Austin Brawner is the Chief Fixer at Ecommerce Influence (http://www.ecommerceinfluence.com/), where they strive to be the world’s best resource in helping grow ecommerce businesses from 1 Million to 10 Million plus dollars. Being the Chief Fixer, he loves to improve people’s websites and find where revenue can be made. He also hosts the company’s very own podcast – Ecommerce Influence. Ecommerce Influence uses marketing strategies to help grow companies and ultimately take them from 7 figures to 8 figures in profit.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- How to implement a standout marketing tool for selling consumer goods online
- How to increase sales and exposure for your brand without being pushy
- The 4 simple steps of building a customer referral program
“Our goal is to convert our best customers into salespeople for the brand”- Austin [Tweet This]
To See These Tactics In Action:
To See The Transcript:
Tim:Welcome to ConversionCast, the only podcast that gets to the heart of the metrics. Now here’s another data driven case study.
Hey fellow marketer. Thanks for being here. I’m really excited for today’s episode because if you’re an ecommerce storeowner or you just like getting more sales , which who doesn’t today you’re going to discover how to get your customers to sell for you and that should make you very happy. You’re also going to discover how doing that got ecommerce influence a 36% increase in sales. Now we’ve got the actual swipe copy that they provide along with the step by step breakdown of how to implement this strategy at our website. All you need to do to download it is visit ConversionCast.com/influenceDownload right now. Again that’s ConversionCast.com/influenceDownload. With that said I can’t wait to introduce you to Austin Brawner who’s one of the founders of Ecommerce Influence. They help seven-figure ecommerce storeowners take their businesses to eight figures and beyond. One of their primary methods is what they’re talking about today, referral marketing. They’ve got a rock solid referral marketing strategy that you’re going to love and you’re going to hear about in detail. I don’t want to waste any more time kind of introducing this episode because if you implement this, I’d be willing to bet you’ll see some incredible results in your business.
Once again the swipe copy along with the step by step instructions for this strategy are only available at ConversionCast.com/influenceDownload. So go download them right now and then listen on. I’m Tim Page, the conversion educator here at LeadPages. This is ConversionCast and here is Austin Brawner from Ecommerce Influence.
Hey Austin, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for being here.
Austin:Hey, Tim, thanks so much for having me. I’m real excited to be on the show.
Tim:Cool yeah. I’m pumped to have you here and we’re talking about something that I love and it’s really interesting. I don’t know if may be you have or have not noticed this but one thing I’ve found in this world of kind of conversion optimization and I talk about list building a lot and stuff like that, I find that a lot of ecommerce professionals and entrepreneurs really feel like list building and that kind of stuff is not for them. So I think this will be cool because we’re not necessarily talking about list building but bringing you into this world, I think that it’s one of those things that’s so important to be doing especially as an ecommerce entrepreneur. It’s an amazing way to market your business. What do you think?
Austin:It really, really is and the fact that building funnels for ecommerce like marketing for ecommerce businesses can be very, very profitable just like in other sorts of businesses whether it’s B2B or whatever else you’re doing. It works for ecommerce as well and it’s had some really good results with it.
Tim:That’s awesome. I’d love to hear that and I always – I’ve gotten into some heated debates with some really successful ecommerce folks that were not – that didn’t really have funnels I mean they had their basic marketing but you see these big ecommerce stores like hackberry and stuff like that coming out where their whole thing is email. So it’s really interesting —
Tim:You know, I love that. So what I want to hear first of is I would love to know what results were you able to get for your company with this particular case study we’re going to talk about today?
Austin:Sure. So the results that we got because we built a customer referral program and we were able to get over 36% sales left with this customer referral program. I want to specify that because it’s a little bit confusing. There’s two metrics when you’re talking about a referral program. You’ve got sales lift and you’ve got share rate. Those are the two things you’re basically judging. So share rate is how many of your customers share an offer after they’ve made a purchase and then the sales left is what percentage boost you get from the amount of shares your customers provide.
Tim:Interesting and I think you know, there’s a lot of people, a lot of hard core sales folks and marketing folks that would say that share rate is not important. I would – I tend to disagree with that but we are going to focus on the lift in sales conversion rate, is that right?
Austin:We’re going to focus on that but they do go hand in hand. So to explain how it works and how to judge whether or not you can have a successful campaign, you’ve got to be looking at share rate and also lift in sales because they’re the two levers that allow you to really increase, increase your sales is using those two together.
