Growth

Make Sharing Easier And Grow Your Online Business Using Word Of Mouth

Accelerate the growth of your e-commerce stores and boost the performance of your referral programs using a Contact Picker!

Quin Amorim, the host of QA Selling Online podcast  in conversation with our CEO, Jay Gibb, explores how a contact picker can be leveraged to acquire more e-commerce acquisitions via an optimized sharing workflow, and email personalization that gets you better email open rates.

Via anecdotal evidence from CloudSponge customers such as Stitch Fix, JustFab, and many more – discover just how a single button can be game-changing for any e-commerce customer acquisition campaign.

Double the performance of your referral programs in 3 easy steps Download our DIY Workbook today

Podcast Transcript

Welcome to QA Selling Online, with answers to questions about creating an online empire, promoting products or building a brand. Your host, private label and e-commerce entrepreneur, Quin Amorim.

Quin Amorim :
Welcome back to the show my friends. Today, our guest is Jay Gibb. He’s a former software engineer and he’s the founder and CEO of a company called CloudSponge. Together with his team, Jay has helped thousands of e-commerce store owners optimize their word-of-mouth sales since 2010. Yes, you heard it right, it’s word-of-mouth that is one of the most precious techniques that I love. Jay is also an expert in helping e-commerce stores build the right features to reduce your customer acquisition and increase sales. That’s what we all want. So Jay, welcome to the show.

Jay Gibb :
Thanks for having me, Quin.

Quin Amorim :
It’s a pleasure having you here, and we just talked off the air a little bit that I saw that you were in California, but you studied here next door to where I am, and you told me the stories that you grew up here in Alberta, right?

Jay Gibb :
That’s right. Yep. Calgary.

Quin Amorim :
So what made you leave? Was it a business opportunity or did you get sick of the cold weather?

Jay Gibb :
Yeah, both I guess. Yeah, no, it was a job actually. I left when I was about 21. At the time I had a pretty rare software development experience or skill. I had about 18 months of experience writing the operating system and device drivers for smart card accepting devices. Not a thing that you go to school for, you go to school for the principles and then you got to figure it out by reading a lot of manuals and stuff. The company I worked for in Calgary didn’t work out and they ended up selling all their assets and stuff to a company down here in California, and that company offered all of us contracts, and so I took it. I was 21 and that was a perfect time to take a risk and go do something crazy and so, I went for it.

Quin Amorim :
Nice. So, software development, was it your passion or was it just the job that you got and it happened?

Jay Gibb :
I guess you could call it a passion. Yeah. I mean, I was good at it. I was good at it starting in middle school and my dad always encouraged it when I was a kid and so, I did it as a hobby, so by the time I was taking computer science classes in post-secondary, I was already pretty good at it. It was a hobby and I enjoyed it so, I guess it was a passion. I never really thought about it that way, but I guess it was, yeah.

Quin Amorim :
Nice. Now I see you said your dad encouraged it. I actually had… My dad used to make fun of me because he used to see me on the computer and he had no idea and until the day he died, he knew nothing about technology. He had no idea what could be done so, he used to make fun of me that I was just wasting my time there pressing those keys.

Jay Gibb :
Yeah, no. My old man was a blue collar welder, but I got to give him credit, in the mid ’80s or whatever it was, maybe late ’80s when he saw computers being sort of retail, things that you could buy at London Drugs or whatever the stores were, where they bought computers back then. He immediately saw something in it. I don’t think he understood it, but he knew it was big. He was like, “This computer thing, whatever it is, you need to spend time on it.” So, he just bought one and we just goofed around with it and got used to it and he had no idea, he wasn’t clairvoyant about where things were going to go with it, other than just being pretty certain that it was an important invention, right?

Quin Amorim :
Yeah. Now that’s pretty cool. Do you still code today or you just give it to somebody else?

Jay Gibb :
I can read code. I can fuddle through it. I don’t spend my time doing any software development anymore. At this point I’m more entrepreneurial and working with… I do a lot of recruiting and training and product strategy and marketing and sales and all the other stuff that comes along with being a founder CEO. So, not a lot of time to actually get focused on programming anymore.

