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The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
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The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
Free Inbound Marketing Playbook
View The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

Take your inbound strategy to the next level

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Grow sales by 20%+ with a customer referral program ft. Raul Galera (Inbound Success, Ep. 209)

ReferralCandy Chief Advocate Raul Galera explains how to build a customer referral program and shares examples of companies that have increased sales by 20% or more through referrals.

By Kathleen Booth

Kathleen Booth also recommends this free guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022.

Grow sales by 20%+ with a customer referral program ft. Raul Galera (Inbound Success, Ep. 209) Blog Feature

How do top e-commerce companies leverage customer referrals to increase sales by 20% or more?

Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022


This week on the Inbound Success podcast, ReferralCandy Chief Advocate Raul Galera breaks down the best practices behind top-performing customer referral programs.

From when to launch a program to how to ask for referrals and reward customers who make them, Raul gets into the details that you'll need to design, build, launch, and execute your own successful referral program. And he includes specific examples of companies that are doing it right now.

Check out the full episode to get the details. (Transcript has been edited for clarity.)

Resources from this episode:


Raul Galera and Kathleen Booth
Raul and Kathleen recording this episode.


Kathleen (00:00): Welcome back to the Inbound Success podcast. I am your host, Kathleen Booth. And this week my guest is Raul Galera, who is the chief advocate for ReferralCandy. Welcome to the podcast Raul.

Raul (00:27): Thanks for having me.

Kathleen (00:28): Yeah, this is a great topic. Selfishly, I'm working on developing a customer referral program right now for my business. And so I am excited to pick your brain and I'm sure there are others listening as well who want to learn about this before we dig into it. Can you talk a little bit about yourself and your story and how you came to be doing what you're doing now with ReferralCandy, and then also what ReferralCandy is?

Raul (00:51): Yeah, absolutely. So actually the reason why I found ReferralCandy, it's kind of related to remote work, which is kind of a hot topic these days. So just to give you the short version: After I finished college, I started working remotely for a consulting firm from Spain. That consulting firm was based in Poland, which is where I had studied abroad a few years before that. And after working remotely for a few years, I wanted to work from an office and I also wanted to move abroad. So I moved from Spain to Chile and I worked for a startup company in San Diego for a couple of years. And then after that, I made a couple of decisions. The first one was that I wanted to work for a software company.

Raul (01:37): I wanted to sell software. It was something I wanted to learn about. And I also wanted to work remotely again. So after my office experience, I had decided that remote work was a better fit for me. I was looking for a remote sales jobs, and I came across ReferralCandy on AngelList. I think it was [because] they had a remote-friendly sales position. And so instead of applying directly through AngelList, I decided to email the CEO directly and tell him why I thought I was a good fit for the company. And he replied to the email, we had a couple of interviews, and I guess the rest is history.

Kathleen (02:18): I love that story. I love that you reached out directly to him. I just think so few people do that. Everybody is kind of used to hitting the submit button on LinkedIn or whatever. And it definitely makes a difference to go that extra mile. And I feel like the rest of the world is now starting to catch up with you with these remote positions. I also have worked remotely for some time and love it. But that's been interesting to me to see what COVID has done in terms of the perceptions of workplaces and people who run companies and their appetite for allowing remote work. It seems like it's really grown, which is, I think, a very good thing.

Raul (02:54): Yeah. I mean, I remember a few years ago I had to — I mean, I felt kind of weird explaining that I was working from my living room or my home office instead of from an office. And I would always get these weird looks about it. “But where were you based?” And “where's the company based?” and, you know, like you're working from an office, you know, that's, yeah, I'm kind of happy that that's how it could [be seen as] more natural these days.

Kathleen (03:16): Yeah. There was a time when you had to hide the fact that you were at home and I would be really embarrassed if my dogs barked, which you might hear my dogs bark in this interview because I am still at home and I have two dogs and they bark. But no, it is a good thing for all of us. So talk a little bit about ReferralCandy. What is that?

Raul (03:35): ReferralCandy is an app that allows e-commerce brands to set up and run customer referral programs. So we, as a company, started working in 2010. I joined the company in 2016, and from day one we've pretty much grown alongside the e-commerce world. We were one of the first referral marketing partners for Shopify. And so we experienced growth as a company alongside all these big e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Big Commerce, WooCommerce, Magento, etc. And so basically what we do is that we allow brands to run these referral programs on autopilot. The way that we do this is by inviting customers to automatically join the referral program by giving them a unique referral link.

