Referral marketing is beneficial in inviting people to your website. This is because it encourages word-of-mouth marketing, which often results in more traffic and sales.
It is even more effective in eCommerce. It may be the answer to stop shopping cart abandonment that has plague eCommerce businesses for years. It is useful because it helps your business gain more positive social proof. This helps elevate your brand in the eyes of your customers and convince them to buy your products and services.
Creating a Referral System is Easy
One of the main reasons why your business should have a referral system is it is quite easy to implement. With the right tools, you can launch one in your website without much trouble.
Start with the Mechanics
You cannot create a referral system if you don’t know its mechanics. This means that you should see the reward that you like to give away, who you will give it to, and who will qualify for the bonus. Creating a referral system is more than just launching an incentivized promotion system. You also need to know who will be eligible for the reward. In this section, you’ll learn all of this.
First, you must determine your reward. Every referral system has a bonus. This is what makes the system more powerful when it comes to inviting people to take action. In this system, you are not merely asking people to help you without anything in return.
Instead, you are asking them to help you with an incentive. While giving away a reward may seem simple, you have to consider your options. There are so many reward types that you can find. You can give cash away, or you can give them a discount code. For some products or services, a free trial or exclusive access will do. You may want to ask your audience about their preferred rewards before you even begin.
From here, you also need to determine who you will reward. Every referral system has referrers and referrals. The role of the referrer is to promote the program while the reference signs up to the program. Some referral programs only pay the referrer for his efforts. But you can also pay the referral. It may even be more productive.
Then, you have to determine the terms and conditions of your referral system. You have to think about what will qualify for the reward. You have to take into account that prospective referrers will do everything to get compensation. You have to eliminate chances for cheating and only reward verified referrals. Once you have all of these sorted out, you can now start creating your referral system.
Set Up Your Referral System
Once you have all the details, it is time to create your referral system. For this, you will need referral software. This will guide you to the creation of your referral campaign. You may need to include all of the details in the first step in this section.
The key is finding the right software. Best Drums Set Labs used a WooCommerce affiliate plugin for this, and it worked for them. This shows that you should not stick with independent software. If you can find plugins, apps, or add-ons that integrate seamlessly with the platform of your website, you can use that.
Have a Marketing Strategy
Once you have your program set up, it is time to promote it. For this, you have to ensure that the link to the application is displayed prominently on your website. This should be included in the announcement bar, and you should also send an email to all of your subscribers.
Aside from this, you should also employ some unique marketing strategies. In the next section, you’ll learn some methods on how to maximize the exposure of your system.
How to Maximize Your Audience Awareness of your Referral Program
If you want your audience to notice or remember your referral program, you should consider better copywriting. You’ll know that you have good copywriting if you can convert your website visitors into referrals. This means that they don’t only see your referral program, but they also act on it by promoting the brand to their family and friends.
However, better copywriting is more than just generating conversions. It can be considered as an art. You need to choose your words well so that it resonates to the tone of the audience. You need to do this to make yourself relatable. By doing this, the audience will feel understood and will more likely act on your campaign.
If you don’t know the proper voice that you should use for your referral system, it will help if you will listen to your audience. This can be done by initiating conversation and listening to them. You can also go to communities or forums and listen to what people are saying. This may even unlock some feedback as well as some product ideas for your brand.
You don’t want to create an ordinary referral program if you’re going to be noticed. If you do that, your audience will most likely skip your program unless your reward is highly desirable. This means that you need to add an extra element to your referral system. One of the most natural additions you can make is a viral giveaway.
What is a viral giveaway? This is more than giving away one reward as most traditional referral programs do. It is also about collaboration. Viral giveaways happen because you don’t only give away one thing. Instead, you create a package with multiple products or services from different brands. This makes the reward even more desirable to the eyes of the audience.
What makes viral giveaways so compelling is the collaboration between the brands. They don’t only contribute rewards to the pool. They also help in promoting the giveaway. If several brands promote a unique giveaway, the results can be quite surprising.
Conduct a Pre-Launch
Pre-launches are often practiced in online sales pages. This is where the audience is primed about the product or service before it is available to the public. What this does is it builds excitement even before the product is launched.