Quin Amorim :
And your company is CloudSponge, correct?

Jay Gibb :
That’s right. Yep.

Quin Amorim :
Alright so, what is CloudSponge and what does it do?

Jay Gibb :
The core of CloudSponge, the thing that everything gravitates around is integrations with all of the world’s address books. So, just think about all the places where people store their contacts: Google Contacts, Yahoo Contacts, Outlook.com contacts, Office 365, AOL, iCloud, you name it.

Quin Amorim :
So, even the weird ones like ProtonMail and…

Jay Gibb :
Some of them, yeah. Some of them come and go. I Like the ones that are ISP specific, but nowadays those ISPs oftentimes are powered by one of the ones I just listed. It’ll look like ProtonMail, but it’s powered by Office 365 in the background or whatever, so from our perspective, it looks very similar, but the ones I just listed are mostly North American ones that are popular and believe it or not AOL is still there. It’s still in the list, there’s still a material amount of activity with people that use AOL, but then we have a bunch of other ones that are popular in other countries.

Brazil and Germany and South Korea and India and China and various places around the world, they have different ones that are popular and over the years, we’ve been doing this now for 12 years, so over the years, our customers have demanded or requested different ones that we didn’t support and we’ve just basically built them all over this time. And so, we have this engine that is already integrated with all those different places and our customers can benefit from that. They basically sign up and we can provide all of those integrations in a normalized way, a way where all the data looks the same and they don’t have to do individual integrations with each of these things. They just do one integration with us and then those address books is basically being provided by their users, so we’re… it’s like a four party transaction.

It’s our customer and their user primarily, and then there’s their users address book provider, and then us sitting in the middle of all three of them. Facilitating this situation where a user, usually since your audience is an e-commerce audience, it’s usually for, let’s say a referral program, our customers want to make it so that their users can populate a field that’s a comma-separated list of email addresses of your friends or some way of getting email addresses for a referral email, they want to get those out of those address book providers, but they don’t want to build all those integrations. They don’t want to make a customer type everything one by one. They don’t want to use a mailto link, because it’s got its own challenges and so that’s where we come in, in terms of creating a super fluid experience that connects those users with whatever address book they’re comfortable with, whatever they use and making it really easy for a Shopify store or a WooCommerce store to provide an interface for their user to populate those recipient lists.

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Quin Amorim :
Let’s say I have a Shopify store and I want my customers to share with their friends, referral links or gift codes or something like that, you provide that, you put that on my site because I don’t know how to code and I don’t know how to do that. You guys put that on my site so my client can easily click on a button and it shares all of that, that’s it?

Jay Gibb :
Not exactly, but you’ll probably, on your Shopify store or your WooCommerce store, you’ll probably already have the referral thing that’s dealing with the rewards and the fraud, and you’ll be using something like: Friendbuy or Conjured Referrals or AutomateWoo or Viral Loops. There’s a whole industry of referral program platforms that manage the actual referral part and the emails that go out and all that stuff. We don’t do that stuff. What we do is we are an add-on for all of those things that optimizes the email entry field. Literally that one field for all of those platforms. You don’t want your user to have to type in their friends’ email addresses because if, hopefully they’ve got one email address memorized, but most people don’t, so immediately you’re going to lose them.

They’re going to open another tab, they’re going to go to a different computer or look at their phone. They’re going to do something that is friction, that’s annoying and error prone, in order to populate that field with their friends’ email addresses, and if they’re on a mobile phone, they’re not going to have the patience to do 10 or 20 or 50 of them. It’s just not going to happen. The only way to get some real performance out of a field like that is to make it convenient and let people select people out of their address book, and so that’s where we live. That’s our job, that’s our entire company is focused on the problem of making it super easy for people to take the contacts out of their address book and use them on our customers’ websites.