Raul (04:25): They can share these referral links with their friends on social media, on texts or whatever it is. The friend clicks on the link. And then from that moment on, whenever they finish the purchase, we're able to track the whole referral process from the moment that they clicked on the link until they completed the purchase. And we send the rewards to the customer that made the recommendation in the first place. So it's all so automated, whether it's a coupon payout or an actual cash payout, we automate the reward process on our end. So the merchants don't really have to worry about that.

Kathleen (04:58): So customer referral programs, let's talk about this because I do feel like you guys are doing it particularly for e-commerce, it sounds like, but I would imagine that there are certain fundamental elements of customer referral programs that apply to all companies. And so I guess I feel like everybody out there knows that customer referrals are a great way to get new business, right? You have your happiest customers kind of talking about you, almost selling for you. But I think the stumbling block that everybody runs into is how to ask for the referral. And so maybe you could address that, like who to ask and how to ask and when to ask.

Raul (05:41): Those are all really good questions. I would say I honestly have different answers, or I have different sets of answers, for each one of them based on what I've seen. I don't think there's one particular rule of thumb that works for all businesses. They're all pretty different and the way their customers interact with these brands makes those interactions a little bit different in terms of when to ask and how to ask. The main thing in terms of how to ask, I would say that there's two main strategies on this. One of them is to kind of put the emphasis on what you, as a customer, are going to get for every friend that you [refer], that you were first.

Raul (06:30): So putting the emphasis on, “refer a friend and you will get $10 in cash” or “refer a friend and you will get a $10 coupon on your next purchase.” On the other side, it's to put more emphasis on what you can give to your friends. So we've seen referral programs that have worked really well because they've been able to tell customers, “look, you're going to look really good in front of your friends,” because they're going to be able to give them this really special coupon, or this really special offer and both of them work. So I guess it really depends on maybe how word of mouth friendly your product is in the sense that if you're selling something that's going to spark a conversation. And you know that your customers are naturally going to talk about your products just because of the nature of it.

Raul (07:19): Then you can put more emphasis on the friend reward because you know that your customers are just naturally going to recommend you to their friends and family. But again both of them work, and I've seen both of them work in different companies, in different industries. Now in terms of when to ask, there's two main theories here. So the two of them are, either ask your customers once you have their attention. So that could be right after a purchase. So, while the purchase is still fresh, they're still thinking about your brand because they just bought something from you. It's going to feel natural to get an email from the brand asking you to join the referral program. Cause you just became a customer.

Raul (08:02): The other theory is to ask customers to join the referral program after they have received the product. So wait a few days, let him get your product and use it, and then hit them with an email that asks for a referral. Once again, both of them work. I've seen both of those strategies work. And I guess, also it depends on the nature of the business. And then, in terms of one particular way of asking that I like, it's when brands are transparent in terms of why they're asking for a referral. There's one particular example that I always like to share whenever I get questions about how to ask for referrals since it's a company that's called Baronfig and they actually have a page on their website about the referral program.

Raul (08:58): And one of the things that they say [about] this — they have a note from the team explaining why they have a referral program. And the reason that they give is that they want to, they'd rather spend money on their customers than on Facebook advertising or online advertising Like, you know, “we know you love our product so much that we would just rather give the money to you instead of giving it to all these big corporations.” You don't have to follow that particular example. You don't have to make it either/or, but showing your customers the fact that they're going to go out and spread the word about your brand, it's actually going to matter to you and it's going to matter to your business. I think that's really smart. And again, if you have honest marketing and your customers know that you care about them and you care about the products you're developing, that way of asking for the referrals, it's going to come out very naturally.

Kathleen (09:52): I love that example about the Facebook ads, because it's true. If you're spending a ton of money on Facebook ads, would you rather give the money to Facebook or would you rather give it to your customers? I know what my answer would be. What do you say to people who push back and say, “well, we shouldn't have to pay our customers to refer us.” I don't know. I've definitely heard people express opinions indicating that they feel like the transactional nature of that somehow cheapens the referral. Do you have any response to that?

