Jesse and Rich talk with the founder of Gratisfaction, Akash Malik, about loyalty marketing, contests, sweepstakes, and gamification. Learn how to implement these tactics across your website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more, and increase the value of visitors to your site.
Jesse: Richie, Happy Friday.
Richard: Happy Friday, here we go.
Jesse: I’m back again. Here we go. It’s a podcast day for everybody listening. Hope you’re having a good day and now we’re going to introduce some pretty fun stuff today so that gets to be fun. We had a lot of heavy stuff lately, so we can mix it up a little bit.
Richard: Yeah. And by the way, feel free to have fun on every other day. We know you might be not listening to this on a Friday, we just got caught on a Friday but yeah we want to… To your point there, Jess, we’ve covered SEO, SEM, a lot of things that are heavy on the mind and we know that most people got into entrepreneurship because they knew it was gonna be work but they wanted to kind of do things on their own and be creative and find new ways to make some money. Today’s an exciting day because we have a guest that actually has a product that can help you do just that.
Jesse: Yeah, absolutely. Usually, people are saying I’m going to start this online business. They didn’t say Oh wow, I can’t wait to write
Akash: Hey, not too bad guys. Good. I’m from Australia. It’s about 4 a.m. and it’s all fun.
Jesse: Oh yeah.
Richard: And man we are definitely going to send you something, hopefully, send you some business mostly. Thank you so much for waking up so early or staying up so late, whichever it was. Which was it? Did you wake up early or do you stay up late?
Akash: I woke up early and now it’s all good.
Jesse: All right, we’re going to help our listeners out. So Akash is the founder of Apps Mav. It’s an
Richard: At 3:00 a.m (laughing.)
Jesse: Yeah. What do you know? Give us a little bit of the history, your history in digital marketing and what brought you here.
Akash: Right. Yeah. Thanks for this question. I started the business at 10 a.m. Just kidding. We started off as a digital marketing agency, so we started doing websites and then came along, we did organic search engine optimization, Google AdWords. I used to be a certified Google AdWords specialist. I had to sit in an exam every year or a couple of years. And that was fun and games and then came social media marketing. So we started doing social media. What I found is that all that is good. And as time goes by, people start to melt the thing and it becomes highly competitive. All these strategies take a lot of time as well, to build your marketing mix, and it takes time to get results from these and sometimes it’s a sort of a hit and miss kind of a thing. So we started developing apps. We developed apps simply by Facebook and then we pivoted from that. And I used to do a lot of seminars, workshops, and beyond the panels. What I found is that there are certain things that every entrepreneur and retailer can take into their marketing mix, that they can do very quickly and that can start to give them very good results. And hence, these actions came about because that’s a mix of elements that come into your sales funnel directly.
Richard: Got it. So you’re talking and I’m looking at the site here too. Looks like you have various different… I mean way more than we can cover on one show. You have contest, referral marketing, I like it. What’s the one you started with, then what was the evolution as you started to build out Apps Mav?
Akash: Sure. So we started with apps which could just come onto your Facebook page. But Gratisfaction was one of the key apps we sort of pivoted into. The app in many terms is very simple because it allows you to sort of start your campaign very easily, and you can actually turn on or off different marketing elements that you’d like to activate. For example, you would just start off with a simple giveaway or start with a simple referral program or loyalty program and so on and so forth. So Gratisfaction is something that we started with. We then launched an app, gamification app called Scratch Card which is catching, and Gratisfaction also resulted in another sort of app, a subset of Gratisfaction which was called Social Boost.
Richard: Do you have any kind of a use case or someone that’s used this creatively, just so someone could actually hear from start to finish process of how they would have to make this happen?
