Grow sales by 20%+ with a customer referral program ft. Raul Galera (Inbound Success, Ep. 209)

How do top e-commerce companies leverage customer referrals to increase sales by 20% or more?

raul-backgroundThis week on the Inbound Success podcast, ReferralCandy Chief Advocate Raul Galera breaks down the best practices behind top performing customer referral programs.

From when to launch a program, to how to ask for referrals, and how to reward customers who make them, Raul gets into the details that you'll need to design, build, launch and execute your own successful referral program. And he includes specific examples of companies that are doing it right now.

Check out the full episode to get the details. (Transcript has been edited for clarity.)

Resources from this episode:

 

Raul Galera and Kathleen Booth
Raul and Kathleen recording this episode.

Transcript

Kathleen (00:00): Welcome back to the inbound success podcast. I am your host, Kathleen Booth. And this week, my guest is Raul Galera who is the chief advocate for ReferralCandy. Welcome to the podcast Raul.

Raul (00:27): Thanks for having me.

Kathleen (00:28): Yeah, this is a great topic. Selfishly, I'm working on developing a customer referral program right now for my business. And so I am excited to pick your brain and I'm sure there are others listening as well, who want to learn about this before we dig into it. Can you talk a little bit about yourself and your story and how you came to be doing what you're doing now with ReferralCandy and then also what ReferralCandy is?

Raul (00:51): Yeah, absolutely. So actually the reason why I found ReferallCandy, it's kind of related to, to remote work which is a pretty kind of hot topic these days. So just to give you like the short version. So after I finished college, I started working remotely for a consulting firm from Spain, that consulting firm was based in, in Poland, which is where I had studied abroad a few years before that. And after working remotely for a few years, I wanted to work from an office and I also wanted to, to move abroad. So I moved from Spain to Chile and I worked for a startup company in, in San Diego for a couple of years. And then after that, I, I made a couple of decisions. The first one was that I wanted to work for a software company.

Raul (01:37): I wanted to sell software. It was something I wanted to learn about. And I also wanted to work remotely again. So after my, my office experience, I had decided that yeah, remote work was a better, better fit for me. And it's like I was looking for a remote sales jobs and, and I, I came across ReferralCandy on Angel List. I think it was they had a kind of like a remote friendly sales position. And so instead of applying directly through Angel List, I decided to email the CEO directly and tell him why I thought it was a, I was a good fit for, for the company. And he replied to the email, we had a couple of interviews and I guess the rest is history.

Kathleen (02:18): I love that story. I love that you reached out directly to him. I just think so few people do that. Everybody is kind of used to like hitting the submit button on LinkedIn or whatever. And it definitely makes a difference too, to go that extra mile. And I feel like the rest of the world is now starting to catch up with you with these remote positions. I, I also have worked remotely for some time and love it. But that's been interesting to me to see what COVID has done in terms of the perceptions of workplaces and, and, and people who run companies and, and their appetite for allowing remote work. It seems like it's really grown, which is I think a very good thing.

Raul (02:54): Yeah. I mean, I remember a few years ago I had to I mean, I've felt kind of weird explaining that I was working from my living room or my home office instead of from an office. And I would always get these like, weird looks about it, but where, where were you based? And where's the company based and, you know, like you're working from an office, you know, that's yeah, I'm kind of happy that that's how it could have more natural these days and worlds.

Kathleen (03:16): Yeah. There was a time when you had to hide the fact that you were at home and I would be really embarrassed if my dogs barked, which you might hear my dogs bark in this interview because I am still at home and I have two dogs and they bark, but no, it is, it is a good thing for all of us. So, so talk a little bit about ReferralCandy. What is, what, what is that?

Raul (03:35): ReferralCandy is an app that allows e-commerce brands to set up and run customer referral programs. So we, as a company we started working in, in 2010. I joined the company in 2016 and from, from day one with I mean, we've, we've pretty much grown alongside the e-commerce world. We were one of the first referral marketing partners for, for Shopify. And so we kind of like experienced growth as a company alongside all these like big, you know e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Big Commerce, WooCommerce, Magento, et cetera. And so basically what we do is that we allow brands to run these referral programs on autopilot in the way that we do this is by inviting customers to automatically join the, the referral program, the referral program, by giving them a unique referral link.