Raul (10:24): Yeah, I mean, I can totally see that. And it doesn't have to be a monetary transaction. You can get creative and offer things that are going to their customers. [Some companies] aren't going to appreciate [that]. I can see that offering a coupon or offering cash can raise some eyebrows for some brands, and say, “Hey, maybe this is going to affect the way that we're positioning our brand.” We've seen that, with a more kind of luxury items or brands are, they're in that type of business that there sometimes are a little you know, they kind of question the whole thing, but the reality is that at the end of the day, their customers are going to refer their friends and family anyway.

Raul (11:08): And so why not, first of all tracking it. And then second, if you can add something on top of that to have them continue doing so, then it's going to be a win-win for everybody. So, but again, it doesn't have to be, “I'm going to try to turn a section and you can offer a free product.” You can offer some free accessory, or you can even offer them a spot on a new release. If you're going to release a product in the next few months, and you want to have [something] closer to a VIP group, you can offer that instead. And again, also for the customer, if you don't want to offer a coupon, you can offer an additional product or something that's not available.

Raul (11:50): Like I said, to most people, you can maybe [offer] some sort of, like a hidden product that's added to your cart if you make a purchase referred by an existing customer. So it's all a matter of making it a little bit special. And also, you know, if your customers are going to be happy that they're sharing something that's going to be useful for their friends anyway, which is, it's honestly the bottom line of referral programs is that referral programs at the end of the day, what they do is that they incentivize something that's already happened or happening organically, which is word of mouth. So if you can incentivize that even more than your customers are going have, [to] be able to add that little pitch at the end, after they [purchased] the product, and they explained to their friends and family why the product is so good, they're going to be like — and by the way, if you buy using this link that you get a little something, or we both get a little something.

Raul (12:42): So...

Kathleen (12:43): So when it comes to offering a coupon or a gift card, or some sort of monetary compensation, do you have any data that would point to how much that should be? Because I feel like there has to be a sweet spot, right? Like too low and it's not going to motivate the desired behavior. Too high and it's going to be very expensive. And, I don't know, it might just seem egregious. What’s your take on that?

Raul (13:12): It really depends on the company and what they can offer just from looking from a financial perspective. Like, what are their margins and what are they able to offer? What I would do, what I would suggest, is to make sure that it's kind of a unique offer. We have customers that are offering, let's say 10% to their customers and their friends for every referral. But at the same time, that's what they're offering to anybody that signs up for the newsletter. So, when you put it on the same level and you make it a referral, it takes a lot more effort than signing up for a newsletter. And so if you're given that incentive it might not seem too attractive to customers because they can get that discount.

Raul (13:53): And by doing something else, that's honestly a lot easier to do. So what I would do is offer something that you're not already offering, hopefully something a lot higher, [and] make sure that it's also not clashing with other types of promotions that you might have. We noticed we had a client that we would notice that every weekend their referral sales would go down. And we couldn't really figure out why, because the rest of the week, Monday through Friday, you would see normal sales, and then they will drop during the weekend, which was the opposite of what their customers were doing. Their customers were buying more from them over that weekend. What was happening is that every weekend they had a store sale with the same discount [they[ had [with] a referral program.

Raul (14:40): And so people were just, rather than use that coupon code and then offer them that using the one that they that we're getting from making referrals. So, you know, those little things, like just making sure that you have a clear picture of what your coupon situation is, and then making something a little bit more special at the end of the day, making a referral for the customer. It's not something that's going to happen automatically, just because they're sharing it on their social media, or just because they're sharing the referral link on a group chat doesn't mean that their friends are going to make a purchase right away. So you need to reward them for that.

Kathleen (15:13): That makes sense. So make your referral discount higher than the other discounts you're advertising. Can you talk a little bit about tracking, because you've mentioned a few things that point to that, and I imagine that's key to all of this, because if you're going to offer these rewards, you have to be able to track whether the action happened and attributed back to the right person and then distribute that reward. So what's the best practice for handling that? 

