How to Use Referral Marketing Software as Part of Customer-led Growth

Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing through referral programs is one of the most cost-effective ways to gain new customers and drive sales. 

However, many businesses face challenges in unlocking the full potential of their referral programs when relying on in-house development — often due to cumbersome manual processes and technological roadblocks. 

Referral marketing software is a streamlined approach to WOM marketing that features user-friendly interfaces, in-depth customization options, and robust tracking capabilities. These tools enhance the efficiency of referral programs, enabling businesses to overcome the limitations associated with in-house development and achieve optimal results for their referral marketing strategies.

Knowing where to start and picking the right criteria can feel overwhelming, so we made it easy for you. Look for a referral marketing software solution that:

  1. Saves your team time 
  2. Offers cross-platform consumer engagement 
  3. Prevents unqualified referrals 
  4. Personalizes and segments 

1. Saves Your Team Time

Referral marketing software that automates program execution and data management can reduce the time spent managing referral programs by up to 90%. This increase in efficiency frees you up to focus more on generating the most strategic, creative content possible — instead of rushing just to get something out the digital door.

Without automation, you will have to manage consumer data across multiple spreadsheets. This is not also time-intensive but also introduces a risk of inaccuracy. These errors can translate to poor customer experiences and lost revenue for referral marketing. 

For example, you might miss out on giving an advocate their referral program benefits or send them an email with their name misspelled. With comprehensive access to clean data in advanced referral software, you decrease the chances of these mistakes and can quickly track, analyze, and optimize your referral programs.

2. Cross-Platform Engagement

Effective referral marketing software allows you to make the most of your creative campaigns by supporting various referral initiatives across digital platforms, whether through email, website content, or social media. 

This central hub helps ensure that your brand messaging is cohesive so you can more effectively attract new consumers and build your lead database. Individually managing each platform’s referral initiatives, on the other hand, is laborious and comparing campaign performance is nearly impossible since you must manually compile data from each channel. 

A strong referral marketing platform allows you to create omnichannel campaigns and track data in one comprehensive location, a place to gather insights that inform future marketing strategies.

Source: Extole

Additionally, advanced referral software typically has a variety of messaging templates you can customize to meet different goals and create more unique content that captures attention. For instance, TravelZoo UK used its advanced referral software to host a sweepstakes centered on the reciprocity principle, leading to a 51% increase in advocates, a 25% boost in signups, and a 10% increase in revenue. 

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Referral Marketing – The Best Practices You Need to Know

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3. Prevents Unqualified Referrals

Approximately 1% of referrals are unqualified, and companies can easily lose thousands from these fraudulent self-referrals or bots redeeming offers that individuals aren’t eligible for. 

One of the benefits of referral programs supported by advanced technology is built-in fraud prevention capabilities that ensure that you don’t lose money to fraud. When your referral software doesn’t have these safeguards, your best defense against unqualified redemptions is manual review by team members. Not only is this time-consuming and frustrating for your team, but there’s also a significant chance that fraudsters will slip through.

If you can’t catch unqualified redemptions, your data integrity will decrease, skewing campaign performance results and leading to less effective marketing decisions because you’re using inaccurate information. 

For example, suppose there’s an uptick in fraudulent referrals, but you believe they’re qualified leads. In that case, it might lead to honoring those fraudulent referrals, resulting in unwarranted discounts provided to non-genuine customers, not only causing immediate financial losses but also tarnishing the reputation of the referral program. Genuine customers, who might have referred legitimate leads, may feel discouraged, leading to a decline in their trust and reduced engagement with future referral initiatives. 

Implementing a software solution with fraud prevention measures like email verification and IP tracking becomes crucial in maintaining the program’s integrity and safeguarding its effectiveness.

Advanced referral software can save your team this headache with the capability to block at least 80% of unqualified referrals. The better your prevention methods, the more money you can save and put right back into your marketing spend.

4. Personalizes and Segments

When you can connect with a consumer on a human level, you foster stronger customer loyalty. As our CEO Matt Roche puts it, it isn’t just the willingness to spend, it’s the willingness to talk about the brand.

As we previously noted, a standout among referral program benefits is the convenient access to comprehensive, accurate consumer data in your software. When you’re confident in your referral program data, you can be confident in your ability to effectively segment audiences and connect with them through more relevant, customized communications.

Without personalized referral marketing messaging, you pay more to attract fewer customers. 

The most effective referral software allows you to customize your sign-up forms with specific fields outside of just a name and email. The more information you can collect about your consumers, the easier it is to provide them with an enhanced consumer experience.

For example, electronic funds transfer provider Xoom used its referral software to create the most relevant experience for its global consumers by ensuring quick access to different languages based on location.

 Source: Extole

To significantly increase the likelihood of referrals and positive user-generated content about your brand, employ a solution that offers personalization. Personalization demonstrates that you value your customers as individuals, not just numbers.

Extole: The Referral Marketing Software For Marketers 

We quantified the costs and benefits of our referral programs and found that the composite organization using our software experiences :


  • A 282% ROI over three years
  • Time savings of 90% for marketing team members
  • An 80% reduction in unqualified redemptions
  • A 150% increase in average order value for referred customers
  • A 75% year-over-year increase in converted leads


With Extole, you have a customer-led growth and engagement platform that is purpose-built for customer engagement and features real-time content delivery, flexible APIs, and enterprise-grade security.


Extole features all of the things you need in referral marketing software: 


  • More Customers and More Customer Engagement: Extole can help you double or triple the conversions from advocates who share your brand.
  • Ease of Use and Implementation: Enjoy operational efficiency and immediate ROI thanks to Extole’s services, flexibility, and automation. 
  • Higher Quality Customers, Less Fraud: With Extole, your brand is protected from unqualified participation in referral, advocacy, and engagement programs.


Unlock the power of your customers’ engagement and advocacy today with Extole’s industry-leading expertise and technology.

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