Raul (04:25): They can share these referral links with their friends on social media, on texts or whatever it is. The friend clicks on the link. And then from that moment on whenever they finish the purchase we're able to track the whole referral process from the moment that they clicked on the link until they completed the purchase. And we send the rewards to the customer that made the recommendation in the first place. So it's all so automated whether it's a coupon payout or, or an actual cash payout, we automate the reward process on our end. So the merchants don't really have to worry about that.

Kathleen (04:58): So customer referral programs, let's talk about this because I do feel like, you know, you guys are doing it particularly for e-commerce, it sounds like, but I would imagine that there are certain fundamental elements of customer full programs that apply to all companies. And so I guess I feel like everybody out there knows that customer referrals are a great way to get new business. Right? You have your, your happiest customers kind of talking about you, almost selling, selling for you, but I think the stumbling block that everybody runs into is how to ask for the referral. And, and so maybe you could address that, like who to ask and how to ask and when to ask

Raul (05:41): Those are all really good questions. I would say so, and I honestly, I have different answers or like I have different sets of answers for each one of them based on what I've seen. I don't think there's like one particular like rule of thumb that works for all businesses. They're all pretty different and the way their customers interact with, with these brands kind like make those interactions a little bit different in terms of when to ask and how to ask the, the main thing that in terms of how to ask I would say that there's, there's two main strategies on this. One of them is to kind of put the emphasis on what you as a customer are are going to get for every friend that you, that you were first.

Raul (06:30): So kind of like putting the emphasis on, you know, refer a friend and you will get $10 in cash or refer a friend and you will get a $10 coupon on your next purchase. On the the other side, it's to put more emphasis on what you can give to your friends. So we've seen referral programs that have worked really well because they've been able to kind of tell customers, look, you're going to look really good in front of your friends, because they're going to be able to give them this really special coupon or this really special offer and both of them work. So it, I guess it really depends on, on maybe how word of mouth friendly your product is in the sense that if you're selling something, that's, that's going to spark a conversation. And you know, that your customers are naturally going to talk about your products, just, just because of the nature of it.

Raul (07:19): Then you can put more emphasis on the friend reward because you know, that your customers are just naturally going to recommend you to their friends and family. But again both of them, both of them work, and I've seen both of them work in, in, in, in in, in different companies, in different industries. Now in terms of when to ask there's two main theories here. So the, the, the two of them are either ask your customers once you have their attention. So that could be like right after a purchase. So, you know, while, while the purchase still fresh, and they're still thinking about your brand because they just bought something from you it's going feel natural to get an email from the brand asking you to join the referral program. Cause you just became, you just became a customer.

Raul (08:02): The other theory is to ask customers to join the referral program after they have received the product. So wait a few days, let him get your product and use it and then hit them with email that asks for a referral. Once again, both of them work, I've seen both of those strategies work, and I guess also depends on the nature of the, of the business. And then in terms of how to ask one particular, how, excuse me, one particular way of asking that I like it's one brands when brands are transparent in terms of why they're asking for a referral. There's one particular example that I, I always like to share. Whenever I get questions about how to ask for, for referrals since it's, it's a company that's called Baronfig and they actually, so they have a page on their website about the referral program.

Raul (08:58): And one of the things that they say in, in this, they have to have kind of like a note from the team explaining why they have a referral program. And the reason that they give is that they want to they're rather spend money on their customers that on Facebook advertising or online advertising, like, you know, we, we, we know you love our product so much that we would just rather give the money to you instead of giving it to all these big corporations. You don't have to follow that particular example. You don't have to you know, like you make it either or, but showing your customers that, the fact that they're going to go out and spread the word about your brand, it's actually going to matter to you and it's going to matter to your business. I think that's really smart. And if you, and again, if you're, if you have honest marketing and your customers know that, that you care about them and you care about the products you're developing that way of kind of asking for other, for the referrals, it's going to come out very naturally.

