Could your online boutique use referral marketing?

If you have a boutique business online, the chances are that you are always looking for new ways to grow your customer base without breaking your marketing budget; after all, methods such as online or print advertising are expensive and don’t always guarantee the returns you are looking for.

The power of referrals

Referral marketing is a powerful tool that can bring you a fantastic ROI by getting your customers to do the hard work for you. Referral schemes have been around for years in one guise or another – just consider the ‘refer a friend’ schemes offered by everything from banks to hairdressers and you get the drift. With your online boutique, you can offer a discount to your referred new customer and the loyal referring existing customer or another type of incentive, such as a freebie.

Planning your campaign

From web hosting to referral marketing tools, there is plenty to think about when planning your referral marketing scheme; for example, you can find out more about hosting your website when you visit for web hosting or another provider. It is important to ensure your website is being correctly supported before you begin your referral marketing scheme.

When your web hosting is secure, identify your target market for the referral campaign and think about the offer you want to provide. Work on catchy messaging that is short and easy to remember, then choose your referral programme to automate this as far as possible. There are a number of tools on the market that integrate easily with your website and are very affordable to use.

Once you are happy that your referral mechanism is set up and that the mechanics of your offer code work, you can begin to share details of the offer with your existing customers. Create an eye-catching communication and email it to your customers so that they can share your code to save their friends and family money off their first order and earn themselves a reward at the same time.

Evaluating success

It is important to track your campaign to check that it is bringing the results you want. A referral marketing tool will automatically provide analytics so that you can assess the success of the referral offers you are sharing and see whether any of your offers, codes, communication methods or campaign design elements need adjusting to optimise your results further.

Quick and good to go

Referral marketing is quick, easy and low-cost; what’s more, it generates meaningful results by getting your loyal and happy customers to do your marketing for you! Remember that existing customers can provide the most powerful recommendations for your products and services.

By incentivising this form of viral marketing, you can rapidly grow your customer base and continue to find success in your business, particularly in the increasingly online and e-commerce-enabled world in which competition is high. Businesses need to be smart and proactive to succeed.

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