1 8 Steps to Initiating the Right Launch Sequence for your Referral Program
2 Contents Introduction 3 Part 1: Planning your referral program 4 Step 1: Decide who will pilot your referral program 5 Step 2: Take advantage of your sales team s know-it-alls 6-7 Part 2: Designing your referral program 8 Step 3: Design a program that fuels referrals 9 Easy registration options 10 Personalized advocate referral methods 11 Referral program management 12 Sales enablement tools Step 4: Select rewards that motivate referrals Part 3: Develop promotions for your referral program 17 Step 5: Promotional placement that prompts advocate recruitment Step 6: Promotions that propel advocate referrals Part 4: Launch and optimize your referral program 23 Step 7: Roll out your referral program 24 Step 8: Optimize your referral program outstandingly Conclusion: Oh the places you ll go... with a referral program 27 About Amplifinity 28
3 3 Referral marketing delivers ROI which surpasses traditional digital marketing solutions In fact, nearly half (43%) of marketers who regularly use referral programs have acquired 35% or more of their new customers via referrals, according to Gigaom Research s Digital Marketers Survey. That is double the percentage of new customer acquisitions through marketing. This makes perfect sense when you consider the large amount of noise your brand has to try and break through because of the over saturation of content marketing. The best way to filter out the noise is to capitalize on the trust of customers, partners, and employees by ing them to refer your company directly to prospects. Whether you re an expanding enterprise or an ambitious start up, in order to make your referral program successful you ll need to launch a program that reflects your specific business and promote it through channels that reach your advocate demographic. This e-book will explore the 8 step process of launching and promoting a referral program that empowers your business to drive revenue growth. Referral Marketing Automation Defined Referral marketing taps into your valuable customer, partner, and employee base to motivate and incentivize advocates to refer their personal and professional network to your product or service with oneto-one personalized social posts, , or offline messages. Referral marketing automation enables the automation, tracking, and attribution of referrals while streamlining the reward process to run referrals as a consistent channel for demand generation. This allows companies to reach target buyers at scale in a personalized way.
4 Part Planning your referral program
5 5 Step 1 Decide who will pilot your referral program When you re considering launching a referral program there are three types of programs you should consider. 1. Customer referral program Targets customers that want to share the value of your business with their personal and professional network. A customer referral program is an ingenious vehicle to increase customer engagement and is the most common type of referral program because it naturally taps into the customer s peer relationships that have comparable needs to their own. 2. Partner referral program Targets ambassadors and referral partners to enable them to advocate for you. When implementing a partner referral program you gain the ability of leveraging the large pool of potential ambassadors who interact with the target buyers while improving the productivity and success of current referral partners and new referral partners by easily automating the referral process. (Note You may want to consider multiple partner programs if you have different types of partners.) 3. Employee referral program Targets your business employees and incentivizes them to refer their friends and family to your business. An employee referral program is a lucrative addition to a customer or partner referral program. How to select a referral program Choose a customer referral program if you have a strong customer base who has access to potential buyers. Implement a partner referral program if you have an existing base of referral partners that are under performing. Start an employee referral program if you have a large employee base that has access to potential buyers or if your industry is restricted from rewarding customers. Additionally, an employee program would be selected if your goal is to recruit high quality employees.
6 6 Step 2 Take advantage of your sales team Sales has the most interaction with customers and partners and can therefore contribute a great deal of insight into the strategy and tactics to create a successful program. Take advantage of that knowledge and ask your sales team: 1. How are they currently getting referrals? Your business may already be acquiring referrals but not consistently. By asking your salespeople how and when referrals come in you can understand how to streamline in a way for sales to continue what is already working while leveraging technology to generate even more referral activity. 2. Can they help recruit advocates? If yes, you ll want to integrate your program into your CRM and make it an easy one-click invite from a contact record. Referral program benefits for sales Get more high quality leads View the advocate who made the referral in your CRM to call, pre-qualify the referral, and receive a warm introduction by the advocate View an advocate s activity to create positive engagement Improves the lifetime value of your customers
7 7 3. Would the sales team appreciate the ability to input referrals on behalf of advocates? When salespeople or a member of the customer success team are communicating with an advocate, there is an opportunity to ask for referrals. You ll want to consider providing the ability to input verbal referrals in order to track and attribute them to the right advocate, and make it effortless on the part of the advocate. 4. Do sales leaders want support to ensure that sales follows through on referral leads? If so, you ll want to send s to each salesperson on a regular basis that notifies them when they get a new referral lead and when their advocate has a successful referral. Referral automation software can automate this process so marketing never has to worry about manually managing the s. 5. Is sales management interested in specific program metrics to help manage their team? If yes, you ll want to include reporting dashboards on sales referral program performances so that this can be tracked. Leaderboards and rankings by teams or individuals can help motivate achievement of the goals. 6. Should you consider more than one referral program? Even if you re only catering to one advocate group, there are a number of reasons why sales might urge you to consider more than one referral program. If you have different styles of communication with different customer demographics or partners, different reward strategies to motivate behavior, or a variety of referable products, it would be advantageous to implement more than one referral program so you can tailor the advocate experience to maximize the performance of the program. 7. How should referral leads be routed? Consult with your sales leaders and consider allowing referral leads to route to the salesperson that has the strongest relationship with the referring advocate. This provides extra incentive for salespeople to develop great relationships with their customers and ask for referrals often.