In this case, we’re talking about referral programs, but sometimes that’s populating a CRM or populating a recipient list for a wedding registry or a Christmas card or something like that. There’s other use cases for why this data is useful, but just in the e-commerce industry or vertical, the most common one is for these referral programs, they’re currently… Anybody listening who has a referral program, more than likely what they have is either a field where their users are expected to type a comma-separated list of email addresses, or they’ve got a useless envelope icon that people click and it launches a email client mailto link, nobody uses and it’s totally untrackable and it’s useless. Basically we take those two things and we provide alternatives that are 10, 20, 50 times better.

Quin Amorim :
Now, so this… It doesn’t have any of the affiliate capabilities, this is just for the email purposes, right? So as, let’s say a Shopify store owner, I have these referral programs that are already there, so this is going to allow the customer to just enter the 500 emails that they have, they still have to log in, of course and then all these emails will be now given to my referral app to send?

Jay Gibb :
Yeah, we have a JavaScript widget or UI component that we call the Contact Picker. It looks like what you’ve seen on your phone before, where, when you’re scrolling through your contacts and it’s got the alphabet down the right margins, you can tap on the alphabet to jump to the person that you’re looking for, and there’s a search field at the top. It looks like that except it lives on a normal website and it makes it so that if a user on an e-commerce store really wants to earn a reward by inviting some of their friends, they can give the store permission to read their contacts, that all through CloudSponge, and then it gets displayed in the Contact Picker and I don’t recommend to enable the feature to select all, because that’s spammy and it just generally breaks the golden rule, in my opinion.

There’s a couple situations where I would let it go but most of the time, certainly in e-commerce, I would disable the select all option because I don’t think it’s fair, I don’t think it’s right, so you wouldn’t do that, but you would basically give that user a nice interface where they can search for all their friends one by one, either by scrolling through the alphabet or by searching for them in a search field and they select the people that they think are actually a good customer or a good potential customer for the e-commerce store, and then once they’re done making their selections, whether it’s one or 50 or however many, then they just submit the Contact Picker, it goes away and now they’re back on the Shopify or the WooCommerce site and the field is all populated with everybody they selected. Which is, without something like a Contact Picker, it’s literally impossible for that form to perform as well as it does with the Contact Picker. It’s basically a mandatory feature for good performance.

Quin Amorim :
Nice. You know what you reminded me of when you said that the feature that allows to share to all, is the early days of LinkedIn, when you first logged into LinkedIn, it would connect to our… Was it the Outlook or whatever email, and it would store all our contacts, but LinkedIn at that time, they didn’t care about the spam rules, it was sent to everybody and I had friends that I didn’t know they were getting emailed, technically by, well it was LinkedIn but through me, connect with Quin or whatever, and I have friends that would say, “Man, you got to stop sending those emails, stop”. It was every day. I’m not sending anything, but-

Jay Gibb :
Yeah, there was a lawsuit, a class action against LinkedIn for that. They’re actually a real example that gets cited pretty often in the referral marketing industry because they got in trouble basically, not necessarily for ingesting the address book because their user gave them permission to do that. What they got in trouble for was creating ghost profiles for all those people and then sending all those people reminders and emails. They basically, they took it too far. They took growth hacking too far and they got in trouble for it. Ultimately, a slap on the wrist from a monetary perspective, but a really good example of what not to do. In these situations, certainly for anybody listening that’s GDPR sensitive or a CCPA and the other different privacy regulations is, you got to do what your user is asking you to do.

Your user is asking you to send an email to their friend. They’re giving you their friend’s email address and they’re asking you, can you please send my friend a coupon or a email telling them that if they buy something, they’ll get money off and I’ll get some money off my next order or whatever, as a customer retention tool, is usually where it fits in, and then stop. Just do what your customer asked you to do. Don’t put that email address in your database. Don’t send reminders, don’t put it on your mailing list. Don’t do all this stuff that, basically follow the golden rule. Don’t do things with those email addresses that your users trusted you with, that you wouldn’t want to have done with your email address, and then if it’s still okay for you as a merchant to tell your users, hey, by the way, you can send another email now if you want to, and encourage them to do that, but have it be an action where you are actually sending those emails because your user is asking you to do it and not something that’s happening in the background.

Quin Amorim :
When they upload those emails, now let’s say it’s my store, who has access to them? Only that person that owns them or as a store owner, will I have access to those emails too?

