Read time: 5 mins
Here’s something that won’t surprise you: when it comes to driving sustainable growth in 2022, you need to put your customers behind the wheel.
But what might surprise you is that delivering a great product or service alongside a solid customer experience isn’t enough to bag their loyalty.
Today’s consumers expect super-smooth, ultra-personal journeys when they interact with a brand.
That’s why you need to inject referral into your marketing automation strategy.
Referral shines a light on who your most valuable customers really are. You can then use these insights to roll out the red carpet for these VIPs every time they interact with your brand.
Whether you’re reminding them to use a referral reward or sending an exclusive offer, you can give your referring customers the star treatment.
As a result, you can increase your email engagement x8, acquire 10% more customers through referral, and grow your email database by up to 6%.
Alone, a marketing automation platform will enhance your user experience. Backed by a smart strategy that includes a precision-engineered referral channel, it can endlessly delight your customers — you’ll also have a very happy Marketing team.
So we’ve partnered with PAASE Digital, the UK’s first Klaviyo Platinum Master Partner, to help brands streamline their customer experience (and keep these shoppers coming back).
To find out more, we sat down with Andy Rixon, Commercial Director at PAASE Digital. He explained how combining an optimised marketing automation strategy with referral can solve brands’ biggest challenges in 2022.
What are the main challenges brands are facing at the moment?
Many ecommerce brands have had an amazing two years because of the pandemic. People weren’t going out for meals, to the cinema, or on holidays, so they had more money to spend. This meant that brands with a steady growth trajectory pre-pandemic suddenly saw it skyrocket in 2020 and 2021.
The challenge now is to continue this growth when consumers don’t have as much time (or money) for online shopping as they did in lockdown. It’s unrealistic to expect to have this kind of year-on-year growth again, so brands need to look back at their original growth curve and base their strategy on that.
Instead, switched-on brands are using these growth spikes to drive more revenue by moving away from mass marketing and nurturing their existing database of customers.
Another issue is consumer distrust. The CRM world is pushing SMS marketing a lot at the moment, but we’re not generally that receptive to SMS marketing in the UK.
We’re much more suspicious than consumers in the US, for example, and we’re less likely to want companies to have our phone numbers. The way to do SMS well is by keeping it highly personal and making it a seamless part of the customer journey.
How can marketing automation and referral provide the solution?
A marketing automation platform works well by itself, but we help brands think about the overall strategy, and how this platform interacts with other channels (such as referral).
If you integrate referral data into your marketing automation platform, you can learn more about your customers and make sure to nurture them.
By looking at the customer journey as a whole and making sure all your communication flows are linked, you can give extra attention to the customers you want to really look after.
For example, if Ellie has bought from your brand five times and gone on to refer her friend, who has then made a purchase, that’s a clear sign that Ellie is a VIP. As a result, she should be put in a segment alongside other valuable referrers and be given special treatment.
kencko uses referral as part of its marketing automation strategy to nurture its best customers.
How can you pick the right marketing automation platform for your brand?
It depends on your focus. We specialise in optimising Klaviyo, because we think it’s a platform that’s nailed how to create a great customer journey through email marketing specifically.
We’ve always worked with the aim of delivering the right email, to the right customer, at the right time. Klaviyo facilitates this really well, and it’s easy to integrate with lots of different platforms.
Which brands would you recommend integrate referral with their marketing automation strategies?
Any brand looking to speed up their growth. For brands in their early stages of growth, we’ll offer more support: we send the emails, create the strategy, do the reporting and build the flows. As they continue to grow, we’ll train them up and take a step back.
Larger brands will have a bigger marketing team, so we’ll support the team as they run their marketing automation platform. We see ourselves as a strategic partner rather than an agency.
Any brand can benefit from integrating referral into their marketing automation strategy. Because from a customer journey point of view, there’s no better introduction to a brand than a one-to-one recommendation. It’s the best way for businesses to grow. You’re thanking your customers, and showing your appreciation for their support.
What does the future of customer experience look like?
Brands are all trying to build out a profile of what their perfect customer looks like. They want to understand where they are, who they are, and what they like.
The more first-party data you can feed into your automation platform, the more customisation you can do — and the more you nurture each individual customer.
If a customer is helping you grow by sharing your brand with others (and essentially doing your marketing for you), those people need to be rewarded. Including referral in your email marketing strategy is one of the best ways of doing that.
Brands need to see their customer data as part of the bigger picture, and focus on how each marketing channel communicates with the rest.
We work with a range of tech and agency partners to help brands get more from their marketing stack. If you’re looking for a best-in-class integration, or you’re interested in partnering with us, get in touch.