This post is the second in a series aimed at describing the emails that power best-of-breed referral programs. In the first article in the series, I mentioned triggered emails as one of the newer ways email marketing is evolving. When done well, this approach to email – communicating with people when they exhibit specific behaviors – enhances the customer experience dramatically. Why?
Because the information in an email that is tailored to what the customer is doing at a specific moment – purchasing, browsing, sharing, searching, reviewing – helps rather than interrupts. The same is true with refer-a-friend programs. The next email we consider essential in any refer-a-friend setup is the thank you email triggered by an advocate’s first share. Let’s take a look.
Part 2: The Advocate Thank You Email
From: your brand
To: your new advocate
When: triggered by an advocate’s first share
Purpose: to thank your new advocate for recommending your brand to her friends and to create an easy-to-find way for her to share again
Triggered when an advocate shares for the first time, the Advocate Thank You Email shows your new champion your appreciation. She’s done something great for you and you should thank her. It’s a small gesture that also serves a couple of other purposes. A good thank you email promotes more sharing because it features a strong “share more” call-to-action. Even if an advocate doesn’t use it immediately, she’ll know she has this thank you email to return to later.
Let’s look at the design of this email. The share email, which we discussed last week is a personal recommendation from an advocate to a friend. It’s most authentic and effective when it’s lightly branded. The Advocate Thank You email, on the other hand, is from your brand. Therefore, it’s appropriate for it to have richer brand imagery and tone.
Fuller branding is consistent with another aim of your referral efforts in general: make refer-a-friend feel like it’s not a program at all. Instead, refer-a-friend should merge seamlessly with your customer’s overall experience. So, the sender of emails from your brand to advocates should not come from your referral program. Instead, thank you emails should have the same sender as any brand email.
The Advocate Thank You Email shows your new champion your appreciation.
Similarly, our recommendation for the subject line is to avoid “welcome to the program” messaging. Instead, celebrate the first share, message it as an accomplishment, and generate excitement that encourages more sharing. If your brand favors emojis in your subject lines, don’t hesitate to use them here too.
The body of the email should focus on generating excitement and warm feelings. With that kind of energy and with a reminder about the rewards your advocates and their friends can earn, this email will encourage more sharing.
Finally, here are a couple of more ideas that prompt more referrals thanks to this powerful email.
- If your referral program uses personalized codes, prominently display the advocate’s code in the email.
- Also depending on your program’s capabilities, provide a way for your advocate to check on progress of referrals by linking back to her onsite advocate stats dashboard. Often, this kind of dashboard also will allow her to use email to remind friends who haven’t purchased yet that the offer is still waiting.
Remember, this is really your first response to your new advocate. You want to put your best foot forward and iron out the branding, messaging, feel-good, and offer details! Even with good old fashion snail mail thank you’s we see value personally, and the email channel allows for that at a much more immediate response rate. This is the next step in email referral marketing at growing your advocate army.