Jay Gibb :
It’s just basically, in the browser, it comes from, let’s say Google Contacts, into the user’s browser, and then they interact with their address book inside their own browser, and then when they submit that Contact Picker, it’s obliterated, it’s not on CloudSponge servers, it’s not in their browser anymore. It’s gone and the emails that were sent to the CloudSponge customer, the Shopify or the WooCommerce store, they just basically get the email addresses that were selected. The ones that the user agreed to share and they are populated and then at that point, it’s up to the merchant to be a good actor, to behave respectfully.

Quin Amorim :
Got it. Okay. That’s perfect. Basically, if they wanted to do it again tomorrow, they would reupload their list.

Jay Gibb :
Right. Yeah. The user would, they would have to come back and do it again and yeah, there’s no memory there. Everything is obliterated as soon as the user closes the Contact Picker.

Quin Amorim :
Now, one of the things I think about is, now it’s getting harder to get anybody these days to share anything. So, unless it’s a cat video or some hate message, those things get shared like there’s no tomorrow, but if it’s something to help my business, to help somebody else’s business, those things don’t tend to be shared that often so, what are the incentives that you’ve been seeing that work out the best?

Jay Gibb :
Usually, the one that seems to be the pattern and this is definitely different for every brand, I think everybody needs to find their own recipe here, but the basic building blocks are two-sided referral programs, which means the person that you’re referring is receiving some discount. They’re receiving, let’s say a 10% off coupon or something, and then when that person makes a purchase and uses that coupon, the sender, the referrer will then get store credit for a next purchase, and that’s where the retention part comes in, where it’s like, cool now I’ve got store credit, I can go buy some more stuff at this store, because I’m sure everybody in the audience knows, anything you can do to get repeat customers, lowers all of your acquisition costs pretty dramatically. If you can create a really reliable machine for that. Those double-sided referral programs, usually they’re monetary, usually they’re attached to a transaction as being the trigger for them, like a sale, but not always.

You can get creative with it, but that’s the first building block, and then the ones that we see doing really well, occasionally, maybe a couple times a year, they’ll do a referral contest and they’ll create a crazy prize, [inaudible 00:19:58] like a $3,000 MacBook Pro or something for whoever refers the most friends and those kinds of things, when it’s a prize that somebody really wants and it’s a really valuable prize and it’s a customer acquisition, comes out of the customer acquisition budget, then that’s where people are really motivated and they really need to be able to use their address book. They really need to go and they want to select all. They want to do that thing to get as many of those possible referrals out there so they can win that prize. It’s generally not something I see, a really generous prize like that, being a standing thing that’s just always there, it’s usually a seasonal reward or a seasonal contest I mean.

Quin Amorim :
Okay. Yeah, I’ve done one of those where the main prize was actually a vehicle. So people got really interested and they really started to participate. Now, you can’t just only use email, can you also do social media share in the same way?

Jay Gibb :
Yeah. You certainly can. We have another line of products that we call Better Sharing. It’s a little bit more… It has more functionality than just a Contact Picker. It’s got some of those sharing functionalities for social media, but one of the things that is important to know about the Contact Picker is that you get, our customers get everything in the person’s address book. They get first name and last name and email address, and if there’s multiple email addresses, the user can select which one they want. There’s phone numbers. They can share that as well for if you want to do SMS campaigns, which has its own complications, but it’s certainly something that is a part of the payload that comes along with the Contact Picker. Our job is to be a data processor and be a simplification layer, an abstraction layer between all these address book sources and the end use case, and so we provide everything, and if there’s some sharing functionality that a merchant wants that involves friends’ phone numbers, then that thing can absolutely be built on top of the Contact Picker.

Quin Amorim :
Alright. So Jay, one of the things I always wanted was to be a software developer. I’ve always wanted that, but I have focus problems, so I could never study long enough to do that and I know there’s a lot of math involved in, the last time I study was accounting, financial calculation and economics, and I cannot stand numbers and anything that requires my concentration, so I don’t know how to code anything. If I have this Shopify store or let’s say a WooCommerce store, and I want to use your CloudSponge services, is it like I click a couple buttons then it’s installed or do I need to know code?