8 8 Part Two Design your referral program
9 9 Step 3 Design a program that fuels referrals Determining the design decisions of your referral rocket is step 3 in launching an outstanding referral program. Your referral design decisions include: 1. Selecting a registration option that makes it easy to participate 2. Choosing referral methods that are personal 3. Picking program management tools that contribute to the ease of use 4. Choosing features that enable sales
10 10 1. Easy registration options Select a registration option that provides the lowest barrier for an advocate. Single Sign On (SSO) The lowest barrier for your advocates is to utilize SSO from a user community or subscription based product. This saves advocates time and encourages participation by leveraging credentials that they have already established to grant direct access to referral tools. Social registration Social registration is becoming more popular as a means to join the community. Few people or businesses can say that they don t have some type of social media account. This means that instead of your customers, employees, or partners having to register and create another set of credentials to access your referral program they can just use the one login that is most ingrained in their mind. Standard registration is a common choice for a partner program as it makes sense to collect tax information and mailing addresses up front to ensure tax compliance and seamless reward distribution. Program Design Tip White labeling your referral program so it carries your brand s look and feel infuses authenticity and increases advocate registration because of its identifiable branding. Standard registration If you still require a more customized single or multi-step registration process and SSO or social registration doesn t fit your business, standard registration provides exactly what you need.
11 11 2. Personalized advocate referral methods The more empowerment tools provided to advocates, the more likely they are to make referrals. In order to appeal to all advocates, consider the following referral methods when designing your program: Social sharing (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) Personalized URLs Printed cards Suggest a lead Verbal referral codes By offering advocates the option of personalizing the referral process with their preferred communication method you increase referrals made. But after your advocates make a referral, waiting to see if a referral is successful can be frustrating, especially if they don t know where in the process their referral resides. This can lead to calls to the sales team or support team if advocates don t have full transparency into the program. Provide advocates with a personal portal showing their referral activity and status to ensure a positive experience and additional referrals.
12 12 3. Referral program management Ensuring that your referral program is tax compliant and updating the program s content are two necessary features to enable easy program management. Another capability that helps take the pressure off your marketers is powerful content management. The ability for your marketers to update, edit, and optimize content and program settings without help from IT resources is important to keeping your program flying high. Once your advocates reach rewards of $599 dollars, your marketers have to start that annoying process of getting their tax information so that finance can report their reward earnings. By incorporating a tax management feature the W-9 form can be automatically sent to an advocate with their reward contingent upon completion.
13 13 4. Sales enablement tools An essential element of sales enablement is visibility. Sales teams that have the ability to view where a lead originated, who referred the lead, the success of an advocate, and if an advocate needs further nurturing empowers sales to increase the percentage of successful referrals by providing them with necessary insight. A prominent client saw the need for enhanced sales visibility and integrated their referral program data into their CRM system to allow the customer success team to view a customer s referral status before calling for their quarterly business review. This way they were able to recognize advocates for their efforts and start calls on a positive note. Client Tips A highly regarded business services client leveraged their sales team to promote their referral program with sales enablement tools that recruited advocates and nurtured referrals resulting in an 81% increase in program participation.
14 14 4. Sales enablement tools (continued) However, sales wants more than visibility in the referral program. To get your sales team helping to drive referral success, provide tools such as sales nurturing, advocate recruitment, and CRM integration. These components will enable sales to: Prioritize referral leads View the advocate who made the referral to quickly qualify Recruit advocates directly Input new referrals on behalf of the advocate Sales enablement is crucial for a company with a direct sales team or partner team that engages with advocates and results in: Increased participation by advocates and sales teams Improved quality of customer conversations about referrals Enhanced referral leads follow up With these sales enablement tools incorporated into your program design you give your salespeople the power make your referral rocket take off.