Akash: Absolutely. We’ve got a very good Ecwid retailer, called Just Saiyan, out of New Zealand. And they’ve been using our app I think for about 10 months now. They’ve got some amazing results and they keep talking with us about the results they’ve achieved. For example, they were telling me that they’ve got nearly 12,000 referral codes getting out there that people are sharing because of the app, which gives them the opportunity to purchase discounts and rewards within the Gratisfaction. They give me some
Jesse: That’s awesome. Using Gratisfaction there is a lot of different options in there. So what would be an example, are they using things that are maybe
Richard: And in real quick, by the way, love, love, love the accent, that combination Australian and Indian and I’ve understood everything except for I’ve tried to type in that — we like to promote Ecwid stores — how exactly do you say that? Spell it out for us, please.
Jesse: Just saying. I might have missed a letter there.
Richard: Can you say that one more time, sorry,
Richard: Perfect. Okay, so now go ahead and go into Jesse’s question, sorry about the interruption there.
Akash: Yeah, no worries. Jesse, thanks for the comment on the accent, I’ve been living in Australia for about 18 years. Born and raised in India, so the accents got a bit mixed. It’s not shrimp on the barbie yet to which you guys in USA are used to. Now, your question is great. What happens with the Gratisfaction is that you either can you get some
Richard: Man, that is so amazing on so many levels. And I’m gonna start.
Jesse: I mean I have about five questions. But you go first.
Richard: Real quick but first and foremost, we’ll go back since the history of man, word of mouth is always trumped everything, right. It’s just there’s nothing that someone you already know, love and trust that recommends something, there’s nothing that’s above that. And so first and foremost that’s great. Secondly, the gamification piece in there. Ever since Facebook has gone public, organic reach is just, it’s close to dead, right. So until you get other people to participate on your post, they won’t start sharing with all the other people, they want you to pay to get that reach. And that’s great. Also, one of your points there was they feel like they’re participating. And any time that somebody is participating in and they feel like they’re actually helping decide what the color is, decide with the name and that product is, decide… People tend to on a psychological level, they want to support what they think they helped create. I don’t want to talk too much because I don’t want Jesse to forget his questions but wow, on so many levels. I can’t wait to dive a little deeper into this. The last thing I wanted to say though is this something they actually have to sign up? I’m looking at the actual site right now, is that like the rewards button on the side or something like that to get that coupon or are they getting pixeled or how does that actually work?
Akash: Right. So that’s a good question to understand how that whole thing works. Coming back to the comments and observation that you made. One was a very good observation about word of mouth. Word of mouth has been there ever since the evolution and what we do now as digital marketers, we believe in word of mouth. So word of mouth meaning your website should be able to send messages and just simply word of mouth is offline and word of mouth is online. And that’s what the Gratisfaction does. And gamification is a very good concept and the key word you used. Because if you involve, if you bring in mechanisms into your business you will have much much more engaged audiences. People will convert much more and participate much more with your website and also with your business. The third point you brought in and that is very relevant is that you’ve got to involve your customers and get them engaged with the brand. I mean, we forget that the sole existence of our business is because of our customers. And we also do not typically involve them with a lot of decisions and the decisions are made behind the website, behind closed doors. But what we have to do is bring it out and bring our customers and tell our customers Hey, this is your company. You take the direction, you tell us, I’m going to introduce this new product. I want you to name it, guys. You go ahead and name it for me. When people get involved, they obviously will talk about the website because now they have a stake, they have skin in the game. Now coming back to that particular question that you asked about how this works. As soon as somebody comes to your website, you’ll see a popup. As soon as somebody comes to the Ecwid store, a visitor will see a popup and they can read different kinds of popups and the popup behavior can be tweaked. For example, you may want to have an exit and then popup or a popup that comes out after eight seconds or when somebody scrolls down your web site for about 10 percent. And so these are the behaviors that we have within Gratisfaction. So the
Jesse: Yeah. There’s this Jesse here. I can tell you that I have looked into this actually for Ecwid. And boy, I’ve looked at some very expensive programs that looked like they would be very very hard to implement. So this is awesome, I know it’s not that expensive but think about… Well, I’ll make a point first on it
Richard: You might not get the $40 purchase or whatever it is, but if they go do that, like your Twitter, like your Instagram, like your Facebook. That might also help affect the algorithm. Oh there’s more stuff going on here. And you might actually get more organic reach on other things even though that didn’t. So no matter what you’re helping the foundation of your company.