Raul (15:38): I mean, it's out of ReferralCandy. We do it automatically. So depending on the platform, we have several different ways that we can identify who was the friend and who made the referral. For some platforms we use coupon codes that are specific for advocates. And so if we see a transaction with a specific coupon code, we're able to say, “okay, this was the advocate, and this is the person that needs to get rewarded for other platforms.” We rely more on the referral link and the tracking. After they click on it we're able to basically to cookie the friend and then see what's the referral looking like. But what I was mentioning earlier about being able to track referrals, it's more about the moment in which brands tend to decide that they need a referral program.

Raul (16:27): They know that they start to get these early signs that they're getting referrals, either because a customer might mention it to a customer support rep, or you might see referrals happening on social media just from people that have bought the product, and they're just sharing it, or somebody unboxing your product on YouTube, and then maybe people asking them where they can get it — all that kind of stuff. So those are kinda like early signs, but unless you have a referral program software on your store it's pretty difficult to track who are the customers that are coming to you from referrals versus any other channel, because all of those referrals are happening organically in a way. And it's kind of more just like a natural conversation, so that they might hear from, again, from a friend, or might look at a video on YouTube, and then just go to the website and make the purchase. And you'll never be able to attribute that purchase to a referral source. So instead at ReferralCandy, we were able to track that with the referral links and coupon codes. But those are the early signs that brands typically look at in order to decide “okay, it's time to have something formal in place so we can see where this is going.”

Kathleen (17:44): So what are the top three mistakes that you see companies make with referral programs?

Raul (17:52): So I would say that the main mistakes are either going too early. So referral programs [are] an easy way for brands to retain existing customers and acquire new ones. So it's basically, you're turning your customer base into your marketing team. But it's a numbers game. And the number of advocates that you're going to have in your referral program depends a lot on your total number of customers. So how many new orders are you having per day or per week or per month? And then those customers are eventually going to get added to the program. They're going to get the referral link, and then they're going to go out and refer. So it's a numbers game, really. So you need to have a good number of customers in the referral program in order to be able to see results in the short term.

Raul (18:38): So whenever we have a brand joining ReferralCandy and launching a referral program, if it's a brand that has, let's say like 10 or 20,000 orders per month, they take off immediately because they're getting almost thousands of orders every day. So those are thousands of customers that are being added to the referral program right away. Now, if you're a brand that’s making, let's say, 100, 200 orders per month, then it's going to take a lot longer. And so it's not that it's a mistake joining the referral program, but what is the mistake in my opinion, is to expect results in the short term. And I'll be number one. Another mistake that I typically see is not promoting it enough. So like I said, you depend on your customers to perform an action.

Raul (19:23): So you need to remind people about the existence of the referral program, because there's a lot of things that are happening in our daily lives. And if we're not, if brands are not staying top of mind, then it's difficult for customers to think about it and kinda like generate those referrals. So promotion is key. And then the third mistake [is] probably the most important one. This is an actual mistake in my opinion: It's not being ready or not having a company that's ready for our referral program in the sense that either your product’s not good enough yet, or your customers are not loving your product yet, or maybe your purchase process, it's complicated and messy, and your customers are not enjoying the whole process, or maybe you don't have a customer support team in place.

Raul (20:18): [You’re not] practically solving problems and your customers are not happy overall. So if your customers are not happy, a referral program is not going to be able to solve that. And that's something that I actually see quite often, but at least it's a way of figuring out if there's something that's wrong with the company or with the product. And then you can think of the company and focus on fixing that. And then, if our referral program is not working, honestly, any other marketing action that you might develop, it's not going to work either, if your product is not, it's not...

Kathleen (20:53): There. Yeah. That's so true. There's no substitute for a poor product. And you can't market your way out of that either. Exactly. So I'd love for you to give some examples, because I feel like in principle, this sounds like a no-brainer if you have a good product and if you're ready for it. So can you maybe talk about the impact that it can have on companies? Do you have any real-world examples of companies that implemented a referral program and what that did to the business?

Raul (21:24): Yeah, absolutely. So I brought a few examples of companies in different industries so we can go over it together, but I would say that that one thing that they all have in common is that they obviously have a great product that their customers are loving. They — by the time they launch a referral program — they realized that they were already getting organic referrals. And that's what it was — just implementing something on top of that — that it was going to be able to streamline the whole referral process. So one of my favorite examples: It's a company called Branch Basics. They are based in the U.S., and they are offering a subscription business for cleaning products, which initially it's not a very attractive product.

