order to ensure this is as easy and effective as possible.
Amplifinity has recently published a whitepaper outlining nine best practices for running a successful referral program. A few highlights:
- Think of your customers, your employees, and your partners as brand advocates.
- Use every available touchpoint.
- Think of brand advocacy as creating a long-term sales and marketing channel.
For details on all nine best practices, and much more information on how to create a program that will capture the most success for your business, check out Amplifinity’s brand new whitepaper, “Best Practices for Running a Successful Referral Program.”
Download the full whitepaper for free here.
By Sam Gach
Many enterprises today understand the value that can come from a program that allows customers and employees to refer their products or services to people they know. If they can motivate their customers to recommend friends and family as new customers, they can get new leads and thus more revenue. Not only will brand advocates make referrals; they become a part of the team by endorsing the products and services and amplifying the messages of the brand. And it works – according to a recent study, 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family above all other types of advertising.
Despite understanding the value that referrals can create, many companies have not utilized their knowledge to its fullest potential. Of brands currently running referral programs, many of those programs are unsophisticated and difficult to use, leading to less than impressive results. For example:
- Some of these programs require filling out an excessive amount of information, including customer account numbers and other items that make it not worth the effort.
- Also, some of these less advanced programs simply take the information from the referrals and send out an email blast to the new leads. These emails are just basic advertisements that don’t even tell the recipients that their friend recommends the product or service to them. These emails might even end up in a spam folder.
More advanced programs are much easier to use, and have way more capabilities. They may require as little information as a name and email address, making it much more attractive for busy people to fill out. The referrals can also come directly from the friend or family member, rather than just the company itself, making the receiver much more likely to pay attention. The messages on the best referral programs are even customizable, and can be delivered through many mediums, such as email, Facebook, Twitter, referral cards, and more. And unlike weak and outdated programs, the software underneath automatically tracks all of the results so the company can confirm the success of their compaign.
Amplifinity works with many types of enterprise-level companies to help motivate social behavior, increase brand awareness, and drive revenue. One client, a financial institution, prides itself on customer service and trust but wasn’t getting an ROI they were happy with. Amplifinity helped them integrate a program that:
- Offered the client’s employees and customers rewards for each new account opened
- Used multiple touchpoints and outreach methods to increase the likelihood of enrollment
- Gave the client the ability to easily track and manage all aspects of the program through one system
- A continual increase, month-to-month, in successful referrals and customer acquisition
This is just one example of what a strong referral program to do. To learn more about how to best run your company’s referral program, click here
to download our free whitepaper, “Amplifinity’s Best Practices For Running a Successful Referral Program”.
On behalf of the Amplifinity team, we welcome you to our new website. For anyone who has gone through this effort, you will certainly understand the challenge. It begins and ends with knowing who your company is -- your company identity.
Do you know who your company is? Can you simply and clearly articulate the unique, differentiated value you deliver to the market? Can you represent the company, so that in a few mouse clicks your customers and partners can find exactly what they came for?
This can take some companies months of “strategic” planning meetings, scribbled whiteboards and painful word parsing.
It took our team all of about 5 seconds.
OK…perhaps a bit of exaggeration.
We started with what knew we weren’t: Soft…fuzzy…frictionless. Definitely not us.
At Amplifinity, we are building a powerful enterprise platform that is revolutionizing commerce through brand advocacy - a solution that turns customers, partners and employees into powerful sales and marketing channels for new customer acquisition. At large scale!
We have the privilege to work with some terrific brands. We earned that by being fiercely dedicated to helping our customers deliver value to their businesses by thinking big, executing relentlessly and, most importantly, delivering real value. Always in the form of demonstrable customer acquisition.
Brand Advocacy. Engagement. Acquisition, AMPLIFIED.
Welcome to our website. Always open to your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Guest Post by Tyler Echevarria
Amplifinity Account Manager
Before working for Amplifinity, I worked in appliance sales. I quickly became a brand advocate for LG’s line of products. LG’s products boast a modern style and top-of-the-line features. I promoted their appliances to many customers, and referred friends to the brand when they asked.
At that time, a friend of mine was moving into her first home and needed to buy new appliances. I quickly recommended a top load LG washer and dryer set. Several months later, a family member asked me for recommendations for a refrigerator because theirs had gone on the fritz. Guess what brand I recommended?
I became a long-term brand advocate for LG, and to this day I recommend their products and services -- but here's the caveat: I make recommendations only when I know a friend or family member is about to purchase an appliance. In other words, I know what LG probably doesn't: I know when their prospective customers are in-market or ready to purchase. At Amplifinity, our clients who see the highest percentages of new customer acquisition, tend to view referral programs as a long-term piece of their marketing and advertising mix. Here's what we know:
1. Brand advocates who make multiple successful referrals, do so about every 3 months. When brands run Amplifinity’s software as short-term campaigns (1-3 months), advocates who would normally and eventually make successful referrals do not get a chance to do so as they would in a long-term program. And the brand loses out.
2. Friends know when friends are in-market. Just like my days in appliance sales, I knew when my friends and family were looking for new appliances long before the brand ever would have known; same applies to your B2B and B2C current customers and employees.