Kathleen (09:52): I love that example about the Facebook ads, because it's true. Like if you're spending a ton of money on Facebook ads, would you rather give the money to Facebook or would you rather give it to your customers? I know what my answer would be. What do you say to people who push back and say, well, we shouldn't have to pay our customers to refer us. I don't know. I've definitely heard people express opinions indicating that they feel like the transactional nature of that somehow cheapens the referral. Do you have any response to that?

Raul (10:24): Yeah, I mean, I can, I can totally see that. And, and it's all, it's not really about it doesn't have to be a monetary transaction. You can there's, I mean, you can get creative and, and offered things that are going to their customers. Aren't going to appreciate without again, I can see that offering a coupon or offering cash can, you know, raise some eyebrows for some brands and say, Hey, maybe this is going to, to affect the way that we're positioning our brand. We we've seen that with a more kind of like luxury items or brands are they're in that type of business that there sometimes are a little you know, they kind of question the whole, the whole thing, but the reality is that at the end of the day, their customers are going to refer their friends and family anyway.

Raul (11:08): And so, you know, why not, first of all tracking it. And then second, like if you can add something on top of that too, to do have them continue doing so then, you know, it's going to be a win-win for everybody. So, but again, it doesn't have to be doesn't have to be, I'm going to try to turn a section and you can offer a free product. You can offer some like free accessory or you can even like offer them a spot on a new release. If you're going to release a product in the next few months, and you want to have a closer to, to kind of like a VIP group, you can offer that instead. And again, also for, for the customer, if you don't want to offer a coupon, you can, you can offer an additional product or something that's not available.

Raul (11:50): To, to, like I said to, to most people, you can maybe some sort of like a hidden product that's added to your cart if you make a purchase referred by, by an existing customer. So it's all, it's all a matter of making it a little bit special. And also you know, if, if your, if your customers your customers are going to be happy that they're sharing something, that's going to be useful for their friends anyway, which is it's honestly, the bottom line of, of referral programs is that referral programs at the end of the day, what they do is that they incentivize something that's already happened or happening organically, which is word of mouth. So if you can incentivize that even more than your customers are going have be able to add that little pitch at the end, after they sh they shunned the product, and they explained their friends and family, why the product is so good, they're going to be like, and by the way, if you buy using this link that you get a little, a little something, or we both get a little something.

Raul (12:42): So,

Kathleen (12:43): So when it comes to offering a coupon or a gift card, or some sort of monetary compensation, do you have any data that, that would point to how much that should be? Because I feel like, I feel like there has to be a sweet spot, right? Like too low, and it's not going to motivate the desired behavior too high, and it's going to be very expensive. And I don't know B it might just seem egregious, but yeah. What, what's your take on that? I mean,

Raul (13:12): It really depends on the company and kind of like what they can offer just from looking at a, from a financial perspective, like, what are their margins and what are they able to offer? What I would do, what I would suggest is to make sure that it's kind of a unique offer. We have customers that are offering, let's say 10% to, to their, to their customers and their friends for every referral. But at the same time, that's what they're offering to anybody that signs up for the newsletter. So, you know what, when you, when you put it on the same level and you make it a referral, it takes a lot more effort than signing up for a newsletter. And so if you're given that incentive it might not seem too attractive to customers because they can get that discount.

Raul (13:53): And by, by doing something else, that's honestly a lot, a lot easier to do. So what I would do is it's to yeah, like offer something, offer something that you're not already offering hopefully something a lot higher, make sure that it's also not clashing with other type of promotions that you might have in we, we noticed we had a, a client that we would notice that every weekend, their referral sales would go, we'll go down. And we couldn't really figure it out. Why, because the rest of the week, Monday through Friday, you would see kind of like normal sales and then they will drop in during the weekend, which w which was the opposite of what their customers were doing. Their customers were buying more from them over that weekend. W what was happening is that every weekend they had kinda like a a store sale with the same discount had a referral program.

