email offers

Email Offers Sign Up With A Twist: The Secret To A Successful Referral Marketing for Your E-commerce Business

Using the best social media campaigns is a great way to market your e-commerce business online. But when it comes to driving sales and conversions, the one method that’s proven to outperform the rest is good old-fashioned email[3]. Yes, your email list is said to have an ROI of 4,300%, as reported by the Direct Marketing[1] Association. A whopping 70% of people use coupons and discounts they receive from email. And there are 60% who revealed that the top reason they subscribe to a business email list is so that they can receive special offers. Consumers overwhelmingly prefer to receive marketing messages through email compared to other forms. Email is a proven method that works amazingly well at building customer[4] relationships, establishing trust, informing and then selling to your audience.

If you use email to work with your e-commerce referral marketing campaigns, the results can be surprising. You can easily turn your email list into brand advocates list. Imagine what’s possible having a multitude of advocates who willingly promote your business. Add the power of social media, and your referrals can quickly grow without limits.

Email Marketing[2] With A Twist

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Here’s one way to turn your email offers into a referral campaign that helps you invite customers to be brand advocates. Whenever customers sign-up for your e-newsletter or offer email, direct them into a funnel where they’ll be entered into a weekly sweepstakes. When you send them to the Thank You page after sign-up, make sure to include a unique link that they can share with friends. Tell them to share with friends and when they do, they can receive 10 bonus entries in the weekly drawing for each friend who also signs up to receive offer emails. Do your best to spur their excitement, so that they’re likely to take action. Show them the gifts and prizes that they can win in the weekly sweepstakes. Remind them that they can increase the chances of winning, simply by sharing their referral links to their own online community.

Don’t worry about the technical aspect of running your referral program. The software will track everything and pick the winner automatically. You can post the name of the winner at the bottom of each of your weekly offer emails to boost your open rates. Just by giving an update to your list as to what’s the latest with your sweepstakes, your engagement rate will increase.

Your Weekly Giveaway: the Secret to Referral Success

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When you get creative with your email marketing by spicing it up with a weekly giveaway, your email list can increase exponentially. Think of the spike in revenue that you can experience each time you send out offers via email. Many email subscribers are likely to share because they won’t need to ask their friends to do any heavy lifting, such as making a purchase. All they’re asking is for them to join an email list so that they too can learn about a store which they genuinely believe they’ll like. Aside from the viral aspect of the sharing, you can anticipate more sign-ups from your website visitors for your offers via email. Knowing that they might win a prize, new website visitors may keep on coming as they hear about your campaign. As you send out your offer emails, you’re also expanding your referral network as your email list grows. In the long run, your e-commerce revenue also grows.

How to Run Email Offers Sign-Up With A Weekly Giveaway

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Now that you understand how email offers sign-up with a weekly giveaway referral program works, here are five specific steps to implement. Follow these tips to boost the marketing force of your e-commerce company cost-effectively.

1. Determine a relevant prize for your subscriber.

Here are two words that you need to remember when it comes to giving away prizes to your subscribers online: be generous. You’ll be asking your email list for social shares of your offer emails. For them to act on your offer, you must give them something of high perceived value. Come to think of it, their social share extends way beyond their friend’s signing up.

Do you know the benefits that social shares can give to your e-commerce site? Here are the top three:

You can directly generate new customers from referred visitors, since they’re 10 times more likely to buy than the average site visitor.

Your SEO ranking gets better.

From the search engine’s perspective, websites with a number of social mentions and shared links are more authoritative.
Your subscribers are bringing you a social community who’s just like them, with similar interests.

It’s a great opportunity for free brand exposure to a targeted audience.

What a win!

You need to test different offers to find out which is the best in bringing more referrals. You can use software to test different offers automatically. Still unsure what prizes to give away? Again, here are three ideas to get you started:

Gift card to your e-commerce store

This is most practical to give away, because they generally lead to an additional sale in the end. More often, the customer comes back and orders items that are worth much more than the gift card amount.

Discount coupons to your e-commerce store

This works only if the discount is substantial. If you regularly send discounts to your customers, make sure that this one is unique and it’s not something that they’ll likely get if they wait for your next discount email to be sent.

Gift card to a popular store

Think of a Starbucks or Amazon gift card. Your subscribers can get highly motivated if they know they’d receive one of these, because it’s something useful for everyday activities. If not, it’s easy to pass it on as a gift.

