Getting started with peer-to-peer marketingby Katie Dodd Syk
Consumers of today are savvier than ever before. This probably has something to do with the 6,000 to 10,000 advertisements they are exposed to on a daily basis. Filtering out what’s worth paying attention to and what’s fluff has become a necessity. It also means that direct advertising isn’t as effective as it once was. More and more often, consumers are looking to those they trust when making purchasing decisions. That’s why the golden concept of peer-to-peer marketing is getting the spotlight. It builds on that trust to create value for businesses.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketing is a metod where you let your current customer base promote your brand to their peers.
Also known as word-of-mouth marketing, peer-to-peer marketing is about getting your customers to tell their friends, family, and anyone they know about what you do. And it works!
People crave the authenticity of recommendations from trusted sources, from sources that aren’t getting paid to make them.
And people trust people who are similar to themselves i.e. their peers. In fact, up to 92% of people say they trust their peers when making purchase decisions, a number much higher than the trust they place in any other group.
Of course, the happier your customers are, the more likely they will be to naturally spread the good word about what you do.
But making P2P marketing an official part of your business’ marketing plan will increase that sharing and therefore increase your success. It involves some strategy, some encouragement, and a business that cares about its customers.
If you’re just getting acquainted with a P2P marketing strategy and want to learn more, read on for some steps to kick off your efforts!
Here is a definition of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Advertising.
(1) Identify your target audience
If you’ve got a business, you probably also have an idea of who your prospective customers are.
What problem does your product or service solve? Who is it best suited for? And what variations of your audience may exist?
Think about the niche in which you’re most likely to gain traction.
You can also look at what your competition is doing for both inspiration as well as information, perhaps finding holes in the market that you can fill.
By identifying and analyzing your audience, you’ll minimize wasting your marketing efforts — both P2P and otherwise — and maximize your chances of success.
(2) Build loyalty
“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.”
Building loyalty with your customers from the start is so important in the long-run and can be done with every interaction you have with them.
With each customer-facing business decision you make, think about how you can build a relationship with customers and then strengthen their loyalty moving forward.
How can you tailor your offerings for your customers? How can you make them feel privileged so they keep coming back?
Make sure you’re looking at your business from the customer’s perspective so you can better understand their experience.
The relationship between a customer and a business starts from day one, from your customer’s very first interaction with you.
Customers form impressions about companies early on — often without even realizing it — and it can be difficult to change their minds later. So do what you can to make that first connection a positive one.
Perhaps offer your first time shoppers a special discount or gift coupon.
Regardless of your customers’ early impressions, be sure to act on any feedback you get (and let the customer know about it!) so they feel heard and you’re adaptable to changing needs of the market.
If you’re looking to measure your business’ customer loyalty, Referanza can help. Learn more about how to do it right here.
(3) Ask for what you want
Once you’ve got happy customers, reach out and ask them to share praise for your company. They’re probably delighted to help, but if you don’t ask, it’s more than likely that they won’t act.
When you reach out, be specific with your request.
Whether you’re looking for them to add a review to a business listing or make an introduction to a person or organization in their network, tell them exactly what you’d like so that no one is wasting their time.
Examples of peer-2-peer marketing are sending a text message or an email to your customers asking them to recommend your business.
Along with making a specific request, provide clear and consistent messaging. This will increase the frequency at which your target audience hears your message and make it easy for them to both find and access your call to action.
(4) Focus on the right channels
Now you know your audience, but don’t stop there.
Knowing your audience also means knowing where to connect with your audience. The right channel can make all the difference when it comes to peer-to-peer marketing (or any type of marketing, to be honest).
What channel(s) are going to be best to get your customers engaged, sharing experiences and interacting?
It may take some time and experimentation to figure out where to spend your time and resources, but the result will be well worth the effort.
(5) Offer some incentive
Sweeten the deal and increase the chances of your customers helping you out by offering them incentives to spread the word.
This will give your customer ambassadors specific goals to achieve and build excitement around their efforts. You can do this by putting together a referral program, rewards, discounts, access to early features, or free products.
Another option could be offering high-quality customer service.
Show this coveted group of customers that you appreciate them helping you out by providing something that will benefit them and build up their loyalty even more.
(6) Build a community
You can also increase peer-to-peer marketing by building an exclusive community around your brand. This can be done, for example, through forums or social media groups.
Facilitating connections between happy customers will not only strengthen your relationship with them and them with each other, but will also create a natural space for you to get customer feedback.
It will serve as a sort of virtual focus group around your brand. You’ll have insights into what’s working and what’s not so you can make adjustments to improve your company.
Just be sure that however you decide to set up this digital community, you’re providing some kind of value to your customers to be there and engage.
Give it up for the influencers
No blog post on a peer-2-peer marketing strategy would be complete without mentioning influencer marketing.
While some would say that influencer marketing falls into the traditional marketing category, influencers can sway their audience in a way that overlaps with the influence of peers.
Although influencers cast a wide net beyond the people they know personally, they do have some degree of their audience’s trust and can be considered an extension of their follower’s circle of friends.
This gives them influence on the buying decisions of their audience in a more genuine way than a business itself can have.
If you decide that working with an influencer is right for your business, you’ll want to start by doing some research to decide on the best influencers to approach.
Find some relevant hashtags to get started and go from there. Choose influencers who have an engaged audience and whose niche, tone and style match yours. Ideally, they also have some connection to your industry.
This will increase the chances that, if you decide to work together, the influencer’s promotion of your business will resonate with their followers and lead to conversions.
Once you’ve got a list of influencers you’d like to partner with, reach out to them with a collaboration proposal. It’s generally preferred to reach out directly rather than through a third-party agency.
For more details about influencer marketing and how to succeed in it (without going over budget), check out our blog post: How to scale influencer marketing: Engage your customers as promoters.
Prospective customers can watch or read your business’ website, blog posts, videos, social media posts — any and all information that’s available online; but however informed they become, these messages will never be able to deliver the authenticity that is a peer recommendation.
Your audience understands you are trying to make a sale; your audience believes their peer is offering genuine advice.
This is what makes a peer-to-peer marketing strategy so valuable and, in today’s ever-changing landscape, so necessary. Humanizing your marketing is essential for a business to succeed and there is no better way than peer-to-peer marketing.
Learn more about what Referanza can do to support your P2P marketing efforts by browsing through our features here!