Jesse: For sure. Ultimately the goal is sales. So you really want the sale and this helps get the sale but it also helps you even if you don’t get the sale. I love it for that reason and I know that some of that stuff, if I had to do this on my own without an app I would never do it. There’s just a lot of work to set up all these different links and things like that, so Akash, that’s awesome, man, I love this edition and I’m trying to think of it. OK if I’m listening to this podcast in my car and the workout, where what’s an easy thing to apply. Like is the loyalty program where you would start or is there like an app that you might think would be an easier thing for people to start with.
Akash: Sure. The easiest thing to start off with although it sounds very difficult is to start off your loyalty program. And along with that, you should start off your referral program. Now if you said that OK, hang on I’ve got to think about the loyalty program. You can straightaway start at the referral program and start rewarding your existing customers or new customers that sign up to share a discount coupon for your store with their friends and family. So they look good. And because they’re sharing and if their friends and family come in and buy it, then they get rewarded. It’s sort of a
Jesse: And so that’s something that people could do that this weekend, right. They can say All right, I’m gonna launch this program and then most people have an email list of previous customers. Can be sent via email to other previous customers as a little bit of a bonus, is that what could happen, right?
Akash: Absolutely. Look, it would take you just about five minutes to set up your loyalty program because over the last couple of years, we have gone through various versions of onboarding. We have looked at how customers are using, what their questions are what their issues are. And we have simplified a very enhanced onboarding experience. We will ask them questions about… The setup is quite easy and you can set up your Gratisfaction loyalty program and a referral program within five minutes, to be honest, because we’ve done some predefined settings as well based on what customers like and what gets you the best results. So yeah, you could set it up over the weekend and have a beautiful loyalty and a referral program both for you.
Jesse: And sales over the weekend and the money arrives in your bank account on maybe Tuesday.
Akash: Well, if you took the program correctly, if your referral program seats, it’s also about incentivisation. If it’s going to give just a 5% discount that can be shared by the referral with dear friends and family. There’s gonna be two issues, A
Richard: Yeah. Richard’s here as you are speaking. It really hit me with this referral thing on many levels but mostly back to kind of psychologically. People tend to like people what they want to be like or are like. And so why wouldn’t it work, right. You’re somebody who likes games in this and that you probably have friends who like games, you usually don’t become friends with people who are complete opposites of us. There are exceptions to the rule, obviously, but that’s great. So in these contests, do you tend to start the contest in email with your current customers and then bring it because organic reach is lower or? What’s the starting point of where maybe a referral campaign or a contest would start? I know you said with your current customers but do you do it on that started on social or do you start on the things that are off social?
Akash: That’s a good question. What we are talking about here is seeding the referral program. How can we get it so that it starts to go viral? How do we start it off? What I suggest is that first of all, think about it a referral program. How are you going to incentivize them, the advocates. Existing customers or even people who had just signed up to a store and had not yet purchased from your store. So how can you incentivize them enough that they will share their message about your brand, about your products with their friends and family. And you were absolutely correct saying that people want to feel good about sharing great products, great discounts with their friends and family because guess what, there are still two things here. One — they want to feel good about it. And second is they really want to help their friends and family about the discoveries that they have made. They will share the program and share more if there is incentivization involved with it. As I said, the first thing is to think about your referral program as to how will you incentivize your advocates. And then what will you give to their friends and family. What will be the discount or the incentivization. That discount needs to be quite attractive, so that your current customers share that with their friends and family. Now what you will do is you announce that on social media, you announce that on your Facebook page, posted that on your Instagram feed. Do that on Pinterest or whatever other social media you have, put it on your website, declare there, send a newsletter to your customers talking about referral program as to how they they will win and their friends and family will win. Winning means they will get incentivization and discounts for sharing, referring the Ecwid store to their friends and family.