Raul (22:11): They're in a very competitive industry. And so it's something that sometimes we just buy kind of automatically. You put it on your shopping list and you go to the store and you get it. But the twist they are being able to add to the product that made it so attractive for customers is that they realize that most of the ingredients that you buy when you buy cleaning products are plastic and water. So you're buying a container and then you buy a product that's mostly made of water. And so what they've done is that when you subscribed to Branch Basics they send you a box with different spray bottles and basically the containers for your cleaning supplies. And then they send you a subscription of different concentrates that you can use to buy to clean different parts of your house. And all you need to do is just put those concentrates inside of the bottles and fill them with water and you're ready to go.

Kathleen (23:06): By the way, I agree. Totally genius. That makes all the sense in the world, especially in terms of lowering shipping costs.

Raul (23:13): Exactly. And it's something that, when you think about it, you're like, “wait a minute, that's true. I'm just buying water and plastic.”

Kathleen (23:20): Yeah. And I'm paying to have it shipped to me. Exactly, exactly.

Raul (23:24): So they were able to add a twist to this highly traditional industry. But at the same time they had an issue at the beginning, which is how do we break through the noise? I mean, cleaning supply companies are so big and they take over pretty much any marketing channel available to us, [so] that we need to find something else. And so they realized that their customers were their best advocates, because they were really excited about telling their friends and family about the cleaning products they were buying. So just to kind of give you some numbers. So right now, pretty much since they launched the referral program they saw an increase by 10% in their total sales and that 10% came from the referral program.

Raul (24:08): And ever since they've been able to get like one in every 10 purchases coming from the referral program, which if you look at it from the financial perspective and how much it costs to acquire a customer through a referral compared to any other acquisition method, like Facebook ads or Google ads, it's a lot cheaper. And also customers coming from a referral tend to stick around longer and spend more. So in the long run, it's made a really big impact on the bottom line of their business, which is their revenue. Other examples that I particularly like because it's brands that have been able to target specific communities of customers. So we have a couple of companies that are selling products for either babies or toddlers.

Raul (25:01): And obviously the customer here is not the baby and the toddler. It's mothers. And so they're being able to target communities of mothers that were going to be able to buy the products, and then we're going to talk about it to all their mom [friends]. And so in particular we have two companies, one called Momomi and the other one called Riff Raff [& Co]. And they pretty much [they’re] being able to see the same type of results pretty much from the beginning. They were able to increase their sales by 20% and 24% using referral marketing, which is a lot. I mean, it's one of the highest referral rates that I've seen among our customers. And they were able to do so because they were targeting a highly engaged community of people that were constantly looking for the best products.

Raul (25:45): And so if you see if you're part of a mothers' community and you see a mom being super excited about it, but one particular product, it's very likely they're going to buy it, even if you don't personally know about that person. But just the fact that you're both in the same stage of life, it kinda makes you agree. And those referrals typically happen very, very naturally. So those are two that particularly — because of the way that they are being able to target these communities. And then I would say that those 20%, 24% referral rates are achievable because we have several customers that are able to get to those percentages.

Raul (26:32): But then, you see customers having anywhere between 5% and 15% referral rates that are kind of all over the board in terms of companies. They're operating in the clothing or apparel industry, companies are selling gadgets or sporting goods. And they all have a kind of different way that they've been able to target themselves, sorry, market themselves to their customers and their referral programs. But I would say that products that are word-of-mouth friendly are those that are either truly revolutionary in the sense that it's nothing that you've seen before, or they’re products from a traditional industry with a twist, kind of like the example of Branch Basics. They're in a very traditional industry, but they’re being able to add something that you know, all of a sudden it makes it look like a no-brainer. But if we look at the traditional, or the kinda like the most famous classic referral programs — Dropbox, Uber, PayPal — those were truly new products. And so when you were talking to your friends and family about those products, you were sharing something that was brand new, something that [nobody] had ever heard of before. So that's what makes, in my opinion, companies word-of-mouth-friendly, when the person that's talking about your brand is truly excited about what they're saying.

