Online Retail Company Uses Viral Marketing to Improve Referral Program

By | April 27, 2010 at 4:00 am

Viral marketing and social media are among the ways to motivate loyal customers to share offers with family and friends.

CSN Stores, which was founded in 2002, is a home furnishing and housewares business who were looking to improve the level of business gained through referrals. Historically they used basic email campaigns in which to do this.


In order to motivate its most loyal customers to share offers with family and friends, CSN Stores looked towards social media and viral marketing to offer a more innovating marketing campaign.

Working with StrongMail they developed a referral marketing campaign that incentivized current CSN Reward members with a $15 credit in their reward account for each friend that enrolled in the program. In total members could get their hands on up to $150 worth of credit for referring family and friends.

To increase the viral aspect of the campaign, each referred friend was offered the same $15 credit for extending the offer to their personal networks.


Overall the campaign was a huge success with click-through rates being four times higher that those reported for adding a sharing link in an email template.

Furthermore, for every three customers from the initial mailing who shared an email, one new CSN Rewards account was created, with ten percent of those new members going on to buy a product. This resulted in the referral programs performance being three times higher than before.

In conclusion, this case study highlights how experimenting with viral marketing and social media can increase marketing power; with particular reference to improving a referral program in this case.  Online marketers would do well to keep in mind the ‘power of the people’ when it comes to viral marketing: if the incentive is right then people will shout from the roofs about your company.

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Image Credit: Intersection Consulting

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