Tim:Awesome. So yeah I mean I think this is going to be great and before we kind of dive into that, what I think would be important is just to know kind of what’s ecommerce influence is all about and kind of what you do there. So tell us a little bit about that.
Austin:So ecommerce influence is we’ve put together we believe the world’s best resource in helping you grow and ecommerce company from one million dollars to $10M and up. So once you’re past the initial startup phase and you’re starting to hire and you have a successful concept. A lot of the things you need to do change especially in marketing and so we focus on really growing from that seven-figure range to eight-figures and giving you the strategies you need to help grow.
Tim:Fantastic. So you really are experts in the ecommerce world. So we’re talking about referral marketing in that —
Tim:– space. So nobody better to do that. So here’s what I want to hear, tell us the strategy like walk us through it, how did it work, what —
Tim:–does somebody have to do to implement this?
Austin:Sure. So really where the strategy kicks in is at the end of the funnel. So a lot of the conversations you have are about the funnel process. Once you get a customer and acquire that customer then this is where you’re starting to get- you want them to share. So we believe the end of the funnel is just as important as the top of the funnel. Our goal is to convert our best customers into sales people for the brand. This has been based off of like [0:06:15] [Indiscernible], Warby Parker Toms, a lot of these really large fast growing companies are doing this. So what we did is we reversed engineered that and did it for a couple of companies. But today we’re going to talk about a sun glass company that we built a customer referral program for and we’re able to generate sales lift for this company by getting customers who’ve made a purchase to then immediately go and share with their friends. Once they shared with their friends, their friends made a purchase. They were rewarded for sharing with their friends and their friends got basically a discount on their first pair and it was a kind of viral loop that have it.
Tim:Interesting. All right. So how did you do that? How do you make that happen?
Austin:So the way that you make this happen and this can work for just about it works really well for like B2C type companies who have a consumer good but it can work for a lot of other companies as well. What you want to do is you want to build an offer that you can have basically when somebody purchases right afterward, directly after it, they can then have the opportunity to share that offer with their friends on Facebook, on email, on Twitter and then you continually follow up with this offer over basically through a process to make sure that your new customer has the opportunity to share with their friends and bring them in. I can talk about it kind of in specifics.
Tim:yeah. Let’s talk about it with the sunglass company. So what was their offer?
Austin:So their offer was get a free pair of sunglasses for every friend that they refer and their friend would get 15% off their first purchase.
Tim:Got you. So that’s clear.
Austin:That’s very, very clear right. And the reason that this worked is really because there’s really four steps to making a good referral program. First is figuring out the value of your customers and so with the offer, the specific offer we did , which was get a free pair of sunglasses for every friend that you refer, we were giving away the baseline like lower level sunglass pair. If their friend that they brought in bought a high level more expensive version of the sunglasses. Because most of the money was made on like the top end product.
Austin:So we understood what the value of the customer was. We knew that over a certain time period, I believe we figured out that people spent $70 in the first year and a half on sunglasses. So if we gave that pair away, it was cheaper than acquiring customers through other means like AdWords or Facebook that sort of thing.
Tim:So going into this you have to know kind of the value of a customer and at each level what the value of a customer is so that you can make a reasonable offer. Something that not only will be compelling like you know, hey if somebody is buying sunglasses from you clearly more sunglasses are going to be something that they want. But not only do you need to know the value of that new customer that you’re going to acquire but you also need to know what’s going to entice people enough that it’s going to be not only something that you won’t cost you money to get this new customer but also will engage this existing customer enough to do that.
Austin:Exactly. So the first step is to determine kind of like the CPA from each channel. If you’re acquiring customers from AdWords and Facebook with your SEO direct mail other channels you want to determine exactly how much it costs to acquire that customer. And from there then you go and you build an offer that kind of matches the cost per acquisition of your most successful channel.
That’s typically where I’ve found the most success, how we found success with this exact referral program and all the other ones we’ve built. We matched the CPA of the most successful channel and we’ve come up with an offer that does not compete with whatever our core offer is. For the sunglass company, the sunglass because is called Blender’s eyewear and they’re like we didn’t want to compete with their top level pair of sunglasses because that’s – it’s their bread and butter it’s where they make their money.
