Odds are— you’re thinking of implementing a referral program. You heard so much about it.
Better still, you have one implemented already.
But, the results are far from perfect. Whether you’re just getting started or already knee-deep in it, this guide is designed to help you wade the waters and come out successful.
Let’s begin with an example that shows how powerful referral marketing can be.
You might be familiar with the name Harry’s. Its incredible growth and success is the stuff of legends. It’s a men’s grooming company. Specifically— they sell men’s razors and blades. Harry’s is a hugely popular name in the men’s grooming industry and they owe most of their success to referral marketing.
Even before launch, they had over 100,000 signups to their list, ready to order on day one
Thanks to a referral marketing campaign they set up on their coming soon page, anybody who referred others stood to gain free shaving products.
Now they have $600 million in revenue and over 400 employees— and loyalty marketing continues to be their biggest strategy for driving leads.
Referral marketing works. And here’s how to implement it.
How to Implement Referral Marketing For Your Business
When you hear of referral marketing do you automatically imagine it as something requiring a lot of hard work? Fortunately, with tools, they need not be so. I broke it down into a simple five-step process that lets you implement a referral marketing for your venture.
1. Provide Exceptional Customer Service And Buying Experience
It simply boils down to a single thing. Is the product is worth sharing with friends and family? Nobody’s going to share something that hasn’t worked for them.
That’s the fundamental aspect that drives referrals turning ordinary customers into loyalty engines.
TrunkClub nails this.
A core part of their customer experience begins even before the customer has had a chance to use the product. First impressions matter…a lot. And for Trunk Club, the first impression begins with the unboxing experience.
Trunk Club’s packaging looks good. It’s swanky. Trunk Club’s package is a sight for sore eyes, an experience worth sharing. There’s even a little handwritten note for the extra touch of personal care and luxe.
A great package with everything neatly tucked inside is a great photo to share on Instagram and other social networks. And savvy customers will know – that great photo would also go great with a referral link (so their friends can try, and they can get a reward too!)
In addition, customers of Trunk Club post dozens of unboxing videos on the internet – turning into a free promotion for them!
2. Make Your Products and Product Experience Sharable
That’s not to say you’re limited to unboxing experiences. Not everyone can mail packages to provide unboxing experiences. However, there’s a scope of being creative, letting you tie in compelling experiences in every business. For instance, for Boufe Boutique Cafe, their star feature is the unique dining experience they provide, where they allow customers to create their own unique cake by letting them pour the topping.
Don’t let the simplicity fool you. Hundreds of patrons find their way to remote Phoenix Park in search of that restaurant that lets them make their cake and eat it – and maybe even share it themselves on their own Instagram. Social proof is the best word of mouth marketing.
3. Make Referral Marketing Front And Center Of Your Site.
Make it easy for customers to share word of mouth. If the menu button for referrals is tucked deep inside your homepage or in the footer where no one goes to— customers will never know about your program, and you’re going to have a hard time getting people to talk about you. People are already looking for the referral program. Make it discoverable by adding it where it’s noticeable.
Here’s an example:
Simply put, the ‘join our referral program button’ should be in an important place – and should have potent wording
4. Implement A Referral Program By Finding What Works
A well-crafted referral program can get people talking about your brand. There are many different ways to go about it. You could offer a tiered program with tiers offering incremental benefits as customers progress and rake up additional points. There could be a simple points system without tiers.
This is from ReadyToTalk. You can do something similar by offering rewards through a referral or loyalty program.
Make sure to teach customers how to make referrals – don’t assume they all know how to!
Before launching the referral program the team at ReadyTalk relied on email campaigns to get referrals. But those campaigns failed to make any dent.
The campaigns fell flat because they weren’t personal enough.
Talking to account managers and customer support representatives, Bo (the owner) realized they had a lot of customers who wanted to send referrals but they didn’t know how to go about it. The problem wasn’t with the product. The problem was in the way they executed their loyalty marketing program.
Most of them(customers) hadn’t participated in any loyalty programs before and so weren’t clued in to the inner workings.
ReadyTalk launched an advocate marketing program called Summit Club. The program made it easy for ReadyTalk to generate referrals, and boost brand awareness.
ReadyTalk recognized that giving customers an organized structure, a platform that recognizes them for what they’re already doing is the simplest way to get them talking about the brand.
For customers, the biggest plus to Summit Club was the educational content up for grabs and the networking opportunities it opened up to build and nurture connections with other marketers.
This helped the referral process and churned out quality leads.
With the program, they ended up with great referrals that generated them additional business. The process was quicker and faster.
What took days before (get referrals) and resulted in tiny numbers took mere hours now.
5. Capitalize on influencers
Influencers can drive sales and traffic and referrals. Period. Find ones whose audience closely match your customers
I generally prefer finding and working with micro-influencers. They may have fewer followers but what they do have are engaged and eager to listen to them.
A popular blogger, someone in a niche industry, and a YouTuber are great examples.
Tom’s of Maine partnered with micro-influencers for posts on Instagram. With this, their engagement rates shot up by over 600%
The campaign generated 6,496 likes, comments and shares on posts on an average for each of the 1000 micro-influencers, reaching more than 1.72 million people online.
With relatively low investment they could access a broader audience and generate interest for their product.
Referral marketing is powerful. How well you use depends on how well executed your strategy is. Referral marketing stands along with the likes of search engine optimization or content marketing in driving leads.
Still better, you pay only when you have leads coming in. It’s win-win-win.
BONUS: How To Find Sites To Get Promote Your Referral Program
There’s no need for expensive analytics engines to understand if you’re already getting referrals. Google Analytics has a referrals module built inside. You can access it from the Acquisition section followed by All Traffic.
You get to see sites you have links on and the amount of referral traffic each site is sending you. You get to see the referral sources based on the levels of visitors each one is sending. You can even track and find out if these visitors are converting.
You get a deep insight into the sites referring you the most traffic. And, if you have a referral program, you’ll get insight too into what social networks your customers are spending the most time on, too!
With this, you can decide whether to reach out to them for more opportunities or ask them to join your referral program to drive even more referrals and campaigns.
Finally, here’s how referral marketing may fit your business
Referral marketing is a powerful and important component that’s as important as search engine optimization or content marketing. What’s more, you only pay when you get people coming. There’s a sense of tangibility in it that’s difficult to replicate in any other marketing program.