Do you want your clients or customers to tell their friends about you? Since people are 4x more likely to purchase when referred by a friend, every business should strive to get referrals.
Nowadays, many brands have dedicated referral programs where they incentivize customers to bring referrals. However, having a good referral program is just the initial step. You need to promote it to encourage more customers to participate in it.
In this guide, you’ll learn to identify the best referral marketing touchpoints and optimize your outreach campaigns for better engagement.
Why Does Your Business Need Referral Marketing?
Regardless of its type or size, every business should have some sort of referral program in place. The scale of your referral marketing campaign can vary from something as small as sending emails asking for referrals to implementing full-fledged referral and reward programs.
Let’s look at some reasons your business needs to leverage referral marketing.
1. Zero-Cost Marketing
Referral marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies out there. You don’t need to spend money on ads, or other paid marketing methods. All you need to do is encourage your clients to recommend your product/service to their friends or family members.
However, if you’re serious about getting more referrals, implementing a full-fledged referral program will be a better idea. You can incentivize your loyal customers for acquiring new customers. This will encourage and motivate them to refer you to the maximum number of people.
2. Increase Brand Awareness
Referral marketing is directly proportional to brand awareness. When people talk about your brand with others, more people learn about you and your products. This increases awareness and increases your chances of getting conversions in the long run.
3. Build Trust
Close to 30% of millennials won’t try a product if their friends disapprove of it. People trust the opinion of their family and friends. Hence, referral marketing is a great way to build trust for your brand and product/service. When people trust you, they’ll be more comfortable buying from you.
4. Get More Sales
Since word-of-mouth powers 20-50% of all purchasing decisions, referral marketing can dramatically increase your conversions and revenue. B2B companies that leverage referral marketing enjoy a 70% conversion rate and 69% shorter sales cycles.
5. Increase Customer Retention
Referral marketing increases not only sales but also customer retention. Referred customers have a 37% higher retention rate and 16% higher customer lifetime value (LTV) than non-referred customers. Since customer retention plays a pivotal role in the sustainability of a business, companies should deploy referral marketing to improve retention.
Important Touchpoints for Referral Marketing
As established in the previous sections, every business needs to have some sort of referral marketing strategy. But how do you build one? The initial step in designing any referral marketing outreach campaign is identifying the most important channels and touchpoints.
Let’s look at a few crucial referral marketing touchpoints you can’t ignore.
1. Social Media
Before delving into the importance of social media, let’s understand the logic behind word of mouth. A person uses your product and loves it. When they hang out with their friends later, they tell them about the amazing experience they had.
Social media is the favorite hangout spot for people in today’s digital age, especially for GenZ and millennials. When people use a product, they share their experiences on social media.
If your customers share good remarks about your product/service on social media, your job is done. With over 3.6 billion people using social media, the potential reach is massive.
While the younger generation is inclined towards social media, Gen X and baby boomers love email. 92% of baby boomers learn to engage with websites advertised to them by email. Though email is highly effective for reaching middle-aged and older adults, you can use it to reach almost everyone.
3. Mobile Messengers
Businesses can’t afford to ignore mobile messengers like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp for getting referrals. With mobile usage skyrocketing, people are on their mobile phones almost all the time. Hence, leveraging mobile messengers can help you enhance your referral marketing outreach.
4. Referral Widgets
Including referral widgets on your website is an effortless way to encourage your customers to refer your product/service to others. You can have a widget on the Thank You page, asking a customer to refer you to a friend after they make a purchase.
5. Dedicated Referral Programs
Finally, you can have full-fledged referral programs that incentivize customers to bring new customers. In return, you can reward the referring customers by offering them discounts or other perks. You can also give them real money.
HubSpot, a marketing automation provider, has a referral program that pays 15% recurring or 100% flat commission to the affiliates.
How to Optimize Your Referral Marketing Outreach Campaigns in 7 Easy Steps
Once you have a referral program in place, you need to get more participants to sign up for it. This boils down to clear communication and taking a customer-centric approach. Here are proven strategies to optimize your referral marketing campaigns.
Step 1: Incentivize Your Customers
If your customers love your product or service, they’ll recommend you to their friends without asking for anything in return. There’s nothing wrong with asking for free referrals, but offering incentives gives people extra motivation to refer you to others. 81% of customers are more interested in engaging with a brand that has a reward program. Therefore, it’s critical to implement a clear incentive structure.