Raul (14:40): And so people were, were just rather use that coupon code and then offer them that using the one that they that we're getting from, from making referrals. So, you know, those little things, like, just making sure that you have kind of like a clear picture of what your, your coupon situation is, and then makes something a little bit more special at the end of the day, making a referral for the customer. It's not, it's not something that's going to happen automatically, just because they're sharing it on their social media, or just because they're sharing the referral link on a, on a, on a group chat doesn't mean that they're, their friends are going to make a purchase right away. So you need to reward them for that.

Kathleen (15:13): That makes sense. So make your referral discount higher than the other discounts you're advertising. Can you talk a little bit about tracking, because you've mentioned a few things that point to that, and I imagine that's key to all of this, because if you're gonna, if you're going to offer these rewards, you have to be able to track whether the action happened and attributed back to the right person and then distribute that reward. So how, how, what's the best practice for handling that? Well,

Raul (15:38): I mean, it's out of ReferralCandy. We do it automatically. So depending on the platform, we have several different ways that we can identify who was the friend and who made the referral. For some platforms we use coupon codes that are specific for, for advocates. And so if we see a transaction with a specific coupon code, we're able to say, okay, this was the advocate, and this is the person that needs to get rewarded for other platforms. We rely more on the referral link and, and kind of like, you know, kind of like the, the, the tracking after they click on it we're able to basically to cookie the friend and then see what's, you know, what's the referral looking like. But what, what I was mentioning earlier about being able to track referrals it's more about kind of like the, the, the, the moment in which brands tend to decide that they need a referral program.

Raul (16:27): They know that they start to getting these early signs that they're getting referrals either because you know, a customer, my, my, mention it to a customer support rep or, or, you know, you might like see referrals happening on social media, just from people that have bought the product, and they're just sharing it or somebody unboxing your product on YouTube. And then maybe people asking them what they can get it, all that kind of stuff. So, like, those aren't kinda like early signs, but unless you have a referral program software on your store it's pretty difficult to, to, to track who are the customers that are, that are coming to you from referrals versus any other channel, because those, all of those referrals are happening organically in a way. And it's, it's kind of more like a, just like a natural conversation so that they might hear from, again, from a friend or my, my look at a video on YouTube, and then just go to the website and make the purchase. And you'll never be able to attribute that purchase to kind of like a referral source. So yeah, so instead of ReferralCandy, we were able to track that with with the referral links and coupon codes. But, but yeah, I mean, th those are kind of like the early signs that brands typically look at in order to decide that, okay, it's time to have something formal in place so we can see where this is going.

Kathleen (17:44): So what are the top three mistakes that you see companies make with referral programs?

Raul (17:52): So I would say that the main mistakes are either going to early so referral programs I mean, it's, it's a, it's an easy way for brands to retain existing customers and acquire new ones. So it's basically, you're turning your customer base into, into your marketing team. But it's a numbers game. And the, the number of advocates that you're going to have in your referral program depends a lot on, on your total number of customers. So how many new orders are you having per day or per week or per month? And then those are, the customers are eventually going to get added to the program. They're going to get the referral link, and then they're going to go out and refer. So it's a, it's a numbers game, really. So you need to have a good number of customers in the referral program in order to be able to see results in the short term.

Raul (18:38): So whenever we have a brand joining joining ReferralCandy and launching a referral program if it's a brand that has, let's say like 10 or 20,000 orders per month, they take off immediately. Because they're, they're getting you know, almost thousands of orders every day. So those are thousands of customers that are being added to the referral program right away. Now, if you're a brand that it's, it's making, let's say a hundred, 200 orders per month, and it's going to take a lot longer. And so it's, it's not that it's a mistake joining the referral program, but what is the mistake in my opinion, is to expect results in, in the short term. And I'll be number one. Another mistake that I typically see is not, not promoting it enough. So like I said, you depend on your customers to perform an action.