Austin:So we gave away the baseline model , which wasn’t competitive and we started testing from there and found that this offer was what worked really well for them.
Tim:Okay, got you. So you make this offer at the tail end of the sale. Somebody purchases.
Tim:They complete their checkout, they see this offer and get a free pair of sunglasses for every friend you refer who you know buys a pair of sunglasses and then the friend will also get a 15% discount. So from there what happens?
Austin:So from there once you created a really solid offer and you decide, okay I usually tell people to create at least three offers because you want to be able to test them. Then you put and you build what I call the customer profit loop, , which means that once they make a purchase you’re then going to be displaying the offer right away directly after the purchase. This is the first time they’re going to see the offer to share with their friends. You want to give them the ability to share an email, Facebook and Twitter and that’s usually right there is a great place to test whatever offer you’ve come up with because it’s got very high visibility right? everyone who checks out will be able to see this and you’ll be able to determine your share rate, something I mentioned earlier. You’ll be able to determine your share rate of this post checkout offer.
Austin:If your share rate is over 20% that means you’re kind of in the right realm and you’re on to something.
Austin:So then you get to continue to build out the rest of the profit loop , which means you got to follow up with people because the biggest mistake that people make is building referral program and not exposing enough people to it. Or that and combining it with a bad offer. But we’ll talk about a little bit later. So anyway you follow up with – we followed it up with a shipping confirmation email and the shipping confirmation email is if you think about what is the email that’s going to be most opened up after someone make a purchase —
Tim:Yeah for sure.
Austin:It’s always – that’s it because people are the shipping confirmation email is where the tracking number is. So you usually see like people opening up two or three times and you got to be careful. You can’t like blatantly put in an offer in a shipping confirmation email because it’s transactional and you’re not allowed to but you can put like a soft offer is what I call it, a link to the share program. That would then drive people to a dedicated landing page and on that dedicated landing page you would host whatever offer you had and that’s where we hosted the offer, get a free pair of blender sunglasses for every friend that you refer. And they could go there and they could enter their email and share it with their friends and understand if somebody made a purchase that’s where they’ll be rewarded and they’d be able to see it in the landing page.
Austin:So then there’s just there’s three other emails that go out to drive these people if you’re an ecommerce business owner you know that after the delivery right, after they receive their purchase if they’re happy that’s a very good time to email them to drive them back to the landing page to make a purchase. Actually not to make a purchase, to make, to share with their friends. So you want to set up an email that drives them to that landing page after the delivery of the product and then there’s two more emails you want to send and what we would send are kind of closing the loop emails. The second and third emails that we would send would basically drive people to a page where they could figure out and determine if their friends had made a purchase from their referral invites and if they’ve earned any sort of prize. Because that’s what people really want to know. They want to know if their friends have made a purchase and if their friends or if their friends have clicked on the invites they send them to determine if they’re going to be rewarded for sharing with their friends. Does that make sense?
Tim:yeah it does.
Austin:So that’s like the overview of the customer profit loop you want to send. You want to show the offer right after the purchase. You want to email them twice, once directly like once on the shipping confirmation email and then once after they receive the product and then you want to send two more emails after basically a week and two weeks later that give them updates on all their sharing and kind of fill in the gaps between the amount of time they like shared with their friends and whether or not they’ve received whatever prize. In this prize it was free sunglasses.
Tim:Got it. So it’s really funny too that you mentioned the page because they want to see if they got any free sunglasses. So I just entered the contest myself to win this outfit or whatever from a company that I really respect and admire. I shared it like crazy because it was not an inexpensive outfit and it’s really funny because I’ve gone back to check the page that told me how many entries I got and that kind of stuff, which is slightly different. You know, it’s a contest but still —
Tim:–you know, I’ve gone back to see if I’ve gotten results and how that is about a hundred thousand times right.
Austin:Yeah. Because you really do want to check those results and I feel like I’ve probably shared it more seeing my entries because of that. So I think if people are not getting sunglasses or are getting sunglasses it might drive them to kind of further promote that company or that website.
Tim:Exactly. It’s also where a lot of people if they’re building a referral program failed to execute. Because they don’t realize that that’s I would say the most important part of this whole process is looping back around and making sure that people who had shared in the past kind of can have the –it can come full circle and they can learn whether or not they’ve had success with their referrals. So I like sending emails and say like check the status of your referrals or check to see if you’ve had money waiting for you. This is modelled after one of the most successful emails ever , which had a 75% click through rate , which is you’ve been tagged in a Facebook photo.