15 15 Step 4 Select rewards that motivate referrals While 83% of prospects are willing to refer, only 29% actually do (Texas Tech University). Loyalty might make an advocate willing to refer your business but rewards are the main incentives for advocates to follow through on referrals and for prospects to make the jump to becoming customers. When designing your reward process, the reward should be considered relative to your cost per lead (CPL) and cost per acquisition (CPA) while still large enough to motivate action. Some types of rewards you should consider offering your advocates are: Monetary incentives by check Bill credits Loyalty club points or brand currency Exclusive access to new products or features Charitable donations Gift cards Payroll/paycheck deposit Coupon codes Swag Once you select one or multiple types of rewards, create a reward strategy that motivates continuous advocate engagement. Consider these referral reward strategies that will enhance your program s appeal: Reward Choice Reward choice lets an advocate choose their reward. This makes the reward more personalized than a predefined reward and improves the program s performance. Double Sided Rewards Double-sided rewards reward both the advocate and their referral. This gives advocates an extra incentive to refer as they will provide value to their contact.
16 16 Multi-Stage Rewards Multi-stage rewards spread out the time period that the reward is distributed. This is highly useful when a business has a long sales cycle or when the definition of a successful referral includes a retention period. Multi-stage rewards keep the advocate engaged and incentivizes them to participate in helping close the sale. For example, let s say that a business offers a $100 reward to an advocate upon a successful referral. If a referral is only considered successful upon staying with the business for three months it leaves the advocate waiting a long time to receive that reward and makes it less likely for an advocate to continue referring during that three month period. But if the fulfillment of the reward is split up so the advocate receives $25 upon their referral becoming a customer and the remaining $75 when their referral has stayed with the business for three months, the $25 will keep the advocate engaged in the referral program and continue to encourage referrals while they wait for the remaining $75. Consider implementing one or more of these three reward strategies to give your referral program the power to offer and deliver rewards that motivate and excite advocates to refer.
17 17 Part Three Develop promotions for your referral program
18 18 Step 5 Promotional placement that prompts advocate recruitment No matter which promotional channel you use, the best practices for messaging are universal. Be very clear as to what you ask for (a referral) and what your advocates can get by taking that action (the reward). For instance, a large SaaS client offered up their reward at the front of their promotions resulting in increased involvement in their referral program. This leaves the question of where you re promoting these incentives to your advocates. Here are 7 promotional channels divided by the type of program (customer, employee, or partner) that they empower.
19 19 Promotions for customer, employee, and partner programs 1. Homepage The homepage of a website is a key place to let customers, employees, and partners know about a referral program. This same concept applies to the homepage of your employee intranet or partner portals when recruiting employee or partner advocates. 2. Current campaigns are an exceptionally effective way to promote a referral program and build awareness by including a link to the program in the footer. In addition to your current campaigns, create dedicated s that emphasize the benefits of your referral program. If you have regular newsletters, make sure the program is advertised in a prominent location. Promotions for customer and partner programs 1. Targeted Display and Banner Ads Targeted display and banner ads can be placed on vertical or relevant pages for customer and partner programs. This is an especially promising technique for partner programs because of the opportunity to find the types of partner advocates you re searching for on vertical websites. 2. Online Product or Account Center If a business has an online subscription product or an account page for specified groups of advocates, promoting your referral program through it is ideal. By placing calls to action along the side, bottom, or top of the page you can take advantage of the visibility. 3. User Events User events are an exceptional way to interact with customers and partners on a personal level and establish a face to face relationship. By adding a kiosk to a user event you gain the ability to bring customers directly to it and register them for your program in person while gaining the opportunity to encourage referrals immediately.
20 20 Promotions exclusively for customer programs 1. New Customer Invite The completion of a purchase is a great time to ask your customers to participate in your referral program. A security company recognized this through observing that their customers are happiest just after they have their system installed. In response to that information, they automated a triggered invite into the program when a customer responds positively in their customer satisfaction survey. This automated event became the top way advocates were recruited into the program. 2. Sales Invite Empowering sales with the tools to invite advocates to a referral program directly from a CRM will allow you to invoke the relationship and trust a salesperson has built with their customers. That personal relationship makes customers more willing to accept the invite as opposed to a mass invite to your whole database.
21 21 Step 6 Promotions that propel advocate referrals Promoting to already established advocates is just as important as promotions that aim to recruit advocates. Here are six different kinds of promotions that further incentivize advocates to refer: 1. Sweepstakes Adding the additional incentive of an entry into a sweepstakes every time an advocate makes a new referral increases an advocate s motivation to refer. This can be especially useful seasonally, when coming to the end of a busy season or during a slow growth period. A large telecommunications client ran a promotion where any customer who made a referral was entered in a drawing to receive an ipad. The result of this promotional strategy was a significant increase in referral activity. 2. Tiered Rewards Tiered rewards offer advocates rewards that increase as the amount of successful referrals increase. This drives repeat engagement in the referral program as a result of the increased incentives offered. For instance, a large cable company doubled the amount of bill credits rewarded once an advocate achieved 3 successful referrals. This increased repeat participation in the program. 3. Special Offers Special offers are great to promote at any time. It allows you to reengage your advocates by offering them a deal that s too good to pass up. A client that provides a business management solution created a countdown clock for advocates that built a sense of urgency and encouraged increased referrals to get the special offer. The result was increased engagement in their referral program.