There are several ways you can do this. First, you can employ a content marketing campaign. This is where you educate your audience about the product or service that you are about to launch. This can be done in written, visual, or video form. This content aims to help the customer know the value of the product before it is launched.
Another way to do this is to begin a case study about your product. This will show the results of your products before it is launched. Since the audience will see how effective it is, the excitement will build up, and they will be far more likely to act on the campaign when it is up.
This can be done with referral programs as well. You can pique the interest of your audience by showing them a peek at the rewards through a pre-launch campaign. This will give them everything that they will get as long as they participate. It should also state the mechanics. This way, the audience will already be primed even before the actual launch of the program.
Use Messenger Marketing
Marketing has just become more personal with messenger marketing. Unlike the old days where marketers promote their products to the general public, marketers now have to exercise extra care in reaching their customers on a personal level. Fortunately, there is messenger marketing. This is where you can send messages directly to the inbox of your target audience.
Does this mean that you can just send a private message to anyone on Facebook? I am afraid not. There are some terms and conditions that you have to look out for if you want this to be effective. If you do that, some people may report your brand for spam, and Facebook may ban you. You don’t want that to happen.
A better approach is to create a dedicated chatbot. This is not that hard to do. Messenger has an auto-reply system that will help you create a chatbot right in their platform. This is great for securing the user’s permission before you message them.
The great thing about messenger marketing is it is done on a personal level. This means that your target audience can get the message quickly without the need to communicate with them through other means. This is similar to SMS as it receives the letter in front of your target audience.
Paid Ads Are Always Useful
If you want to maximize awareness for your referral campaign, you may need to use paid advertising. This will allow you to have a more significant reach, thus having more exposure for your campaigns.
The great thing about paid ads is it is now more targeted. In the old days, you have to show your ads in relevant pages hoping that the right people will see it. But with the technology that Facebook introduced, you can now reach people based on their behavior and personal characteristics.
This means that you can reach people based on their demographic data or surfing behavior on Facebook. This will give you higher conversions for lower ad spend.
Another strategy that you can employ to gain more awareness for your referral system is influencer marketing. This leverages the followers of an influencer instead of finding an audience by yourself. With this, you only need to get an influencer to promote your campaign. If his audience liked your offer, they would act on it.
It is imperative to choose an influencer in a relevant niche. You cannot approach the first influencer that you see. You have to do your research and look for an influencer with a relevant target audience to your brand. This way, your promotions will be geared towards sales. Remember, traffic may help your brand gain more exposure. But it is ultimately the sales which dictate if it is a success or not. So it is crucial to create your campaign based on this.
Also, it is vital to approach your target influencers the right way. You cannot just waltz in and ask them to promote you. They will just ignore your message if you do that. It is far better to build a relationship before you ask them for anything.
Also, you may want to make your referral program exclusive to them. This will motivate them to share your campaign with their followers, for you have created the referral program specifically for them.
If there is one person who is more likely to convert into a referrer, that will be your existing customers. This is because they have already bought from you. This means that they already know and like you. Because of this, you don’t have to persuade them overly. You can just launch a campaign that will let them know that your referral program exists.
Retargeting is not that difficult. It is often done via email, but you can also use other forms of communication to do it. Through email, you can segment your market based on where they are in the customer journey.
This will mean creating separate lists for people who have subscribed, bought an item from you, or purchased an upgrade. You can segment this market so that you know what types of rewards you can give them. You can also create separate referral systems for every kind of demand if you want. This will make it hyper-targeted and exclusive.
As you can see, there are so many ways to promote your referral system. Awareness comes from exposure. Don’t make the mistake of creating your program and leaving it.
But don’t automate the promotions either. While your customers can help you in generating word-of-mouth marketing for your business, you also have to do your share of the work. Following the strategies in this article will help you push your program to success.
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Arlen Robinson is the co-founder and VP of Business Development at OSI Affiliate Software.
He is also the host of The Ecommerce Marketing Podcast where he discusses marketing strategies with experts from all over the world.
Check out my guide on how to start your business right with tons of useful tips I learned by successfully starting, building, and selling multiple companies.