Raul (19:23): So you need to remind people about the, the, the existing of the referral program, because there's a lot of things that are happening in our daily lives. And, and, and if we're a, if we're not, if brands are not staying top of mind, then it's difficult for customers to think about it and kinda like generate those referrals. So promotion is key. And then the third mistake, probably the most important one. This is an actual mistake, in my opinion it's not, not being ready or not having a company that's ready for our referral program in the sense that either your products it's not good enough yet, or your customers are not loving your product yet, or maybe your kind of like purchase process, it's, it's complicated and messy, and your customers are not kind of enjoying the whole process. And then or maybe you don't have a customer support team in place.

Raul (20:18): That's like, you know, practically solving problems and your customers are not, not happy overall. So if your customers are not happy and referral program is not gonna be able to solve that. And that's something that I actually see quite often but you know, it, it, at least it's it's kinda like a, it's a way of figuring out if there's something that's wrong with, with the company or with the product. And then, you know, you can think of the company and kind of focus on fixing that. And then I mean, if our referral program is not working, honestly, any other marketing action that you might develop, it's not going to work either if your product is not, it's not

Kathleen (20:53): There. Yeah. That's so true. There's no substitute for a poor product. And you can't market your way out of that either. Exactly. so I'd love for you to give some examples, because I feel like in principle, this sounds like a no brainer if you have a good product and if you're ready for it. So can you maybe talk about the impact that it can have on companies? Like, do you have any real-world examples of companies that implemented a referral program and what that did to the business?

Raul (21:24): Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, I brought a few examples of companies in kind of different industries so we can, we can kind of go over it together, but I would say that that one thing that they all have in common is that they obviously have a great product, that their customers are, are loving. They, by the time they launch a referral program, they, they realized that they were already getting kind of organic referrals. And that's what it was just kind of implementing something on top of that, that it was going to be able to streamline the whole referral process. So one of my favorite examples it's a company called Branch Basics. They are based in the US and they are offering a subscription business for cleaning products, which, you know, it's not, you know, initially it's not like, you know, a very attractive product.

Raul (22:11): They're, they're in a very competitive industry. And so it's something that sometimes we just buy kind of automatically you put it on your shopping list and you go to the store and you get it. But that kind of like the twist they, they being able to add to the product that made it so attractive for customers is that they, they realize that most of the ingredients that you buy when you buy cleaning products are plastic and water, so you're, you're buying a container and then you buy a product that's mostly made of water. And so what they, what they've done is that they, they, when you, when you subscribed to brunch basics, they send you a box with different spray bottles and, and, and basically the containers for your cleaning supplies. And then they send you a subscription of different concentrates that you can use to, you know, buy to clean different parts of your house. And all you need to do is just put that the, the, those concentrates inside of the bottles and fill them with water and you're ready to go.

Kathleen (23:06): By the way, I agree. Totally genius. That makes all the sense in the world, especially in terms of lowering shipping costs.

Raul (23:13): Exactly. And, and it's and yeah, it's something that when you think about it, you're like, wait a minute, that's true. I'm just, I'm buying water and plastic.

Kathleen (23:20): Yeah. Yeah. And I'm paying to have it shipped to me. Exactly, exactly.

Raul (23:24): So they, they, they were able to add a twist to this, like, you know, highly traditional industry. But at the same time they had an issue at the beginning, which is how do we break through the noise? I mean, there's, there's like cleaning supply companies are so big and they, they, they take over pretty much any marketing channel available to us that we need to find something else. And so they they realized that their customers were their best advocates, because they were really excited about telling their friends and family about the, the, the, the cleaning products that we're buying. So just to kind of give you some numbers. So right now pretty much since they launched the referral program they saw an increase in by 10% in their, in their total sales and that 10% came from the referral program.