Richard: That’s a great point, the answer in short is all the above. It makes sense too, because back to the beginning of the show. This is fun. This is light. This isn’t a buy this. I bought this, although that message is kind of going through that, it’s more sharing and fun and Wow, participate with me and it’s not like they’re sending a link to the product page that’s an ad. It’s actually something that seems like literally the gamification piece.
Akash: Yes, yes. This is one of the gamification elements there. We just set up our referral program and start announcing it. Very easy announcement. Hey, guys, we’ve launched our awesome referral program because we want to reward our customers. We want to say thank you to you and and it’ll be awesome if you can share this with your friends and family. Because guess what, when they come in and buy they get a discount as well. That makes them an advocate, your existing customer, they look awesome as well because now they share an attractive discount with their friends and family. But you know, as with everything else unless you tell people, they won’t know about it. You can do social media marketing to announce your new referral program, to announce your giveaway, and so on and so forth.
Jesse: That’s the time to start spending on advertising, to boost those posts on Facebook, organic reach is down to nothing right now. But if you’re boosting a post to people who already follow you it’s a fairly cheap way to invest in some Facebook ads there. This makes sense to make sure all your people hear about it. Also we spoke about launching a referral program, a loyalty program, but the best part is that once it’s launched, new people get added every single day. So new visitors to the site are now a part of the referral program. There’s a big launch but there’s also a recurring benefit from it. That’s awesome. Moving on from that aspect of Gratisfaction, the other stuff here, they’re so once he would sign up for a referral program the contest and sweepstakes. I’m looking at the website right now. There’s so many, it’s hard to mention all the different options here. So many fun things things here. I just give a couple of them. You could do a an Instagram sweepstakes contest. A pin to win contest. This is where you can be creative and think about your product mix. What do you need from your customers? Do you need them with a picture of your product in a cool place? Sticking with the
Akash: That’s a very good question. What we’ve done is we provided all these methods for people to participate in it. You can make a combination of these methods and lunch amazing fun giveaways. I’ll give you an example. Broadly speaking, you can do either an instant win campaign or you can do a giveaway/sweepstakes. So what’s an instant when is you could say Watch my YouTube video which would be a product video or a new launch product video. And as soon as you watch it, you’ll get 50 points, or you can get an instant 10% off. What you could do is turn it around and make it fun. We all know that to engage an audience, make them watch more than
Richard: I’d love it in cash. A quick question, Richard here again. I love your pricing model, entrepreneurs are spending money all the time, so I love that it starts at free. And you know, it’s kind of like a MailChimp, ask as you have more loyalty members that goes up a little there. But what is exactly considered a loyalty member? Is someone a loyalty member once they do certain amount of actions or is it just when they sign up, how does that work?
Akash: Good question. The first thing is that the pricing model we kept as that we want to give every feature of the product to every Ecwid merchant. Basically, because we want you to use each and every element in there and get the maximum benefit. Every plan includes every feature except white label. You can start with a free plan which is 400 loyalty members. Another way for you is to evaluate the app, there is no commitment on it. On the app you can tweak, activate,
Jesse: Wow, I can think of a ton of places this could be used. I’m ready to start my referral program right now. Rich?
Richard: No, other comments on my mind, it is blown. I’m literally over here signing up right now.
Jesse: That’s awesome. For anybody else looking to sign up right now, go to the Ecwid App market, look for the Gratisfaction app and as we heard it’s free to get started. So get started on your referral marketing right now. It’s all sorts of fun little tricks in there and contest so it’s time to go on. Akash, really appreciate you being on the show. Listeners out there — get after it, make it happen!