Today I am presenting another written interview with Michael of the Voice of Friends platform.
They offer local business owners a way to benefit from recommendations via their network by combining recommendations with Welcome and Thank-you Vouchers. This has the benefit of zero upfront cost for local marketers and friends to get Thank-you vouchers for successful recommendations to their friends.
Check out the interview:
- How did you get the idea to start voice of friends? Tell us your story.
Voice of Friends is a project of Friends for Friends. It all started after we planned to visit San Sebastian in Spain in summer 2014. San Sebastian is known for the great landscape, the beautiful old town and especially for tasty Tapas places. As soon as we told our friends that we were going to San Sebastian, they recommended several great tapas places we should try.
We got there on a Friday and the weather was great with a lot of people in the streets and we tried to remember and look for some of the great places our friends had recommended. Unfortunately we couldn’t find any of them…
Based on that we thought there must be an easy way to find the best places in town recommended by our friends without looking up old emails, Facebook post or Whatsapp messages… Of course we could use common rating pages, Google Search but how would we know that these are the best places our friends liked instead of the places that spend most on advertisement…
That’s the reason why we developed Voice of Friends. Our friends just see what we recommended to our friends or what our friends recommend to us.
- Tell us how Voice Of Friends work for friends? and how it benefits companies?
Voice of Friends is super easy to use. New friends just register or use Facebook login at app.voiceoffriends.com and after the login they just identify the place they want to recommend. We work with the Google Maps and allow the selection of more than 100 million places.
After the place has been selected only the friend needs to be chosen and the recommendation is ready to go. Optionally they can share a personal message with their friends and preview the message that will be sent. The message will then be delivered to the friend and include all important details about the place including the address, website and phone number which allows them to also directly call the place. The best part the message also contains a Google Map with the exact spot – No more searching for the street or house number – you see know instantly where it is.
- How are the benefits companies and how do you monetized the platform?
For companies we offer a separate access via https://www.vof.marketing. We offer companies to win new clients by supporting word of mouth recommendations. It’s important to highlight that friends of existing loyal clients have a very high likelihood to also become loyal clients in future. This is visible if you compare retention rates of daily deal sites (~1-2%) versus Word of Mouth Recommendations (~8-10%). Therefore each recommendation among Friends is a unique chance to attract also a new loyal customer.
Therefore companies can add via the VoiceOfFriends platform Welcome and Thank-You Vouchers to each recommendation. These vouchers will be add the bottom of each recommendation and provide an additional incentive for the receiver to try out the recommended place.
Each recommendation and voucher will be saved for the user permanently. So it remains available on the platform for the potential client till he turns the voucher into sales! The platform will be monetized by a commission fee for every successful recommendation that results in direct turn-over. We don’t work with registering fees, monthly charges or other hidden cost. It’s simply based on long term sustainable success. We provide help and guidance to companies to design the vouchers to make them attractive.
- How have you gone about finding new companies to sign up for the platform, how many are involved so far?
The whole concept about Voice of Friends is based on the principle that a B2C company is providing an outstanding service to their clients to be recommended. Especially small businesses and local businesses don’t have the budget for massive marketing so therefore we approach businesses that provide best in class service and offer them to win new clients with Voice of Friends. So far we are still in an early stage but have reached already ~50 customers within few weeks. In parallel also our website (www.vof.marketing) and Blog are online (blog.voiceoffriends.com) which provide more details about Voice of Friends and referral marketing.
- What are your future plans for 2015 and beyond?
Our plans for the next months and beyond are to fine tune our interface and ensure more and more recommendations turn into new loyal clients for local businesses. To do that we want to finish our Beta phase and focus on customer growth and fuel the roll-out. We are currently also looking for great marketers with experience referral marketing and local businesses. Feel free to contact us via [email protected]