Kathleen (27:58): So that makes all the sense in the world. And I think that also makes it easier to onboard people into the customer referral program if they're excited. But I guess the other thing that I wonder about is activation, because with anything, it's one thing to get the person to join the program, and it's another to then get them actually spreading the word and doing it consistently. So do you have any best practices or examples you've seen of companies that have done a really good job with activation?

Raul (28:27): Yeah, so I would say that the most common examples of this are companies that have a pretty consistent promotion schedule for the referral program. And so they are either reminding customers, let's say sending an email every couple of weeks to their customers to remind them about the program, they're sharing it on social media or even giving incentives that they get people excited about sharing. One particular example that I really like talking about — it's a company called ThreadBeast and they are a subscription box for just apparel, basically. And so whenever you buy a box, you get maybe a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and a hat and a belt, and maybe a pair of shoes as well. And the way that they've marketed the referral program is that instead of giving — so it's a subscription, right?

Raul (29:18): So instead of giving a coupon code on your future subscription or in your future invoice what you get is every time you refer a friend, you get an additional box. So if you refer three friends, you're going to get your box, plus three other boxes full of clothes. And then your friend, I think they get like 50% off or something like that. So it's pretty easy for the friends to get started as well. And so when you are basically not capping the type of rewards that they can earn, it gets people really excited about sharing the referral link. So, if you go on YouTube and you search for ThreadBeast, you're going to see tons of videos, a lot of them from the past few days, because people just keep renewing their videos unboxing what they got from ThreadBeast.

Raul (30:07): So they do like a maybe 10 minute video explaining all the different products they've gotten. And then they also shared the referral link to tell people how to get started on ThreadBeast as well. So those types of rewards in which you're not necessarily capping it, that works really well. Also, companies that offer cash instead of coupon codes. So if you're selling a product that your customers are not going to buy from you anytime soon, and I always give the same example, mattresses.

Kathleen (30:34): Oh yeah. That's so true.

Raul (30:36): If you're selling mattresses, I mean that's kinda like the iconic example of a product that you're not going to buy a — you buy once, and then you're not going to buy it anytime soon. So if you run a referral program, and you're a mattress company, you can either maybe offer up a free product, which might be some sort of accessory that you can use under your bed.

Kathleen (30:54): Or something. Yeah, exactly.

Raul (30:55): Or you can offer cash and people are going to be happy to share and get cash because, you know, nobody's going to say no to that. So again, promotion and then being a little creative with the rewards typically helps with activation. And then something that we've also seen with customers is that they're being able to add a little bit of a gamification to the process. So Riff Raff, the example that I was mentioning before, they offer a limited set of products. I think they only have like five or six items that they sell, but you can collect them in a way. And so instead of giving cash or giving a coupon to their customers to give them a free product, every time they refer, I think it's five friends, and so if you end up referring 15, 20, 25 friends, you might end up getting all the different items of the collection. So you can kind of collect all these different products. So yeah, it's like I said, I mean, they're all, I can't really give one particular strategy that would work for all businesses, but it's all about getting a little bit creative and also knowing what truly gets your customers excited.

Kathleen (32:05): Yeah. And I think hearing some of those examples is helpful, because it just stipulates that ideation. All right, we're going to switch gears because we're coming toward the end of our time and I want to make sure I have time to ask the two questions that I always ask. First one being, you know the world of inbound marketing and digital in particular is changing really, really quickly. Some of it fueled by technology, some fuel by regulatory things around privacy. You know, there's just so much platform change. There's so much happening. How do you personally stay educated and on top of all that? Are there certain sources of information that you really rely on?

Raul (32:44): Yeah, so I don't have one particular news outlet that I follow for anything related to marketing or e-commerce, but instead I rely on community. So I'm part of several Slack communities. And from people that have worked either in direct-to-consumer or people that work in e-commerce technology. And I tend to rely on those communities to get information that's going to be relevant. I used to be really active on Twitter. And I used to get a lot of my news from Twitter, but Twitter is just a little bit out of hand. I mean, I got out of hand in my opinion. And so I decided to focus on smaller communities, more niche communities, and I think you might not get as many articles to check every day, but the quality, in my opinion, has improved a lot. And then there's also an interesting conversation whenever somebody shares something. If it's truly interesting, there's going to be people that are going to go back and forth about it. And that's also, in my opinion, [that] is super valuable because [it] allows me to learn from people that are really way smarter than me. And that's always good.

