Referral Marketing Beginner’s Guide

Referral Marketing Beginner's Guide - Power Marketing InternationalReferral marketing, or word-of-mouth marketing, excels at creating sales and conversions. Referral marketing is at work anytime someone makes a purchase at least partly based on someone else’s opinion of a product or service. It works because people trust the opinions of people they know and respect, even if they are skeptical of traditional advertisements.

Referral marketing is not limited to the opinions of friends and family, but also includes the opinions found in news publications, customer reviews, and product testimonials.

According to Richard Lazazzera, a content strategist at Shopify, referral marketing works for three reasons:

  1. Precision Targeting
  2. Trust Factor
  3. Reach and Acceleration

Let’s dig into these concepts.

Precision Targeting

Referral marketing is inherently targeted because people tend to know their social circles well, and are able to share products and services they know will be well received. They likely share many interests with people in their social circles, so if they like a product enough to mention it, it is likely it will be received well by their friends.

Trust Factor

A Neilson Trust Study showed referrals are by far the most trusted form of advertising. 84% of people said they trusted referrals from friends, 68% said they trusted consumer opinions posted online, and 67% said they trusted editorial content posted online. Compare that to only 48% that said they trusted search engine advertisements.

Reach and Acceleration

Social media has made referral marketing more powerful than ever. Not long ago the social reach of the average person was limited to the people they talked to in person or on the phone, but now people are only a Facebook post, Tweet, or Instagram pic away from instantly sharing their thoughts and opinions with hundreds or thousands of likeminded people.

How to Implement Referral Marketing

Now that we’ve looked at why referral marketing is effective, let’s move on to implementation.

Provide an Exceptional Experience

Depending on your business this may be customer service, or a buying experience, or even the user interface for your software or hardware. The most important thing for referral marketing is creating an exceptional experience that your user will want to share and talk about with other people.

Make Your Products or Service Shareable

If you are running an ecommerce store, this could mean focusing on creating packaging that provides a share-worthy experience.  (A cottage industry of “unboxing videos” has actually sprung up on YouTube over the last few years.) Apple excels at this. The process of unboxing any of their physical products is designed to be compelling and beautiful.

If you are running an event or conference, this could be encouraging users to tweet or post to Instagram with an official hashtag.

Implement a Referral Program

If you are running an online store, you can encourage users to share your products by setting up a referral program that rewards customers for sharing your products with their friends. Here are a few companies that have referral program systems you can tap into for your store:

Referral Candy
S Loyalty

Reviews and Testimonials

If you run an online store, make sure to implement a review feature on your product page. A few good reviews assure a potential customer that actual people have enjoyed your product. If you are not an online retailer, you can list testimonials from clients about their positive experiences with your company.

This is Just the Beginning

I hope this has given you a good foundation to get started with referral marketing. If you would like help with referral marketing, social media marketing, or web design, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.


This post is based on an article by Richard Lazazzera – Referral Marketing 101: 7 Tactics to Launch Your Own Referral Campaign


Social Media Marketing: Instagram Beginner Tips

Social Media Marketing - Instagram

With over 300 million active users, Instagram is a social media service that deserves the attention of any online business owner. It’s especially of interest for online marketers, as Instagram just announced that they would open their service to all advertisers, as well as start experimenting with a “Shop Now” button build right into the native Instagram app.

The simplest way to understand any social media service is to simply dig in and start using it. By spending time in the online community, you’ll naturally pick up on trends and themes. But new services can also be intimidating, so below are some beginner tips to help you on your way to building a large, engaged user base for your brand.

Post a Lot (At Least Once/Day, But Hopefully More)

Instagram is one of the only social media services that does not use an algorithm to cull the posts that are shared. That means every image you post is guaranteed to show up in the feeds of all your followers. Since there is no fall-off in engagement for posting more, as long as you can keep the quality of posts high, there is no reason not to post often.

Research has shown that the average Instagram account posts once per day, but that users with the most followers post 2-3 times per day.

Hashtags Are Powerful

Instagram allows users to include 30 hashtags per post, and a study by TrackMaven showed that including 11 hashtags per post resulted in the highest user engagement. This may seem like overkill, but Instagram users are apparently more resilient than Twitter users, who can easily be put-off by users who post with too many hashtags.