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Jay Gibb :
Both. You don’t need to know code. If you do know code, we’ve got all kinds of documentations and walkthroughs for anybody that’s at the level of being able to manipulate HTML and JavaScript, because pretty much that’s where you do all the configurations, but for somebody that is more of a no-code, a little bit more of a configuring layer, we have WordPress plugin for WooCommerce, with some add-ons for AutomateWoo and wishlist plugins and things like that, that are just point and click and paste your key and relatively straightforward stuff like that, and for Shopify, same thing. We’ve got some Shopify modules that are very easy to integrate and partners, because like I said earlier, we don’t act… The Contact Picker and the address book is useless by itself, it needs to be attached to some mechanism, some delivery mechanism like a referral program or a mailing list thing or whatever.

And so, we have partners that are excellent at probably what you would want to use. For example, Friendbuy is one of our partners. They’re huge in Shopify, like Conjured Referrals, another Shopify company that a lot of referral programs are based off of and for those guys, once you get their referral program software set up and they have people that will help you do that, then you just plug in a CloudSponge key and it’ll enable a Contact Picker and basically they’ve already done, in concert with our engineers at CloudSponge, they’ve already done all the work for you and all you really need to do is purchase a license and paste a key and it’s all up and running.

Quin Amorim :
Okay. Gotcha. It would be also, I would imagine Friend Pick, it would also be in their best interest if any of their clients were using your service, because then they would have now each client, instead of just typing, you know how lazy everybody is, they wouldn’t type things, but they would have the advantage of now everybody having 100 or 50 or thousands of emails automatically. So, do they refer your services as well, as you download something like Friend Pick?

Jay Gibb :
Yes, so it depends. We would love for that entire vertical to email me and ask me if they can be partners with us. Unfortunately, we can’t do all the work by ourselves. It needs to be a collaboration, but the ones that we do have are exactly what you’re talking about. They’re all great. They all depend on it. They all love it. Some of them will include a CloudSponge license with their license so that their customer knows nothing about us and we’re just completely white-labeled and we get paid on the back end from the partner. Others have more of a bring your own key kind of a module, of a integration style, where you get their product and then if you want to enable the Contact Picker functionality, you go get your own key from CloudSponge and bring it over and paste somewhere, and we’re comfortable doing all kinds of different integration strategies with whatever makes sense for the partner, but they’re not all the same. We’re not too prescriptive about that. We’re more collaborative and happy to do a little bit of refactoring and engineering to make something work for one of our partners.

Quin Amorim :
I see. So, as the person that is uploading their contacts, when they go to do so, do they have any message that takes away their fear of, if I upload my list now these people are going to own it and do whatever they want. Is there any message that tells them, we will not use your emails, that this is just for your own use?

Jay Gibb :
Whenever I get a chance, I always recommend that. It’s not something that would be in our interface. That’s up to our customer to provide that trust signal and have it in their privacy policy and just sort of transparently display how they’re going to use this data, but absolutely what you’re suggesting is something that we always suggest when we do our annual consultations with our customers. We go and we look at their sites and then we look at their data. One of the metrics on every customer’s CloudSponge dashboard, when they log into their CloudSponge account, is their abandonment rate, which means somebody on your site expressed some interest in sharing their contacts, and then at some point they got spooked and they just changed their minds and they stopped and they never actually got to the point where they had authenticated and given your side permission to see their contacts.

And so, we know because we’ve been doing this for a long time, we know what is the acceptable abandonment rate for a certain use cases. Every use case is different. A abandonment rate for an e-commerce referral is obviously going to be higher than the abandonment rate for a wedding registry use case. Imagine you’re a bride and you just filled up a shopping cart with $20,000 worth of things and your next task is to send that to your 200 wedding guests. Obviously the address book functionality is very, very useful for you in that situation, versus a referral comma-separated list for a $10 discount. Maybe your conviction isn’t quite so high.