Kathleen (34:00): Any particular Slack communities that you really love?

Raul (34:02): Yeah. So my favorite one, it's called Partner League. And it's a community for Shopify partners. It's not run by Shopify. It was organized by several Shopify partners. It's a little bit independent and I think that's what makes it interesting. In my opinion, there's really, really interesting conversations that happen there. And then also, whenever somebody shares anything that affects the industry, there are some really interesting conversations about this. So Partner League, if you're in Shopify I totally recommend it.

Kathleen (34:33): I am in that one as well, and I think it's good. So now we know we can Slack each other. Great. And then the second question is, of course, this podcast is all about inbound marketing. Are there particular companies or individuals that you think are really setting a great standard for what it means to be a really good inbound marketer these days?

Raul (34:57): Yeah. So whenever I look for examples of people, companies doing good marketing, I like to look at my inbox. I unsubscribe whenever I make a purchase, I end up unsubscribing from like, I don't know, 75%, 80% of the brands that I buy from because I ended up just not enjoying the content they send me. But those that remain in my inbox type, those are the ones that I particularly like. And there's one company that's called Back Market. They sell refurbished products so, refurbished technology. So, you know, iPhones, some computers. Actually my last two iPhones are from them. So I'm a really good customer of theirs, but I like the way they do marketing, because, well, first of all, they've been able to educate people on all the electronic waste that we're producing.

Raul (35:49): And they've been able to kind of remove the stigma that a lot of people had on buying refurbished products or products that are not brand new. And so I think they've done a really good job educating [about] what refurbished means and what's the impact that you can make for the environment. And then also I like the tone. So I'm based in Spain, so I get their content from their Spanish site, but I don't know if the U.S. site will be a little bit different, but they're pretty funny. They use humor a lot in the way that they interact with customers. And I think that's key, to be honest, like whenever I see their emails, even if I'm clearly not going to buy another iPhone in the next year or two, but I still look at their emails and I read every single one of them, because I think they're really smart. And [they] don't have a referral program, by the way. So from here, if anybody from Back Market is listening to me, we should talk. But anytime that I hear somebody that wants to buy some sort of electronic I typically think of them because of how exposed I am.

Kathleen (36:50): Well now I definitely want to go and subscribe to their emails because I love collecting just emails that are well-written. And I love email, and I love corporate marketing that's done with humor. It’s so hard a thing to pull off and to do it to hit the right tone and the right note. It can go wrong pretty easily. But for the companies that pull it off, it's incredibly powerful.

Raul (37:12): One thing that they do that I think helps a lot, and that's something that pretty much every single brand can copy, is that these emails are not sent from Black Market. It's sent from somebody inside of Back Market. So you get it, you get a first name and in the email. So you can always think about who's the person that's writing, the email that you're reading. And so it feels a lot more personal, rather than getting an email from kind of like a faceless corporation. And so that's actually something I copied myself. So I have a newsletter for my agency partners at ReferralCandy that I write myself, but I also make sure that it's not sent from ReferralCandy. It's sending from my name. I think it helps to get your message across, and we tend to put a voice on what we're reading. So if I can get people to read it with my voice, that's even better.

Kathleen (38:03): Totally agree. And I do the same thing. My newsletters and all my emails, come from people who nobody forms an emotional relationship with, contact at or info at. It just doesn't happen. So I totally agree. All right. Well, we have reached the [end] of our time. So if somebody is interested in learning more about ReferralCandy, or just wants to connect with you and has a question, what's the best way for them to connect with you online?

Raul (38:32): So for anything related to ReferralCandy, and then they can just email me directly. So my email is So, and I'm always happy to continue the conversation there.

Kathleen (38:48): Great. And I'll put that link in the show notes. So head there if you want to get in touch with Raul, and if you're listening and you enjoyed this episode, consider heading to Apple Podcasts and leaving the podcast a review. That's how other people find us. And we would very much appreciate it. And in the meantime, if you know another marketer who's doing amazing inbound marketing work, Tweet me at @workmommywork, because I would love to make them my next guest. That's it for this week. Thank you so much for joining me Raul.

Raul (39:18): Thank you so much.

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