Peter Cunningham
Peter Cunningham 21 March 2016

It's Good To Talk...

...but even better to get your customers to talk to their friends about you!

So you are a senior marketing executive in telecoms. And whether that is in mobile, fixed line or Internet access, you have exactly the same issue as every other telecoms marketer.

It is quite simply that you are all competing for the same customers who can get more or less the same data and voice services from a whole host of players. And they can also get the same iPhones, Android phones or routers from any of those players too!

In other words, you are working in the nearest thing to a commodity industry there is in technology.

How Do You Stand Out from the Competition?

You could discount your voice and data prices or reduce the price of those iPhones, but you know that your competitors will follow with a steeper price cut before the virtual ink is dry on your promotional banners.

Instead you might just try and grab the attention of all those people searching for 'mobile phones' on Google. But affiliate and paid search costs are high and constantly rising. And organic search is dominated by price comparison engines that claim to steer customers towards the ‘best value’ deal, and charge you a fortune for the privilege.

Perhaps you might invest heavily in TV campaigns with celebrities from cinema and sport like David Beckham (Sprint), Lily Adams (AT&T) and Rick Astley (Virgin Mobile), or sponsoring music festivals and concerts with household names? But that is going to cost millions.

Or you could acquire content such as live football games or films as sweeteners to get customers to sign up. But that could cost billions

So what do you do?

The answer is surprisingly simple.

Get your Customers to talk to their friends...about you?

The one thing that really can distinguish you from your competitors is that you are 'nice people to do business with'. In other words, provided your tariffs are fair, your billing transparent, your customer service people genuinely helpful and your call waiting times are really short, then these can all be competitive advantages. The problem is that none of these make for engaging or convincing advertising copy. And as people can only really experience these benefits once they are your customers, the only people who can credibly talk about them are.......your existing customers.

But once you have customers who have experienced good service, then they have every reason to recommend you to their friends, family and colleagues. That is provided you ask them to, and provide them with the right means and incentives to do so.

So who is doing this well?

What might surprise is just how few telecom brands are doing this well today. Or course, a quick Google search for ‘refer-a-friend’ plus any of the leading telcos (like Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, Orange, Three etc.) will find some kind of webpage offering cash, redeemable reward points or other rewards. But other than with a few exceptions, like O2 and EE, very few of these refer-a-friend schemes deliver any meaningful numbers of new customers. This is because they are often simplistic schemes developed in-house, with limited rewards and referral possibilities that attract only a tiny percentage of customers and don't encourage them to refer more than once at best.

And that is such a shame because, when done properly, referral marketing can be one of the most powerful means of customer acquisition, delivering better customers at a fraction of the cost of any other marketing channel.

But this is changing

With just about any online marketing technology you can care to think of, whether email, affiliates or paid search, it only really took off and fulfilled its full potential when enterprise level technology platforms like Exact Target, Marin and Affiliate Window arrived on the scene. Referral Marketing is no different.

But now with enterprise level referral marketing technologies, like Buyapowa, you at last have a robust and secure means of incentivising and enabling all your customers to refer their friends and family. What is more, they can refer directly from their browser or mobile phones using email, instant messaging, SMS or social posts. And with advanced referral incentives like tiered rewards, gamification and communal rewards, you can get more of them to take part and get then to refer again and again.

Why this matters to you

Firstly, consider that Forrester Research reported that 70% of consumers trust recommendations from friends while only 10% of consumers trust advertising.

Then think that Buyapowa clients typically see more than 70% of referral emails sent by customers being opened, compared to typical industry open rates of 20%.

Add in that these emails get clicked 25% of the time compared to maybe 5% for other emails.

With this combination, not only are your referral messages more likely to be seen and read, because they come with a friend’s recommendation, they are much more likely to be acted upon.

Altogether that means referral emails will typically perform up to 54 times better than those you send directly.

Then add another fact that our clients tend to see a 25% higher lifetime value from referred customers than from other sources.

Perhaps now you can understand why leading telcos like EE and O2 are prioritising referral marketing!

If you want to know more, just drop us a line and let’s chat about how you can avoid being left behind in 2016.

Original Article 

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