So we see higher abandonment rates in some situations, sometimes it’s okay, sometimes it’s not, but when we see something that seems like it’s a little bit out of range from what is normal, then that’s one of the things I always look for. I’m like, how are you demonstrating to your users that they can trust you with the data that they’re about to share with you? Are you sufficiently motivating them to do it? Do they have enough reason to do it? And then are you making sure that they trust you by being transparent about what you’re going to do and what you’re not going to do?

Quin Amorim :
Yeah. I figured trust would be number one, and then in order to bypass the trust, you wouldn’t even need a lot of motivation or a big motivator. It wouldn’t be the $10 by itself. For example, I looked at your site and you have a live demo and the first thing I went, I directly to the button where it says, upload your thing to check it out, and then I thought about it, where are my contacts going? So, I went back and I saw you have the message. Don’t worry, we’re never going to save your contacts to our disc. We’re not going to do anything with them. I’m like, okay that’s cool. If the message wasn’t there, I would be suspicious. No, no, I’m not saying of you, but of any site that I didn’t know what they would do with my friends’ emails. So, I figured that is important.

Jay Gibb :
Very.

Quin Amorim :
So now tell me another thing, where’d the name come from, CloudSponge?

Jay Gibb :
Yeah. It’s getting a little dated now. You got to try to rewind your memory to 2009.

Quin Amorim :
Oh wow.

Jay Gibb :
Things were a lot different back then, and that’s when we started the company and the retail consumers in 2009 were just starting to get comfortable with the cloud. Prior to that your contacts were inside Outlook for desktop, or they’re inside your Mac iContacts or whatever they called it back then-

Quin Amorim :
And in SIM cards.

Jay Gibb :
Yeah. They were on your computer, they weren’t just in the cloud somewhere. It was, the whole idea of the cloud for your photos and your contact and other stuff, was still controversial. It was still something that regular people weren’t necessarily comfortable with at that time. The original seed, the idea for the company was to create a consumer product, a retail product for basically capturing a copy of your data in the cloud so that you could burn it to a disc and put it in your shelf with the rest of your DVDs and burnt CDs and stuff, because that was what we did back then. The idea was a cloud copy where look, I know you don’t trust Google Cloud yet, or you don’t trust your Photos and Flicker or whatever it was back then, but we’re going to provide a service that you can pay for so that if you give us your credentials to log into your account, we’re going to suck it all out of the cloud and put it into a standardized format and save it somewhere so that you have it.

So that if the cloud vanishes one day, which is obviously the thing everybody was subconsciously concerned about, you’ll still have your data. And so, we started down that path in like I said, 2009 and CloudSponge seemed like a really appropriate name for that, right? Makes some sense, sponging out a cloud, and as we built through it, the first module we built was the contacts, because that was the thing that we felt people were going to immediately want to pay for it, because it had real, tangible value. The next thing after that was going to be photos, and as we built the technology required to integrate with all the different places where people stored their contacts and bring it all together and normalized it and went through that, we basically discovered that there was other reasons to do that, and that’s where we ended up pivoting and taking a path where we are now with the Contact Picker because as developers, we are reading through these forums and stack overflow and Experts Exchange back then and Google developer forums and all kinds of stuff, and we’re seeing tons and tons of other developers building similar integrations and all of them, they didn’t have the use case that we’re building for.

Their use case, all these other developers that we were side by side with in these conversations, they were all building Contact Pickers and ways to ingest address books for the LinkedIn use case, for social network, finding all your friends really quickly and inviting people and that kind of stuff. Open Inviter was a pretty active open source PHP project back then. And so, it was just something that we decided that the original vision to create a retail product for sponging your data from the cloud and helping you save a copy of it locally, was less interesting than building this B2B software so that we could sell something to all these other developers that probably didn’t actually want to build these integrations themselves. So, we did it once and then we basically pitched it to these communities and those people were all of our initial customers back in 2010.

Quin Amorim :
So, they started as a competition and they ended up becoming clients, right?