22 22 4. Promote with sales and customer success Enable sales and customer success with the data on the advocate activity in the program so they can help define the ideal prospect to refer and encourage more referrals with each interaction they have with advocates. 5. Retargeting Marketing should track all program metrics and use that data to encourage referrals. Key targets would be special offers to top advocates or communications to advocates who logged in, but didn t make a referral. 6. Automated reminders Automated s reminding advocates of their referral program activity and status can also help to encourage program engagement. Client Tips A home security client regularly saved families from burglary and carbon monoxide poisoning. They understood that this success created an opportune time to ask the members of the family to become an advocate and refer. By making the ask during a point of brand excitement they obtained higher commitment and involvement in their referral program.
23 23 Part Four Launch and optimize your referral program
24 24 Step 7 Roll out your referral program Once you re ready to launch your referral program marketing, sales and customer success needs training to integrate your program into their process. This training should include: The program structure and reward How the program will be promoted to the advocates Clear definition around the role of marketing, sales and customer success in the program Any changes to the lead assignment rules/process How to view referral leads in their CRM Where to see if a lead comes from a referral How to view an advocate s activity so you can be informed of their success (or failures) before engaging with them How to interact with advocates to get information about their referral How to invite advocates to the program When the right time is to make an ask for a customer to become an advocate or an advocate to make more referrals When and how advocate ownership should be transferred to the customer success team (If applicable) In addition, you ll need to roll out advertisements that make a large impact to capture your advocate s attention. Make sure that you: Get creative with your promotions Emphasize both the advocate and prospect reward Advertise 24/7 Change your promotional message up often Create special promotions for specific times of year or events Use every one of your available channels to promote your referral program
25 25 Step 8 Optimize your program outstandingly To craft a referral program that keeps you in the know make sure to regularly check key reports in order to optimize your program. These reports should include: ROI Dashboards An ROI dashboard empowers a brand to quickly see the referral program s progress and the channels that are serving the referral program best. This is a good place to start to see if you have any trends that can be improved. Metrics like the value of each advocate, revenue of each advocate, and the number of successful referrals by month and year are only some of the metrics that empower the ROI dashboards. Touchpoints Touchpoint management tracks the effectiveness of promotions that recruit advocates. This allows for promotion adjustments to be made to maximize enrollment. Client Tips A telecommunication client ran a report on the top advocates that are referring and contacted them individually by phone to thank them and show their appreciation for their efforts, resulting in increased involvement in the program.
26 26 Advocate communication preferences Track which communication channels advocates use to make referrals. Understanding their preferred channels enables you to remarket to this key audience in a format that they re inclined to interact with. Test rewards Take the time to test the effectiveness of rewards. By trying out different reward types, amounts and methods you can then look over the data to determine what offers the greatest incentives to advocates and referrals. Client Tips A SaaS client created links to track what promotions were performing the best. They then reallocated efforts to the best performers and eliminated the ones that weren t performing.
27 27 Oh the places you ll go... with a referral program Launching a referral program is an advantageous move for your business. After all, research has shown that: Customers are 400% more likely to buy a product recommended by a friend. (Nielsen) Leads generated from referrals convert 4X better than marketing leads. (emarketer) The LTV of a referred customer is 16% higher than that of non-referred customers. (Harvard Business Review) Referred customers churn 18% less than nonreferred customers. (Marketing Business Review) If you want to become a part of these statistics don t start the final countdown to launch unless you have referral features and promotions designed with your business goals in mind. Ensure that the referral program you launch will effortlessly engage advocates, motivate prospects, and empower your sales team. Promote your referral program early and repeatedly. And finally, don t let others limitations determine how high you fly. Whoever said the sky was the limit never had referral automation software. Contact Amplifinity to help understand what you need in your referral program to take your business to new heights. Learn how Amplifinity s referral software will launch your revenue growth. Request a demo today!
28 @ 28 Amplifinity s referral automation software turns customer, employee and partner advocacy into revenue. Our platform provides complete tracking and management of referrals with 100% accuracy so no referral is missed. Enterprises like ADP and DIRECTV trust Amplifinity to enable high-quality acquisition while providing an engaging, fully-branded experience for their advocates. Amplifinity.com