The newest development on the marketing trend scene, referral marketing, promises loyal customers explosive visibility and astounding profits. Glorified as a way to harness the effectiveness of word-of-mouth marketing, referrals give your customers the power to spread your good word – and reward them for their services, to boot. Most businesses are dipping tentative toes in the water of referral marketing, and many like what they feel.
However, a truly successful referral marketing campaign takes more than a half-hearted “Tell your friends!” You need a plan for promotion, a guide to user gifts, smart customization strategies, and more wrapped in an easy-to-use platform your audience will love – and for all that, you need this guide.
Refer a Friend – Image by Shutterstock
To get your referral campaign started – after you set up the appropriate referral marketing software, of course – you should start with a round of direct invitations. You should compile a list of participants who will likely be active in referring your business and promoting the campaign. Typically, your initial invitations will go to:
- Business partners
- Current customers
- Past customers
Your invitations should be exciting and tempting while adhering to the established qualities of your brand. Though it may take some time to find a balance, your invitation should successfully explain how your referral program works without bogging down potential participants with too much information.
No marketing campaign – indeed, no business endeavor whatsoever – will be successful without effective promotion. After all, if your customers don’t know about your referral program, they won’t use it, and no one will benefit. Therefore, you should use other marketing tips and tricks to ensure your referral marketing campaign gets the attention it needs to thrive.
For example, you might spread the word about your referral program in the following ways:
- Dedicated emails. Loyal customers – those who are more likely to give referrals already – are probably subscribed to your email newsletters. You should send out an email blast dedicated to explaining your new program, including the amazing incentives for those who participate.
- Banners and buttons. Your website is perhaps your greatest marketing tool, and you shouldn’t let it go to waste during your referral campaign. You should place banner ads and attractive buttons leading to informative pages to pique your customers’ interest.
- In-product reminders. If you provide a digital service, add popups or popovers advertising your referral program. If you offer subscription goods, tuck a flyer into the box reminding customers of referral incentives.
Image by Shutterstock
Even your most loyal customers will only participate in your referral program if the rewards are worthwhile. Ideally, your rewards will subtly compel participants to continue engaging with your brand; for example, instead of offering cash per referral, you can offer a percentage off their next purchase from your store or a month of free services for every friend or family member who joins up.
Additionally, the incentives provided for your program boast the following qualities:
- Valuable. Adults aren’t motivated by the opportunity to win a plush toy or cheap sunglasses. Your rewards must have some value to your customers.
- Relevant. If you aren’t providing discounts on your goods or services, the items you offer should be related in some way to your brand. Additionally, your rewards should be scaled to the value of the products you offer; for example, Tesla’s program provided $1,000 to each referred-in customer, which is an appropriate sum considering their $70,000 merchandise.
- Well-timed. Participants shouldn’t have to wait months to see or use their rewards, but they should also have enough time to make plans to enjoy them. For example, a discounted vacation shouldn’t have a time limit of 30 days before expiration.
Though your marketing software might make it absurdly easy to create and manage a vast referral network, referral marketing is actually one of the more personal ways to attract business. Because participants are telling their loved ones about your brand, risking their reputations with friends, family, and coworkers for the sake of your company, they want to feel appreciated individually for their efforts.
In all your referral marketing materials, you should strive to use your customers’ names; it is a small gesture, but one that has significant impact on how your participants feel. Additionally, you might consider offering referral package options to suit different customer lifestyles and preferences.
Referral marketing is incredibly powerful – if you do it right. Like most marketing endeavors, you probably won’t create a slam-dunk campaign right away, but with reliable tools, engaged customers, and effective tactics, you can find referral success.