You can offer two types of referral incentives: monetary and non-monetary. Monetary rewards are direct cash, as we saw in the HubSpot example. It’s a straightforward way of rewarding, where your customers bring referrals and earn money.
Non-monetary rewards include everything apart from real money. These could be loyalty points, free product upgrades in the case of software products, discount codes, etc.
Monetary rewards are more appealing to people, as they can use the earned money as they like.
Offering double incentives can further boost the performance of your referral marketing outreach campaigns. Double incentives mean the referrer and the referred user both get rewards. When you offer double incentives, the referred user will also have a clear motivation to purchase your product.
Step 2: Make Things Unique and Personalized
Customizing and personalizing your referral marketing interactions can help you get more engagement. If you use emails to ask for referrals, ensure that you address the recipient by their name and include something unique to them. For instance, you can remind them of a product they bought and if they’d like to recommend it to their friends.
Doing so sends a clear message that you know your customers and their preferences. When customers feel you understand them, they’re more likely to be loyal to you and recommend you to their friends.
Step 3: Make Everything Effortless
Ease of use is essential for the success of a referral marketing outreach campaign. Time is a limited resource. If your referral program is complex and time-consuming to sign up for, your customers won’t bother enrolling for it, even if you offer great rewards.
Therefore, focus on creating an effortless signup process. Having a simple signup form asking for the name and email address is enough. If you need more information, you can ask for it after a customer joins the program.
Step 4: Identify the Right Channels
As discussed a few sections earlier, you can use various touchpoints and channels to increase the outreach of your referral program. Choosing the right channels boils down to knowing your customers well.
Learn about the channels your customers use and also the channels that are bringing referrals for your business. Include those touchpoints in your referral marketing strategy to increase your outreach.
It’s also important to keep creating new touchpoints to get more referrals. Are your customers beginning to talk about your brand on Reddit? Maybe build a subreddit to promote your referral program.
Step 5: Promote Your Referral Program
Once you have decided on the incentives and channels, you need to spread the word for your referral program. While many of your loyal customers will find your referral program organically, you’ll need to promote it if you want to get more participation.
Here’s where running dedicated outreach campaigns comes into the picture. Here are a few strategies you can use to get more participants for your referral program.
- Send emails to your existing customers inviting them to join the program.
- Post about your referral program and its incentives on social media.
- Use a referral widget with a prominent call to action on your website.
- Show pop-ups requesting referrals right after a customer completes a purchase.
Here’s a pro tip. QR codes can help you increase your referral program’s outreach. When a customer signs up for a referral program, you can give them a custom QR code to share with their friends. Link the code to your website. If anyone scans the code to reach your website and buys a product, it’ll be counted as a referral. This way, you can replace referral links and codes with QR codes.
It’s equally important to have an intuitive web page for your referral program. It should clearly communicate the incentives customers will get for referring others and how they can sign up. Be sure to mention any additional information about eligibility criteria, loyalty tiers, etc.
Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, does a great job at inviting people to join its referral program. The page clearly states that users can earn 40% commission when their referred users start earning. Below, there’s a solid call to action — Start Earning Now.
Step 6: Prioritize Superior Customer Experience
Happy customers make a referral program successful. When people buy from you, they expect top-notch product quality and supportive customer service. However, don’t restrict yourself from going the extra mile for them. Find a way to exceed your customers’ expectations.
Doing small things like sending them a birthday gift or offering them a free one-month upgrade can go a long way in enhancing their experience and turning them into brand advocates.
If you take away one thing from this guide, let it be this: The happier your customers are, the more successful your referral program will be.
Step 7: Keep Improving
Finally, keep improving your referral program. You have done the heavy lifting by developing a winning referral program and getting customers to participate in it. Now, look for opportunities to improve and optimize your referral program.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Add new incentives or upgrade the existing ones.
- Identify new touchpoints.
Automating your referral program can help you get more participants. Many software solutions, like Referral Factory and Invitereferrals, allow you to automate your referral programs and make them more effective.
Referral marketing is one of the most powerful business drivers in this era when people rely on recommendations more than anything else. Having a robust referral program and effectively promoting it can help you attract more brand advocates and increase the number of referred customers. If you don’t have a referral program yet, now is the right time to build one.
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Akshay is a marketer and a startup enthusiast exploring the myriad avenues of everything marketing. At Beaconstac, he enables companies to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds through the use of custom QR codes.