Follow + Like

One of the most effective ways of getting people to follow your brand is to follow people in your target demo and like their photos. You can search hashtags related to you brand to find likeminded users who are likely to be interested in your posts. Once you find them, follow their account and like a few of their pictures that resonate with your brand.  (This method from The Hacker’s Guide to User Acquisition saw a follow-back rate of 25%!)

Links Are Tricky

One peculiar feature of Instagram is that links included in photo descriptions and comments are not clickable. It’s not worth adding them there, as even if a user tries to click on it, nothing will happen. The mobile app doesn’t even let users highlight and copy the link to paste into a browser URL bar!

Since you are allowed to list a single URL in your profile, it has become common practice for users to frequently update the bio URL to match their latest picture and post “link in bio”. If you are running an ecommerce store, the recently announced “Shop Now” button will hopefully reduce some of the annoyance of this intended functionality soon.

Building a Social Media Strategy

These are just a few tips to help you get started. We would be happy to help you build an effective social media strategy that gives your business a competitive advantage. Contact us today for a free consultation.



This post is based on an article by asdf — 10 Tactics to Grow Followers and Engagement on Instagram

Web Marketing Tools and Tips: Grow Your Users on a Shoestring Budget

Having a small budget (or no budget at all!) doesn’t mean it’s impossible to grow an online user and customer base. Large enterprises can pour big money into traditional and digital marketing to grow their users, but that’s not possible for most small businesses and starting entrepreneurs.

Here are a few tools and tips for growing your users without breaking the bank.

Keyword Tool

Web Marketing Tools and Tips - Keyword Tool

Keyword Tool is a free alternative to Google Keyword Planner. You can use it to find out what your users are typing into the search box, giving you suggestions for creating the type of content your users are looking for.


SumoMe offers a suite of free and customizable widgets to help you grow your website’s traffic. They are easy to install and can help you with various tasks such as building your email list and displaying heat maps of your user’s actions.


AddThis offers easy-to-use sharing buttons, but they also have tools to help you target your onsite audience and recommend content.


Web Marketing Tools and Tips - IFTTT

Attending is the easiest way to set up a page to promote and set up RSVPs for your free event. Make an event page quickly that looks great.

Hello Bar

We mentioned Hello Bar in our post about building an email list. But more than just building an email list, you can use Hello Bar to direct visitors to and page on your website.

Referral Candy

Web Marketing Tools and Tips - Attending

Referral Candy is a low-cost, low-friction way to add a refer-a-friend program to your online store. You set up the reward structure you want, and they automate and track the referral process.


CloudSponge is an easy way to encourage users to refer your content to their friends. It allows them to connect to their contact lists so they don’t need to remember their friends’ email addresses.

Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck is fun-to-use presentation creation software available both for web and iPad.

Periscope + Meerkat

As we mentioned in our post about Live Streaming, you can use Periscope and Meerkat to broadcast live video instantly to your Twitter followers.


Web Marketing Tools and Tips - IFTTT

IFTTT is an incredibly powerful tool that you can use to automate many of your online tasks. IFTTT stands for “If This Then That”, and this is exactly what their service does. You can create an IF Recipe to do something like “If I post a picture to Instagram, save it to my DropBox,” or “If I leave my house, send me a reminder to turn wifi off on my phone.” There are many prebuilt recipes, and you can easily create your own.

This post is based on an article by Kristyna Zapletalova — 33 Powerful Tools to Get the Most Out of Your Users

Web Marketing Tips: Email List Building for Ecommerce

Let’s begin with a few facts about the power of email:

  • Email drives 7% of all ecommerce user acquisition, making it the 2nd best user acquisition channel.
  • It influences over 70% of mobile purchases.
  • Email generates $44.25 for every $1 invested!
  • Commercial emails are opened by 82% of the users that receive them.

Building an email list is a great strategy for developing a customer community that will continue to make purchases from your online store. This blog post will introduce 3 methods for building an email list that are simple enough to start today.

1. Incentivize with Discount Coupon Codes

According to one study, 71% of users prefer to use discount codes that are emailed to them. If a customer is already on a site, letting them know that they will get a discount code if they sign up for the newsletter can be just the right incentive to get them to do so.

