Airbnb has a great referral program. It looks good. And it works. If you click a share link or enter in a referral code, you’ll receive your discount. Sounds simple enough, but trust us, it’s more than we can say for some others we’ve come across… More than that, Airbnb has done an impressive job making the referral consumer experience an enjoyable one.
The most effective referral programs are those that feel personal. When a referral program doesn’t feel personal, it ends up having the same effect as your other marketing strategies, missing out on the distinct benefits that referrals bring to the table. Higher AOVs, higher LTVs, and the increased likelihood that referred friends go on to refer others themselves, are just a few of them.
The takeaway? To maximize performance, and to bring the best customers to your brand, make your referral program as personal and genuine as you can. One way AirBnb has made referrals personal is by prominently displaying the advocate’s picture every chance they get.
But there’s always room for improvement. A personalization opportunity that AirBnb misses? Their advocate share email. Email sharing is one of the most popular and effective ways for advocates to share brands and products with their friends. But right now, when an advocate goes to share with their friends, Airbnb sends a uniform share email. Why is this a big deal?
To start, when share emails are sent from an Airbnb email address, instead of the advocate’s personal address, they’re more likely to be passed over as regular old marketing, end up in the Promotions inbox, or worse, in spam. The benefit of rectifying this issue is simple enough; referred friends are more likely to open emails from people they know. Plus, emails from personal email addresses go to primary inboxes, instead of being buried in junk mail. Airbnb is missing out on making a clear distinction between their marketing emails and personal referral program shares, diminishing the efficiency their referral program can have, resulting in lower open rates, lower click through rates, and less conversions.
Secondly, referred friends receive the same share message from Airbnb every time. This is another optimization opportunity brands can take advantage of. By allowing advocates to share in their own words with customizable messages, marketers can further empower their advocates to communicate with their friends in the way they’re accustomed to – in their own words. Not only are friends more likely to engage, but these unique shares provide marketers insights into how their customers are talking about them. Check out a few of our favorite shares from this month below.