Raul (24:08): And, and ever since they've been able to get like one in every 10 purchases coming from the referral program, which if you, if you look at it from the financial perspective and how much it costs to acquire a customer through a referral compared to any other, you know acquisition method, like, you know, like Facebook ads or Google ads, it's a lot cheaper. And, and also customers aren't coming from a referral tend to stick around longer and spend more. So in the long run, it's, it's made a really big impact on the bottom line of their business, which is their, their revenue. Other examples that I particularly like because it's it's, it's brands that have being able to target a specific communities of customers. So there's, we have a couple of companies that are selling products for, for either babies or toddlers.

Raul (25:01): And obviously the customer here is not the baby and the toddler. It's mothers. And so they're being able to target communities of mothers that, that we're going to be able to buy the products. And then, then we're going to talk about it to, to all their moms. And so in particular we have two companies, one called Momomee and the other one called Riff Raff. And they, they, they pretty much being able to see the same type of results pretty much from the beginning, they were able to increase their sales by 20 and 24% using referral marketing, which is a lot, I mean, it's one of the highest referral rates that I've seen in, in among our customers. And there were, they were able to do so because they, they were targeting a highly engaged community of people that were constantly looking for the best products.

Raul (25:45): And so if you see if you're part of a, of a mother's community and you see a mom being super excited about it, but one particular product, it's very likely they're going to buy it, even if you don't personally know about that person. But, but just the fact that you're both in kinda like the same stage of, of life, it kinda like makes you agree. And, and those referrals typically happen very, very naturally. So those are two that particularly like, because of the, kind of like the, the, that the way that they being able to, to target these communities. And then I mean, and then I would say that those are kind of like the 20, 24% referral rates I mean, are achievable because we have several customers that are, that are being able to get those to get to those percentages.

Raul (26:32): But then, you know, you see customers having anywhere between five and 15% referral rates that are, you know, kind of all over the board in terms of companies that are they're operating in the, in the clothing or apparel industry companies are selling gadgets or, or sporting sporting goods. And they all have a kind of different ways that they've been able to target themselves sorry, market themselves to their customers and their referral programs. But I would say that products that are, are word of mouth friendly are those that are either truly revolutionary in the sense that it's nothing that you've seen before, or their products from a traditional industry with the twist, kind of like the example of Branch Basics. They, they, they're not in a very traditional industry, but they being able to add something that you know, all of a sudden it makes it look like a, like a no-brainer. But if we look at the, kind of like the traditional or the kinda like the most famous classic referral programs, Dropbox, Uber PayPal, those were truly new products. And so when you were talking to your friends and family about those products, you were, you were sharing something that was brand new, something that anybody had never heard of before. So that's, that's what makes, in my opinion company's word of mouth friendly when, when the person that's talking about your brands, truly excited about what, what they're about, what they're saying.

Kathleen (27:58): So that makes all the sense in the world. And, and I think that that also makes it easier to onboard people into the customer referral program if they're excited. But I guess the other thing that I wonder about is activation because like, with anything, it's one thing to get the person to join the program, and it's another to then get them actually spreading the word and doing it consistently. So do you have any best practices or examples you've seen of companies that have done a really good job with activation?

Raul (28:27): Yeah, so I would say that the most the most common examples of this are companies that are, that have a pretty consistent promotion schedule for the referral program. And so they are either reminding customers, let's say sending me an email every couple of weeks to their customers to remind them about the program, they're sharing it on social media or even like giving incentives that they get people excited about sharing. One particular example that I, that I really like talking about it's a company called Thread Beast and they are subscription box for just apparel basically. And so whenever you buy a box, you get maybe like a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and a hat and a belt, and maybe a pair of shoes as well. And the way that they've marketed the referral program is that instead of giving so it's, this it's a subscription, right?

Raul (29:18): So instead of giving a coupon code on your future subscription or in your feature invoice what you get is every time you refer a friend, you get an additional box. So if you refer three friends, you're going to get your box plus three other boxes, full of clothes. And then your friend, the friends, I think they get like, like like 50% off or something like that. So it's pretty easy for the friends to to get started as well. And so when you are basically not capping the type of the, the, the type of rewards that they can earn it gets people really excited about sharing the referral link. So and actually, if you go on YouTube and you search for Thread Beasts, you're going to see tons of videos, a lot of them from, for the past few days, because people just keep renewing their videos unboxing, what they got from, from Thread Beast then.

