As part of Extole’s Consumer to Consumer (C2C) social marketing approach, our Client Services and Strategic Services teams provide dedicated support to our customers. The main role of the Strategic Services team is to manage new customer implementations and existing customer upgrades. Strategically launching C2C programs is critical to their success, so we incorporate best practices, social marketing trends and strategy into our approach. In addition to our Best Practices Guide, we thought it would be helpful to take a deep dive into the strategy side of things. During the launch process, the Strategic Services team drives initial customer strategy on three fronts: product strategy (which product features and options best suit the customers goals), integration strategy (how will we make it work with the customer’s existing environments and technologies) and marketing strategy (what’s the best way to engage customers and turn them into social advocates). In this post, we are going to focus on the third front.
There are two key over-arching components in the marketing strategy of a C2C social marketing program:
- Incentive: What will motivate customers to become advocates and what will motivate their friends to try the brand?
- Promotion: How will customers know the program exists and how will we remind them when they are most apt to participate?
As we have touched on before, the incentive is a critical element for a successful C2C program. There are two parts to the incentive: the advocate’s bounty and the friend’s special offer. To help paint the picture, we’d like to share some tips, some best practices and some examples.
For the advocate, the incentive should reflect the interests of the brand’s demographic, be relevant to the business, and be compelling. The incentive should also promote repeat participation in the program.
An example of a good incentive for current advocates might be $10 in ‘stackable’ (can combine rewards toward a single purchase) internal currency for every friend referred. It is relevant to the brand, and there is no cap to the perceived value. More referrals means more dollars to spend on the brand’s products or services.
For the incoming friends of the advocate, the key is to offer them something not only compelling, but unique. Giving them a discount on the brand’s product or service (as opposed to a 3rd party gift card) is a no-brainer as the whole point is for them to try out the brand. It should also be a ‘friends-only’ deal that feels special and exclusive.
When first launching a C2C program, Extole recommends the perceived value of advocate and friend rewards are as balanced as possible. We may test shifting rewards to one side or the other as we work to optimize the program, but striking a balance is a good place to start when deciding on incentives.
The next component, promotion, should be based on quantity and quality. Think of quantity as branding and quality as direct marketing. High-volume placements like a brand’s Homepage, the Facebook timeline, or in weekly newsletters get the C2C program in front of customers on a regular basis and create awareness. Customers need to know the program exists and they need to know where to find it when the desire to share strikes.
High-quality strategic touch points are just as important. Placements like the post-purchase Confirmation page, the ‘Thank You’ page, or a My Account Page hit customers when they feel the strongest affinity for a brand. There may not be as much of this inventory available, but it will result in the highest rates of activation.
As with any marketing program, it is imperative to consistently and systematically monitor and test all aspects of the program. Both program incentive and promotion are incredibly important aspects to set up during the launch process, but can be easily modified and updated to improve program performance. In our next post, we will share an example of a program in which optimization played a major role and how it impacted the program’s overall performance.