7 Ways to Drive E-Commerce Referrals


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“Oh, I like that! Where’d you get it?” we ask this all the time. Even before the internet, retailers relied upon the goodwill and kind words of customers to impact the bottom line.

These days, we know that 92% of consumers trust a recommendation about a sale from their inner circleLeading e-commerce brands understand that referral marketing can drive a significant portion of their revenue and build existing customer loyalty. 

As our ecommerce marketing strategies advance and the customer journey demands rewarding brand experiences, companies are using multichannel tactics to drive engagement and welcome new users via word of mouth.  

This post will detail exactly how e-commerce retailers use email, mobile, landing pages and websites to reach their best brand advocates and effectively convert them. Referred customers have a hearty 16% higher LTV than non-referred customers, reports Harvard Business Review.

#1 Amazon Prime – Referral Landing Page



Amazon Prime leads the mobile charge with charity, encouraging users to “Give” to their friends in an (almost) selfless way. Altruism is a powerful motivator, especially when supported by $5 reciprocal rewards for making an easy “Invite.” Cheers to Amazon for using powerful active verbs at the start of every phrase, as this is a copywriting key when running an optimized mobile ecommerce referral program.

The actionable user experience is heightened by a flawlessly simplistic, yet engaging, mobile aesthetic. Fitting a cheery image of friends neatly above a concise value statement and prominent CTAs beneath is not something all brands succeed at. The industry leader knows an unencumbered space with user-centric language and appealing benefits are a sure way to increase engagement and net conversions.

PS Interested in learning more about Referral Marketing for E-Commerce? Download our Free E-Book here!

#2 Fido – Referral Landing Page



The contrast between bold and soothing colorways set this Fido landing page apart from the pack. Blocking their page into thirds for easy reading, the Canadian phone retailer centralizes their warm-and-fuzzy brand image to great effect. How could we resist a referral after such a heartwarming image? Readers will imagine themselves as the heroes of the image at center, our friendly companion, Fido, along for a relaxing time.

The $25 double-sided benefits can’t hurt either. At left, bright yellows communicate zesty optimism while the teal blends soothing blue tones with energetic greens to backlight the rewards to come. The company wants us to be clear about their program, so they help us read by breaking text into single-line snippets. Three of the five lines start with “You,” an important tenet of copywriting best practices to enhance reader engagement.

#3 Staples – Referral Signup Form



After receiving a referral rewards notice, or when looking into a referral program’s benefits,  users often have questions. This Staples FAQ page form stands open and ready to assist with conversions. Under the header, viewers receive the brief and value-focused statement of benefits for being involved in the “Refer a Business Program.” Staples does a great job here, both enticing future shares and satisfying those who came to claim rewards.

A sparse design keeps users moving down, undistracted from converting and their dollars to come. By keeping color use in line with color theory and design minimal, the CTA button stands out in bright and important amongst the visual hierarchy.

PS Interested in learning more about Referral Marketing for E-Commerce? Download our Free E-Book here!

#4 24 Hour Fitness – Referral Landing Page



Mega-gym chain 24 Fitness gets immaterial with their rewards here, offering current users the chance to invite a workout buddy, for the price of “on the house.” The hero image is crucial to this landing page, as nowhere does it explicitly state that your pal gets a free opportunity to pump iron when you sign you both up. The offer is just plain enticing – and the conversion is ridiculously easy. Four data boxes and then an exciting red CTA button is all that stand between us and a complimentary half-week of exercise.

“FREE” is the twice-used critical phrase here. Like candy littered up the copy trial to maximum conversions, this is the best four-letter power word of all. The rest of the copy is appropriate trim and succinct, repeating “Share” and welcoming “All your friends” to enjoy the natural rewards that are good health.

PS Interested in learning more about Referral Marketing for E-Commerce? Download our Free E-Book here!

#5 Amazon Prime – Referral Email


Amazon Prime again, this time with a high-converting, highly personalized referral email. The mega-retailer balances text and icon images to break up the body copy and move reader’s eyes through the value-packed message. Most prominent is brand-familiar yellow CTA to “Try Prime Free,” which nails both actionable language and drops the free-bomb on users right away. The true blue box below promises free services and below we see more benefits described in favorable terms such as “Epic,” “Favorite” and “Instant.” Amazon knows how to write about itself.

Amazon obviously knows personalized emails get 6x higher transaction rates and are 26% more likely to be opened.  Specific, direct and promising value, the headline wastes no time telling the reader that your main man, “Brandon Gains has invited you to try Amazon Prime.” The follow up copy gets a little cheeky by lamenting for a pal as nice as Brandon, but this informal use of language is appreciated, lending a nice voice to what could be a dry, unremarkable email. This is a stirring example of just how powerful email can be within an optimized referral program.


#6 Costco – Referral Landing Page



A strong hero image communicates the warm feelings Costco wants viewers to catch when they visit their referral landing page. An example of the self-affirmation theory of psychology, the big-box retailer is showing users how to enjoy their rewards (a tip users tend to follow). Handing users a physical coupon in the form of a “Cash Card” is genius, proving a tangible image of spending the card carrying members of Costco will gravitate towards.

Bold, assertive red text proclaims “It’s simple” to “Introduce” friends to the retailer’s savings. Splitting the copy text in half, this visual trick organizes the benefits section and makes reading easily digestible for those looking for fast benefits. The use of red in the design hierarchy is brilliant, guiding reader eyes from the company logo, over the rewards image and down to the statement of rewards. Costco demonstrates that showing and telling is crucial when creating effective landing pages and that sharing familiar images helps users feel at home in the referral process.

#7 TD Bank – Referral Landing Page



This TD Bank landing page lets users be choosy about giving referrals. Less assertive than most, the financial house wants readers to come to the conclusion that it’s financially savvy to save via referring friends. “Win, win” is how they communicate the benefits of $25 reciprocal rewards for each party. The body copy also makes use of the word “if,” a powerful word that puts the user in the driver seat and hands them responsibility for their own savings. Also uncommon, TD offers users and referred clients more time in which to bank, a very desirable benefit.

The CTA prompts with action to “download” and is cleverly supported by a guided text box to explain how to complete the conversion. TD Bank provides us with a savvy, yet unconventional, approach toward driving engagement among users, securing conversions and new clients.

PS Interested in learning more about Referral Marketing for the Financial Industry? Download our Free E-Book here!

Wrapping Up

These have been seven examples of referral marketing programs from e-commerce retailers. All of these brands consistently appeal to their users’ preference for double-sided rewards and easy conversion steps. The best brands make CTAs highly visible and clickable amidst straightforward design themes and appropriate colors to match.

Your copywriting technique should always be concise, focusing on driving conversions through active verbs while simultaneously involving readers in the text. When viewers imagine themselves inside the referral message, conversions increase, so hero images highlighting the mutually beneficial rewards to come are also critical. Whether you’re reaching out across mobile, email, websites or landing pages, be sure to emulate these top-earning brands to see your own revenue increases.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Brandon Gains
Brandon Gains is the VP of Marketing at Referral SaaSquatch. He uses a mix of data, design and development to work on the growth of our company. You can connect with him via email brandon at referralsaasquatch.com or on twitter @brandongains


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