Raul (30:07): So they, they do like a, maybe 10 minute video explaining all the different products they've, they've gone. And then they also shared the referral link and to tell people how to get started on Thread Beast as well. So those type of rewards in which you're not necessarily capping it that works really well. Also companies that offer cash instead of coupon codes. So if you're, if you're selling a product that, you know, your customers are not going to buy from you anytime soon, and I always give the same example mattresses.

Kathleen (30:34): Oh yeah. That's so true.

Raul (30:36): If you're selling mattresses. I mean, that, that's kinda like the iconic example of a product that you're not going to buy a, you buy once, and then you're not going to buy it anytime soon. So if you're, if you run a referral program, and you're a mattress company, you can either maybe offer up, offer free product, which might be some sort of accessory that you can use under your bed.

Kathleen (30:54): Or something. Yeah, exactly.

Raul (30:55): Or you can offer cash and people are going to be happy to share and get cash because, you know, nobody's going to say no to that. So again, promotion and then being a little creative with the rewards typically helps with activation. And then something that we've also seen with with customers is that they they they're being able to add a little bit of a gamification to the process. So Riff Raff, the example that I was mentioning before they, they offer, they have like, kinda like a limited set of products. I think they only have like five or six items that they sell, but you can collect them in a way. And so instead of giving cash or giving a coupon to their customers, to give them a free product, every time they refer, I think it's five friends. And so if you end up referring, you know, 15, 20, 25 friends, you might end up getting all the different items of the collection. So you can, you can kind of collect all these, all these different products. So yeah, it's like I said, I mean, they're all I can't really give like one particular you know strategy that would work for all businesses, but it's all about getting a little bit creative and also knowing what truly get your customers excited.

Kathleen (32:05): Yeah. And I think hearing some of those examples is helpful, cause it's just stipulates that the ideation, all right, we're going to switch gears because we're coming towards the end of our time. And I want to make sure I have time to ask the two questions that I always ask. First one being you know, the, the world of inbound marketing and digital in particular is changing really, really quickly. Some of it fueled by technology, some fuel by regulatory things around privacy. You know, there's just so much platform changes. There's so much happening. How do you personally stay educated and on top of all that, are there certain sources of information that you really rely on?

Raul (32:44): Yeah, so I so I don't have like one particular news outlet that I follow for, you know, for anything related to marketing or e-commerce but instead I rely on community. So I'm part of several Slack communities. And from, you know, people that have worked in, in either in, in, in direct to consumer or people that work in, in e-commerce technology. And they, I tend to rely on those communities to get information that's going to be relevant. I think that when not necessarily a cause I used to be really active on Twitter. And I used to get a lot of my news from Twitter, but, you know, Twitter is just a little bit out of hand. I mean, I got out of hand in, in my opinion. And so I decided to kinda focus on kind of like smaller communities, more niche communities, and, and that, I think the quality you might not get as many articles to check every day, but the quality in my opinion has improved a lot. And there is. And then there's also an interesting conversation whenever somebody shares something, if it's, if it's truly interesting, there's going to be people that are going to like, you know, go back and forth about it. And that's also, my opinion is super valuable because allows me to learn from people that I've, you know, they're like, that are really way smarter than me. And and that that's always good.

Kathleen (34:00): Any particular Slack communities that you really love?

Raul (34:02): Yeah. So I'm my favorite one it's called Partner League. And it's a community for Shopify partners. It's, it's not run by Shopify it's, it's kind of like a, it was organized by by several Shopify partners. It's, it's a little bit independent and I think that's what makes it interesting, in my opinion, there's like really, really interesting conversations that happened there. And then also whenever somebody shares anything, anything that affects the industry, there are some really interesting conversations about this. So, so yeah, Partner League, if you're in Shopify I totally recommend

Kathleen (34:33): It. I am in that one as well, and I think it's good. So now we know we can Slack each other. Great. And then the second question is, of course, this podcast is all about inbound marketing. Are there particular companies or individuals that you think are really setting a great standard for what it means to be a really good inbound marketer these days?

