When you launch a customer referral program, you’re encouraging your advocates to share your product with their network of friends and family. On average 29% of your advocates go on to share, but the vast majority don't.
It doesn't matter how great your product is or how engaging and rewarding your referral program is, if advocates don't share it, customer acquisition suffers.
To make sure that your customer referral program reaches as many people as possible, advocates need to be aware of the program and the benefits they can enjoy through it. One way to bring awareness to your referral program is through promotion.
Effective promotion of your referral program leads to increased exposure, which improves the chances of advocates sharing it and boosts customer acquisition. To help you develop an effective promotion strategy, we've created this four-part checklist to get you started.
1. Use your homepage to introduce your customer referral program.
Your homepage is your most valuable piece of real estate. It’s the first page your customers land on when they have to use your product or access information and resources. This amount of exposure makes your homepage the best place to promote your customer referral program because even if advocates don't visit many other pages on your site, at least they're aware of the program.
Advocates already use your product, so placing your referral program on the homepage makes it easier for them to participate. Make sure that the call to action (CTA) is clear and the offer itself is clear and concise.
The referral program in this example from Hanna Andersson simply states “Save 20% when you refer friends and family” followed by a “Refer a Friend” button. The offer is clear and to the point.
Experiment with where you place the referral program details. For example, test placements like the:
- Header. Include a banner or a slider at the top of the page.
- Body of the page. Dedicate a section of your homepage to briefly explain the program, the benefits, and the process.
- Footer. Include a link to your referral program page within the footer menu on the homepage.
It doesn't hurt to have more than one placement on your homepage to remind advocates of the offer. If there's a lot of other content already on your homepage — like product features, benefits, customer testimonials, and more — then focus on using the placement that drives the most traffic to your referral page.
2. Tap into your email list to promote your referral program.
Your email database is full of people who have raised their hands and said they want to hear from you. Communication with them includes anything from general product updates to sharing available resources and everything in between.
Another way to use your email marketing campaigns is to promote your referral program by asking customers on the list to refer their like-minded friends. By tapping into your database and sharing the program, you increase your chances of getting in front of your advocates' network of friends and family. The likelihood that your customers’ friends will participate in the referral marketing program is high since trust has already been established.
Make it easy for advocates to share the program by including a link to your referral page or, better yet, a personalized referral code that they can forward to their network. It's important to promote the offer, but the key here is to make sharing the referral program as easy as possible so that more advocates get involved.
3. Post-purchase offers a prime opportunity to maximize sharing.
Your customers feel great after they’ve clicked “Submit Order” to complete their purchase. They're connected to your brand now and believe in the value your product offers. They also believe that it will solve a problem they're experiencing or meet a need.
The moments after customers buy something are a prime time to remind customers to share that good feeling with their friends. They've just bought something, and now you've given them an invitation to not only buy more but to save money — or receive another kind of incentive — for doing so.
After customers buy something, use the purchase confirmation page to promote your customer referral program. For example, at the bottom of the order summary, ask a question like, “do you want to save $25 on your next purchase?” and include a link to the referral program page on your website.
Again, make the referral process short and simple. Customers have just taken the time to purchase something, so consider their time. A few ways to keep them engaged post-purchase is to:
- Provide a personalized link with their order confirmation and a way to easily share the program with their network.
- Link to the referral details page on your website and autofill fields with customer information so that all they have to do is enter the email addresses of people in their network.
- Include an option in the referral CTA to share the program via mobile. Mobile shopping is on the rise with roughly 40% of transactions taking place on mobile devices, so consider adding an option to share the referral program on mobile devices to increase the likelihood of advocates sharing the program and referred customers getting involved.
By promoting your customer referral program post-purchase, you increase the potential for brand affinity, advocate sharing, and new customer acquisition.
4. Use social networks to expand your program's reach.
Use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram to promote your customer referral program. Since these networks allow you to directly target the people who choose to follow up, they offer an incredible advantage to get your program and products in front of your target audience.
What's great about social media is that what interests your followers likely also interests some of their followers as well. So when you share and promote your referral program with followers, chances are your offer will resonate with some of their followers as well.
[Source] One option is to create an offer on your Facebook page and give customers the option to share it.
In order to increase the click-through rate and conversions:
- Make sure to include a clear CTA in each one of your social media posts and updates.
- Make it clear what’s in it for customers who participate and their friends.
- Include a link to the referral page on your website.
Start by posting across all of your social media platforms and test which ones have the highest engagement and click-throughs. The platform or platforms with the best results are likely where your customers spend the most time on social media.
Create customized promotion strategies for each platform you choose to use. The goal is to get click-throughs and advocates to participate in the program, but consider using one approach for Twitter and another for Instagram. Base your strategy on how customers use the platform — for example, if customers respond to images of customers enjoying your product, use Instagram to create fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) — and use these formats to promote your referral program.
Steps to a successful promotion campaign
Once you're ready to promote your customer referral program, make sure you have clear CTAs, highlight why your customers should participate and the benefits to their friends. By using your homepage, email list, purchase confirmation page, and social media accounts to promote your program, you help drive the highest level of participation and success.
To learn more about how to set up a referral program, download our 2018 Referral Best Practices Guide HERE.