Even if they don’t purchase something that day, you now have a direct connection to them to let them know about upcoming products, sales, and other initiatives from your business.

2. Integrate a “Bounce Bar”

Having a bar at the top of your page with a message like “Sign up for our newsletter!”, is a simple, non-obtrusive way to encourage users to join your mailing list.

Web Marketing Tips - Encourage Email Sign-ups with a Bounce Bar

There are a few services that offer this kind of functionality, including Bounce and HelloBar. Neil Patel actually talks about using HelloBar on his website, Quick Sprout. Neil was able to generate 11% of his leads simply through HelloBar.

If neither of the above services offer the exact kind of functionality your business needs, we can help you design a custom solution.

3. Carefully Integrate a Pop-Up

Pop-ups are a tricky subject. When done poorly, they are one of the most annoying things a customer can run into on the internet. When they are done well, however, they can generate an enormous amount of email list subscriptions.

They key to making sure your pop-ups are in the latter group is to make them personalized and targeted. One site that did just that saw an increase in sign-ups of 1,375% over an email signup form located in the sidebar.

Some pop-up best practices include it being:

  • activated once your user intends to exit (by tracking mouse movement or click placement)
  • positioned as an overlay
  • visually attractive
  • incentivized

We Can Help

If you are interested in building an email list to better communicate with your customers and drive traffic and sales, let us know!

This blog post is based on an article by Ivan Kreimer — How to Collect Emails for Your Ecommerce Store

Web Marketing Tip: Use Video in Your Online Store

YouTube Logo - Web Marketing Tips from Power Marketing International. Serving Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, and the surrounding areas. You probably know how important photography is for your online store. For starters, compelling and clear photographs show your customer exactly what they are buying, and can also communicate the lifestyle associated with your brand. It’s a given that you are going to put time and effort into photography when building your ecommerce presence, but have you considered the powerful impact video could have on your sales as well?

Why Use Video?

Product videos can be a great tool to increase conversions. Customers are actually 64% more likely to purchase a product from an online retailer after watching a video. After seeing this statitstic, I was reminded of how Apple recently added video previews for the apps on their App Store—they know effective this can be! And even though Amazon has been featuring product videos for years now, many online retailers haven’t caught on. This is one area where you may be able to gain an advantage over your competitors.

In addition to increased conversions, here are some other reasons you should consider adding product videos to your online store.

1. More and Better Search Engine Rankings

Search engines show a mix of sites, photos, videos, and more in their results. By adding video content to your site, you are giving yourself more chances to rank. Google also favors sites with video, so adding video could boost the ranking of your site as well.

2. It’s Easy to Share

Whether through email, social media, or text message; it’s extremely easy to share video.

3. Increase Customer Confidence

Customers want to be well-informed on the true nature of a product before purchasing. Video can quickly and accurately convey information about your product. Boost consumer confidence beyond what is possible with merely images.

Some Product Video Examples

Let’s take a look at some product video implementations. Our first example is from Bellroy, a company that specializes in wallets. Bellroy uses their product videos to show the customer how much each wallet can hold. These are really fun and creative, and are what I would consider to be on the high end of what a product video can be.

If the above video is beyond your budget or skill set, don’t worry! Depending on your business, you may not need anything flashy or high budget. Bellroy is trying to sell you not only on their wallet, but on the lifestyle they want you to associate with it. Showcasing a product video that is direct and informative can work just as well.

The above video is a great example of a lower budget product video that is still informative and clear. It walks the customer through a feature set, shows off the product from various angles, and is approachable and thorough.

Even the above video may be more than you need for you business. If the above videos seem too daunting, how about a 6 second video?

You can even use the camera on your phone to take a quick video of your product, upload it to your business’s Instagram or Vine account, and then embed it on the product page as well! One benefit of this method is that it is by far the easiest for fans of the product to share.

Get Started

Above we looked at three different approaches for implementing product videos in your online store. Whether you want to make something polished and fancy, or something quick and approachable, the most important step is to get started. If you would like help putting together a strategy for product videos in your online store, we are always happy to help.

This post is based on an article by Richard Lazazzera — How to Use Video to Increase Conversions and Sales in Your Ecommerce Business