3. Friends' Referrals = Benefit for the Brand. Research, including that which comes from Amplifinity’s clients' referral programs, consistently proves that customers acquired through referrals from their friends spend more and are more loyal to your brand.
Short campaigns will increase traffic or encourage advocates to come back, but those campaigns need to be pieces of a larger, ongoing program. Brand advocacy solutions are faster, cheaper, and more effective than traditional customer acquisition methods, and our results prove it. So does the fact that when I see my old customers from my sales days, they thank me for their refrigerator that is still running as well today as the day they bought it.
As I was sitting in the locker room last week getting ready for my daily swim, the conversation turned to the inevitable at this time of year – the best and most conversation-worthy holiday gifts that my swimming mates and I received. There was talk about the new Galaxy Note, a PS3 video game, a multi-functional kitchen range from GE, and even a hot-off-the-line electric lawnmower. This same conversation was, and is, occurring between friends and acquaintances in every living room, every restaurant and on every social network at this time of year. Although social volume peaks during the holiday, it happens all year long; smart brands know it and are building strategic plans to harness it. They know they can’t leave it to chance anymore.
What strikes me most, though, is the palpability of these conversations and endorsements. My friends seemed to love the gifts they received – and they instinctively wanted to talk about them -- a lot. I became so intrigued by their endorsements of the Galaxy Note, that I had to go check it out (incidentally, The Note was very cool and it made me question the new Galaxy 3 my wife just bought me – but I didn’t tell her). These kinds of conversations – online and offline - are marketing gold.
We give this kind of marketing many names: brand advocacy, word-of-mouth, social advocacy, earned media, etc. Whatever we choose to call it, it is undeniable that the consumer decision-making process has changed and consumers, more often than not, are basing their purchases on what other consumers say. In a recent study almost 80% of potential buyers said that user generated content from existing customers had some influence on their decision to buy a specific product. Another cites that 41% of US adults consult online reviews as their source of ideas for holiday gifts*. Brands are coming to realize that they need to harness the power of their happy customers and proactively drive social advocacy – it is becoming critical to their success or failure as a company. Social marketing platforms that make it simple to generate, track and manage social behaviors are absolutely critical to a business - so conversations like the one I had in the locker room don’t become missed opportunities to build their brand, drive revenue, and create lasting customer relationships.
And they need to do it throughout the year - not just during the holiday season.
Richard Beedon is the Founder and CEO of Amplifinity
A hamster, a kind man with a very large vacuum, and a lost opportunity to generate a stellar company referral and some positive Word of Mouth (and all for free, no less). Take a look at Amplifinity's latest post on the totally revamped "All Things WOMM" blog (as well as website!).
We would like to hear whether you, as a consumer or brand, have ever missed out on a referral or endorsement opportunity. Tell us about it.
Amplifinity is proud to announce that we won the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's WOMMY People's Choice Award for our American Laser Skincare Case Study. Take a few minutes to read about our successful referral program, and view our video. Thank you to all who voted for our case study!
If you would like to find out more about how Amplifinity's platform is helping our clients build their brand advocate base, drive brand awareness, and increase revenue, contact us for a quick demo.
Brad Allan; Sales Associate at Amplifinity
The Woodward Dream Cruise: the largest one-day automotive event in the world, just outside of Detroit. Participants include 1.5+ million attendees and 40,000+ cars. Today’s cell phone technology with built-in cameras and mobile apps makes the Dream Cruise an ideal environment for auto marketers in the performance segments to connect with brand advocates and generate customers.
If you are a car person, you are most likely aware of this event. My lovely wife and I like cars, admittedly me more than her. We decided we needed to go to the last night of the “pre-cruise.” The pre-cruise is generally defined as the Tuesday-Friday nights before the actual cruise on Saturday morning. The Friday night pre-cruise has maybe half the cars and a tenth of the crowd. Not a bad combination.
As we were walking through the Chrysler display at the corner of 13 Mile and Woodward, I watched the cars driving by on Woodward and I heard my wife say (with feeling),” I want this!” “What is it?” I tell her that the object of her affection is the new Viper. The 2013 Viper SRT is sitting under a little tent partially surrounded by admirers.
I have some connection to this car’s earliest ancestors as my uncle was one of the managers in Chrysler’s prototype shop when this beast was first developed. My favorite story concerned the design of an EPA legal side exhaust that didn’t vaporize the skin on your calf when you tried to get out of the car! That took a few attempts to perfect.
The pre-cruise was a missed opportunity for Chrysler to connect with potential customers and brand advocates. It would have been easy for a Chrysler event marketer to give people a chance to have their picture taken with the car or to gather reactions to the new re-design. There were many Chrysler staff people on site as the display took up most of the shopping center-sized parking lot. This was also just 4 months after the re-designed Vipers’ debut at the New York Auto Show. At that point, not many people had seen this car up close. Chrysler could have offered a free app to incent people to share pictures and comments with friends and encourage them to stop by the display to see it themselves. It would have been easy to track them through to the purchase of a Viper or any Chrysler vehicle.
One-and-a-half million gear heads, all in the same place, on the same day. Missed opportunity!