Raul (34:57): Yeah. So whenever I look for, for example, so people, companies doing good marketing, I like to look at my inbox. I, I unsubscribe whenever I make a purchase, I end up subscribing from like, I don't know, 75, 80% of the brands that I, that I buy from. Cause I, you know, I ended up just not enjoying the content they send me, but those that remain in my inbox type. Those are the ones that I particularly like, and there's one company that's called Back Market. They sell a refurbished products so, you know refurbish technology. So, you know, iPhones, some computers you know, whatever, actually my, my last two iPhones are from, from them. So I a I'm a really good really with customer of them, but I like the way to do marketing because, well, first of all, they've been able to educate people on you know, kinda like all the electronic waste that we're producing.

Raul (35:49): And that they've been able to kind of like remove the, the, the stigma that most, a lot of people had on, on buying refurbished products for products that are not brand new. And so I think they've done a really good job educating what refurbish means and what's the impact that you can make for, for the environment. And then also I like the tone. So they I mean, I get, so I'm based in Spain, so I get their content from their Spanish site, but I don't know if the US site will be a little bit different, but they're pretty funny. They use humor a lot in the way that they that they interact with with customers. And I think that's key to be honest, like whenever, whenever I see their emails, even if I'm clearly not going to buy another iPhone in the next year or two, but I still look at their emails and I read every single one of them, because I think they're really smart. And that any time that I don't have a referral program, by the way. So from here, if anybody from Back Market is listening to me, we should, we should talk. But anytime that I hear somebody that wants to buy some sort of electronic site typically think of them because of how exposed I am.

Kathleen (36:50): Well now I definitely want to go and subscribe to their emails because I love collecting just emails that are, that are well-written. And I love email, and I love corporate marketing. That's done with humor. So a hard thing to pull off and to do it like to hit the right tone. And then right note, like it can go wrong pretty easily, but for the companies that pull it off, it's incredibly powerful.

Raul (37:12): One thing that they do that I think helps a lot, and that's something that pretty much every single brand can, can copy is that they these emails are not sent from black market. It's sent from somebody inside of Back Market. So you get it, you get a first name and in the email. So you can always kind of like, think about who's the person that's writing, the, the email that you're reading. And so it feels a lot more personal rather than getting an email from kind of like a faceless corporation. And so, and that's actually something I copied myself. So I have a newsletter for, for my agency partners had ReferralCandy that I write myself, but I also make sure that it's not sent from ReferralCandy's sending from, from my name. I think it, I think it helps to, to get your message across and, and we tend to put a voice on what we're reading. So if I can get people to read it with my voice, that's even better.

Kathleen (38:03): Totally agree. And I do the same thing, my newsletters and all my emails, excuse me, come from people who nobody forms a, an emotional relationship with contact at or info at. It just doesn't happen. So I totally agree. All right. Well, we have reached the top of our time. So if somebody is interested in learning more about ReferralCandy, or just wants to connect with you and has a question what's the best way for them to to connect with you online?

Raul (38:32): So ReferralCandy.com for anything related to ReferralCandy, and then they can just email me directly. So my email is raulg@referralcandy.com. So raulg@referralcandy.com and I'm always happy to continue the conversation there.

Kathleen (38:48): Great. And I'll put that link in the show notes. So head there, if you want to get in touch with Raul and if you're listening and you enjoyed this episode, consider heading to apple podcasts and leaving the podcast a review. That's how other people find us. And we would very much appreciate it. And in the meantime, if you know another marketer who's doing amazing inbound marketing work, tweet me at @workmommywork, because I would love to make them my next guest. That's it for this week. Thank you so much for joining me Raul.

Raul (39:18): Thank you so much.

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