“Once your infrastructure is in place, how do you create a scalable customer acquisition network for your business?” This is the question that Eric Nalbone, Head of Marketing for Drum, helps small to mid-sized businesses such as restaurants answer every day.
Founded in late 2019, Drum is a referral-based marketing solution that enables companies to track their word of mouth referrals in a way that rewards customers for talking about their business. Any business can set up an offer on Drum for their influencers, or “drummers” to share with their friends and family. Once the referral is complete, the drummer can receive a small commission for their referral. Types of offers include sending gift cards, encouraging sign-ups for a service, or simply letting a friend know about the juicy steak they would love.
“Word of mouth comes from people you know and trust and people who know you, and that gives you a much better recommendation,” Nalbone explained. “There’s always going to be a place for aggregated opinions. But once everything is on the internet and is highly rated, you decide because people help you decide.” Drum serves as a hotbed of micro-influencers, each with a specific set of friends that appreciate their recommendations. “When you think about what it is you know and love, the people who know you know best. If I go on Yelp and look for the best steakhouse in a city, there’s so many places. I far prefer the recommendation of a friend who says ‘go here and get the ribeye.’”
Nalbone, who has over a decade of experience building and promoting tools for small businesses, believes that now is the perfect time to invest time revamping neglected aspects of your company. Consider large manufacturing companies such as Boeing, GE, and Ford, who schedule plant-shutdowns in order to dedicate time to larger projects that simply could not be completed with intermittent work. Particularly for restaurants that are working in a minimized capacity due to today’s circumstances, perhaps it is time to take advantage of their own “plant-shutdown” by investing in digital tools such as a better website or referral-based marketing program. These small investments have the potential to reap large rewards, especially after restrictions lessen.
Nalbone is part of a management team anchored by Rob Frohwein, Kathryn Petralia and Troy Deus who launched and have guided the highly successful Kabbage loan platform. Though Drum was expected to launch later this year, the company decided that it would be in the best interest of small businesses to release their product early.
As Nalbone noted, “If there ever was a time when businesses needed help, this was the time. If there ever was a time where people were interested in helping businesses, this is the time.” Because of the current market landscape, Drum has launched with zero platform fees for a limited time. For now, the only fees a company incurs are the commissions paid to its drummers.
If you are a restauranteur or operator interested in placing an offer on Drum, you can visit their website to sign up. Conversely, you can sign up to be a drummer to start referring others to businesses you care about. Drum also provides a chat assistant on their website to help you with any technological issues or questions that may arise.