Jay Gibb :
Kind of, yeah. It was something that they all wanted. They wanted the functionality, but they had other things to do and then eventually we were just like, wow, we already built this so, let’s just make a website out of it and pitch it to these guys and answer everybody’s questions in these forums and let them know, hey, we got an API for this, if you want to come use our API, and enough people were delighted to not have to do it themselves and really happy to use a vendor like us, that we were able to turn it into a thriving business.

Quin Amorim :
I could tell you right now that I have in the past, been on sites where there is some sort of compensation for sharing something but because I would have to go to my Hotmail or my Gmail, copy and paste one at a time, I didn’t do it. So, that site obviously lost, but who I was going to share with, because I definitely wouldn’t be there. I actually even remember a site where you could only have one contact at a time. So, it would be copy and paste one email, copy and paste that message send, go. I’m like, not a chance.

Jay Gibb :
Yeah, no, we’re here to solve that problem and we’re doing a great job at it already. The other thing that’s really interesting about that is in order for the e-commerce store to personalize that email, that they’re going to send to you on, excuse me, on my behalf, they would need to basically multiply the friction and make me type in your name and your email address. Right?

Quin Amorim :
Exactly.

Jay Gibb :
Because ideally, if they want you to actually open the email, they want to mention your name and my name in the email. That’s just basic email personalization 101, but it’s not practical to do that at the expense of making your users type more data and making it even harder than it already is. And so, one of the things that’s great about the address book and the Contact Picker is that you get all the data. When I look at my address book in the Contact Picker and I select you, it’s got your name, your first name, last name, email address, anything else that I stored in your contact record, already populated.

So then, with the appropriate amount of engineering by one of our partners or with one of our plugins, the email that you receive can say my name in from field and your name in the subject line and it can feel like, wow, this isn’t just some spam email from a store I’ve never heard of. This is a interesting email from my friend Jay that is mentioning my name and so, the open rates are way better and the conversion rates are way better if you use the address book payload to personalize the referral email.

Quin Amorim :
Exactly and then the way you stored that contact so, if it’s your friend, for example, Jay, if I have a nickname for you and I saved it in my contact, that’s what’s going to show up, right?

Jay Gibb :
Yeah.

Quin Amorim :
It’s going to be something like yo bro or something instead, if that’s what I’m calling you is that, so that would make it more personal of course and yeah, that is email marketing 101.

Jay Gibb :
Everybody listening knows how important email personalization is but I think most people think about it in terms of the emails that the company is sending to their own customers, and not many people really think about the personalization of referral emails, where it’s your customers sending an email to a lead or to a prospect and what kind of personalization dynamic variables can be inserted into those emails, especially with the additional payload of a entire address book to work with.

Quin Amorim :
Definitely. So Jay, for those that are listening and they want to know more, where do they go?

Jay Gibb :
I’m going to make, it might already exist, but we’re going to make a landing page for your guests. It’ll be just CloudSponge.com/qa. You can put it in the show notes for me.

Quin Amorim :
I will.

Jay Gibb :
And that page will have everything you need to know. Basically. Contact information and we have a really cool PDF, it’s a self assessment of your sharing functionality on your site, to take an inventory and audit of all the different word-of-mouth functionality that we know is important or that we’ve seen work for other e-commerce businesses, and that’s just an email address. You just put in your email and it’ll… PDF will get sent to you and that’ll be right there on CloudSponge.com/qa.

Quin Amorim :
There you go. So, guys I’ll have that on the show notes, it’s going to be CloudSponge.com/qa. I’ll also have your Twitter, which is twitter.com/CloudSponge and of course that’s easy to remember. So Jay, any other links I should have for everybody or this is it?

Jay Gibb :
Yeah. We’ll try to make it easy. Let’s just keep it all there and we’ll make sure that if you go to that page, everything you need is there. There’ll be contact information and probably a link to the recording of the podcast and all that stuff so, it’ll all be right there.

Quin Amorim :
Awesome. Jay, thank you so much and I hope everybody goes there and checks it out.

Jay Gibb :
Great. Yeah, thanks for having me Quin. It’s been a good chat.

Quin Amorim :
Thank you, it’s a pleasure.

Jay Gibb :
Bye.

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