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Giving Customers Incentive to Market Your Products For You on Social Networks


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September 27, 2011

Giving Customers Incentive to Market Your Products For You on Social Networks

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

Remember the days when you had no influence over – or even knowledge about – “word of mouth” marketing? Remember when you couldn’t encourage it, track it or reward customers for it? While social networking may have changed that – to some degree – it may take a software solution to help you the rest of the way.

A company called Referzo recently released what it’s calling a “Web-based referral tracking and payment” solution after the software debuted at the Internet Retailer Conference & Expo back in June. The solution, which is platform-agnostic, was created to redefine “word-of-mouth” advertising by allowing individuals to recommend products and services using social network platforms such as Facebook (News - Alert) or Twitter, e-mail and most other forms of electronic communication. What’s unique? Loyal customers then receive referral fees for any resulting transactions.

Referzo’s founder, Internet retailer Adam Swiecki, created the product after seeking a better way to generate referrals directly from customers visiting his retail Web sites...and finding none. He and his development team sought to create a system that takes advantage of the widespread use of social networking and its benefits to marketing and customer contact, rewarding “social behaviors.”

Web-based retailer Minimus, which sells travel-sized products, was a test-market user of the Referzo product and has positive things to say about it.

“We found this to be the most affordable and easy-to-use pay-for-referral option available,” said Paul Shrater, co-founder of Minimus. “This is the first time our customers have been able to monetize their own social networks by recommending our products and receive a percentage of resulting sales. Referzo makes it easy for customers to sign up and alert their friends about us. We’re able to reward our brand evangelists and gain valuable user insight and statistics to guide our marketing strategy.”

Swiecki says it’s a better way to turn your customers into willing promoters of products and services. Retailers using Referzo can put a button on their Web pages, customer e-mails or anywhere else that tells customers, “We pay cash for referrals.” (How many people could resist clicking on that?)

Shoppers clicking the button are then encouraged to sign in to one of a wide variety of online accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Google (News - Alert), Flickr and many others. Retailers using the Referzo product can then dictate any terms they wish: a percentage of sales back to the customer for each transaction their referral leads to, for example. Referring customers are provided with a custom link to direct friends toward, in a non-obnoxious, non-intrusive way.

“This tool was designed to incentivize the long-tail of Internet publishers – individual customers who communicate with friends via Facebook, Twitter (News - Alert), and/or email – instead of professional bloggers or Web marketers,” Swiecki said. “The result is a simple, flexible system that encourages individuals to refer products to their friends – directly or within their social networks – and get paid cash to do it.”

To see a demo of how the Referzo products works, click here.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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