2. Write up your program rules.

It’s time to meet the legal requirements of your referral program. You need to write your program rules. If you don’t know where to start, find a similar program that’s implemented by a large company. Read their rules and use something similar. Use theirs as a guideline to write yours. When you’re done, let a business attorney review it. If you’re on a budget, you may want to sign up for a prepaid legal service, which starts at around $25/month.

3. Develop your own program microsite.

Creating a microsite for your email offer sign-up with a weekly giveaway referral program is necessary to inform your subscribers about the campaign. To participate, each one of them needs to sign-up for the program, consent to the rules and get a unique referral link. You can do all this with ease using software that automatically builds and runs the program. They even customize your site with the look and feel of your e-commerce brand. Everything you need for your referral system is complete, as the software also takes care of tracking all the referrals. There are progressive types, such as Sociamonials, that can automatically issue the prizes and hold them back when suspicious activities are detected. Think of having a virtual program manager and security team, alongside your marketing campaign, but without the high cost.

4. Ready-set-launch.

When you’ve set-up the first three steps, it’s time to launch. Start running your referral program by announcing them to your email list. Send out your invitation and the link to your microsite. Do all you can to reach out to as many subscribers, website visitors and followers. Invite everyone to your program. Who wouldn’t want to win prizes, anyway?

5. Focus your online marketing efforts to promote your referral program.

Go ahead and implement in these three locations:

Every page of your website

Keep in mind that you aim to build your email list. Every website visitor must be presented the opportunity to join your list through the following:

Note that your software provider will provide copy-and-paste code.


Add a button to your e-commerce store header so it appears on every page of your website. Clicking the button triggers a popup window where your site visitors can complete the sign-up and sharing process without leaving the page or store.

On-exit intent popup

If the visitor attempts to leave your store by moving their cursor near the browser’s Back or Home button, it will trigger a popup and prompt them to sign-up before leaving. Check with your software so that it’s set-up to trigger only once per visitor so it doesn’t become a nuisance.

Facebook[5] page tab

Convert your social fans into email subscribers by adding a tab on your Facebook page. Facebook culture is all about sharing, so they’re likely to share their unique tracked link with their friends.

Social media news feeds

Set your social media feeds to regularly post the link of your referral program microsite. It’s a great way to convert your social fans into subscribers and, add them into your email list.

Embrace the New Marketing Trend

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If you’re looking for a referral marketing program that can provide economic value to your online store, this is it. Leverage the best social media campaigns to make your referral marketing work even better. By tapping into the reach of top social media channels, your offers can get to as many people as possible. If you operate in a competitive marketplace, this could be the strategy that puts you out in front. Instead of getting stuck in the cycle of investing more and more into PPC and SEO like most marketers do, and yet with declining returns on your investments, consider that this may be the time for you to embrace a new trend of peer-to-peer marketing!

If you want to learn more about this particular referral program on how to set-up an email offer sign-up with a weekly giveaway, or if you want to explore 6 other unique ideas that can generate more referrals for your e-commerce business, check out our industry whitepaper.

Terms definitions
1. Direct marketing ( Direct Marketing ) Direct Marketing, a unique advertising strategy, involves businesses engaging directly with consumers to peddle their products or services. It's distinguished by its targeted nature, focusing on consumers that fit specific vendor-determined parameters. This marketing technique utilizes direct communication avenues such as direct mail, phone calls, emails, and online resources, giving it a more concentrated approach compared to broad marketing strategies. Its origins can be traced back to 15th-century Europe, with modern methods being innovated by Josiah Wedgwood and later refined by individuals like Pryce Pryce-Jones and Aaron Montgomery Ward. The primary goals of direct marketing encompass product sales, lead generation, customer relationship building, and boosting customer loyalty. Despite encountering obstacles such as unsolicited emails and spamming, remedies like opt-out registers, variable printing, and laws like the CAN-SPAM Act have been implemented to maintain its efficacy.
2. Email marketing ( Email Marketing ) Email marketing, a strategic approach in digital marketing, utilizes email as a tool to endorse products or services, foster customer loyalty and trust, or enhance brand recognition. This strategy involves the dispatch of direct promotional emails to attract new clients or encourage existing customers to buy, and the transmission of transactional emails following a customer's interaction with a business, aiding or verifying a business transaction. Despite hurdles such as email deliverability and adherence to spam laws, it stands as a budget-friendly and effective marketing tactic, boasting high open rates and comprehensive analytics for evaluating campaign success. Legal regulations like the United States' CAN-SPAM Act and the European Union's GDPR oversee email marketing to shield consumers from spam and maintain privacy rights. Compared to traditional mail marketing, email marketing is deemed quicker, more economical, and more productive, offering tools for automation and analysis of customer behavior.

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