Email has become a contentious issue lately. In the context of GDPR and e-Privacy regulations many marketers are finding themselves asking: when is is okay to email customers?
As a part of our GDPR preparations, we recently reversed the ability for brands to collect email opt-ins from referees on the basis of a pre-ticked box on the referee registration page.
But the challenge of converting referees remains, and email can be a powerful tool to help do this. Clients have asked us to share our tips for referee emailing. In this blog we’ll do just that; taking you through the key steps for setting up referee follow up emails to ensure you get the best conversion rates. We are also sharing some exclusive content kindly provided by the marketing team at JoJo Maman Bébé - a team who have made great use of their referee emails.
Step 1: Gathering your referee emails
Even without the ability to pre-tick the email opt-in box on the referee registration page typically about 25% of referees decide to give you their email address. That is a pretty great sign-up rate compared to the approximately 2% most brands see from their on-site email sign-up form.
The sign-up rate on the referee page is kept high by the transfer of social capital from the referring friend to your brand. The referee’s thought pattern goes something like: “If my friend likes this site I’m up for receiving their emails.” Not only are referees more inclined to trust and shop with you, they are also more likely to be receptive to your emails.
We gather those email addresses and add them to a list for you. Then is it up to you to make the most out of them.
Step 2: What to do with the email addresses?
Our recommendation is to download a list of these email addresses for referees each week. This can be done in partnership with your Client Success Manager and can be configured to happen more or less frequently if you’d like. Weekly is a good cadence to start with, but this could be more frequent if you have a high volume of referees, a short sales cycle or very short incentive periods for your referee rewards.
Once you have your email list the next step is to load them to your own email system and start using them for lifecycle emails. This is where you can get creative! Try a customised welcome email that introduces your brand, or even a full lifecycle. Use the same benefits and language as your existing customers might use to describe your brand for added authenticity.
Welcome emails are reputed to have a much higher open rate than newsletters so it makes sense to do something special for newly added referees rather than just adding them to your general monthly broadcasts right away.
Step 3: Understanding the impact
So, which metric can you use to understand if your emailing efforts have made any difference? The standard email metrics of open and click-through rate are useful - but don’t forget to analyse if your emailing efforts have made an impact on your referral conversion too.
Unless you have very big referee volumes this is one part of the funnel where we don’t automatically turn to an AB test. Better to measure by looking at a pre and post measurement of the referee conversion rate. Anything over 15% is considered good.
Lucy, Digital Marketing Manager at JoJo Maman Bébé describes their best practice approach.
Can you describe what you do with your referees once you have their email opt-in?
We’ve created a welcome lifecycle which is made up of 3 email touchpoints. We use this to introduce referees to our brand and hopefully convey some of what we stand for to them.
How often do you take the list of opted-in referees and upload them to your database?
We do this fortnightly. We believe it's important to contact referees soon after they get introduced to the brand. Our referral programme is really successful and we have a relatively high volume of new referees that justifies doing the process frequently.
What do you see as the benefits of having a referee email programme?
Our brand values are very strong - we’re a certified B Corp, which is the retail equivalent of Fairtrade - and this gives a nice platform to communicate this with referees, cementing the really positive introduction they get as a result of being referred.
Can you share some of your creative?
Of course! This is an example of the first email we send in our welcome lifecycle for referee email sign-ups. We like to feature bestselling items that might inspire customers to see something they want and make a purchase.
With the challenges now facing marketers to acquire and then qualify email addresses, referral marketing can prove a useful tool. Retailers just need to ensure that they take a proactive approach to building these contacts into their email cycles.