Tim:That email has one of the highest click through rates of all time because people it’s directly related to the person. You receive the email that’s like a dopamine release. They’re like oh god, who tagged me in a phot.
Tim:It’s the same thing with the referral marketing if they could potentially have money. It’s like if you receive an email that says check to see if you have money waiting for you. They’re going to be like oh my gosh do I have something in my account? May be one of my friends clicked, made a purchase and I earn $20.
Tim:Or whatever your offer is.
Tim:So those are – that’s how you really maximize this channel is by building the email system out around it.
Tim:I mean this is really exciting stuff and I think my only concern at this point is at ConversionCast we want people to be able to go and implement these things. I think the only kind of hanging point for me is there’s kind of a bit of technology on the backend of this that needs to be implemented to make this work. I guess my questions would be did you have for example the page that had the sharing and tracking the referrals and all that kind of stuff. Is that a program that you use or was this all kind of custom built in the backend?
Austin:That’s a program that we use and this is actually what you just mentioned is the number one concern people have. They’re like this is kind of complicated, how do we actually do this. Really there’s only four things that you need. one of them is the email marketing service with autoresponders so you could use MailChimp, AWeber, ConstantContact, probably something most of your listeners already have.
Austin:The second thing you need is a referral marketing platform and that’s what you’re talking about. We’re doing the share codes, hosting that sort of a thing and there’s a couple that you can use. One of them is extol.com. Extol is a company that manages everything on the backend for you so you’ll be able to when a customer shares it will track when somebody else makes a purchase. The other companies that do this are FriendBy.com, ReferralCandy.com and Talkable.com is the company that manages the largest like Tom’s, Benobols, actually I think Warby Parker uses Friendby. But a lot of the really large enterprise level companies use Talkable.
Austin:If you were just in the range, if you’re like if you’re an ecommerce business owner and you want to get started, a good place to go would be either Extol or Friendby because they start I think as low as $29 a month and that will take care of all the technology you need besides driving it with the email marketing service that you can use. Besides that, you’ll just need like some graphic design work and a terms of service document, which I will actually give to you so you guys can have a template.
Austin:Because the terms of service document will keep people from trying to like game the system.
Austin:So we had a lawyer work on that. You can just basically plug in your offer and it will protect anybody who wants to build a system like this but doesn’t have the like lawyer side of it.
Tim:Yeah that would be awesome and to get that all you need to do is go to ConversionCast.com/InfluenceDownload. ConversionCast.com/InfluenceDownload. Yeah I mean I think you know, honestly the way that you described this I’m comfortable that people could be able to implement so I think that was kind of the last piece. Is there anything that we’re kind of missing in this sequence that’s important for people to know?
Austin:What’s really, really important it’s a couple of numbers to understand. People usually will implement something and not really know if their offer is working. So here’s a couple of numbers from my experience from working with one of the cofounders of Talkable.com who’s built like a thousand referral programs. If you’re a healthy brand, if you got a healthy company, the type of share rate you’re looking for, if you see between 20 and 30% that’s a typical – it’s typical for a healthy brand of the offer post checkout, meaning like that you give them the offer and then 20% or 30% of people will share with their friends. If you’re 50% to 60% share rate that means you’re going to be growing very, very quickly and you’re really on to something with your offer.
If you’re over 60% that means you’re really like hitting a homerun with your offer and you’re having a lot of success. To put it in perspective, the Blenders eyewear campaign it tapped out at a 112.5% share rate.
Austin:So meaning people shared more than once after every purchase.
Austin:So we really hit it at the nail in the head with the offer.
Tim:Yeah that’s fantastic. That’s huge. Well I love this. I really appreciate you sharing this with us and I think we’re going to see a lot of people implementing this kidn of stuff and hopefully people can check out your offerings over at Ecommerce Influence. So thanks again so much for being on the show. It’s been awesome.
Austin:Thanks so much Tim. Yeah no absolutely. It was a lot of fun and yeah hopefully we share some good stuff. You guys can take it away and go use it for your business.
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Listen To Discover The Exact Strategy Ecommerce Influence Used To Immediately Boost Client Sales By 36%