Three New Ways to Boost ROI From Your Referral Program

February 25, 2014 by

Are you getting the maximum ROI from your refer-a-friend program?

Here are three new ways to super-charge refer-a-friend programs and fill your sales funnel with high-quality leads:

1. Go beyond referrals.

Most refer-a-friend programs are aimed only at getting referrals. Authentic advocates will recommend you in lots of other ways. Without pay or perks, advocates will:

  • Create valuable content like highly positive reviews and glowing testimonials
  • Answer prospects’ questions, helping make your cash register ring more often
  • Give you money-making ideas
  • Defend you when you or your employees do something dumb

Consumer electronics company TiVo recently ran a highly successful refer-a-friend campaign. A whopping 54 percent of TiVo Advocates who referred friends also have recommended TiVo by writing positive reviews or advocating in other ways. Here’s one of those great reviews created by a TiVo Advocate:

To go beyond referrals, you need a word-of-mouth marketing platform that supports referrals and content generation.

Related Class: Integrating Social Media Tactics Into your Digital Marketing Strategy

 2. Support a social cause.

Most refer-a-friend campaigns and programs are little more than bounty hunting. They’re all about paying customers cold, hard cash for referrals.

While this approach can work, not everyone is motivated by money or personal gain. Another problem with pay-for-referrals is that it’s like “referral cocaine.” Customers get hooked on it.

Take your referral game up a notch by supporting worthy causes to stimulate referrals. Norton, the consumer brand of Symantec, generated thousands of recommendations and referrals when it provided donations to Computers for Youth on behalf of Norton Advocates.

3. Improve your customer experience.

A well-known satellite TV company is dishing out millions of marketing bucks on ESPN, the Food Network, and elsewhere to promote its Refer-a-Friend program.

The company offers subscribers $50 for referrals. Referred-in friends who become customers also get $50. The program would be more successful if the company worked harder to earn its subscribers’ affection.

As a subscriber, I personally wouldn’t refer my friends to this company for $50 or $5,000. I actually like my friends.

No matter how much money you offer for referrals, you won’t get as many referrals as you would like unless customers feel good about telling their friends.

True advocacy can’t be manufactured or purchased. It can only be earned.

To understand the influence that brand advocates have on digital marketing strategy, enroll in Rob Fuggetta's class, The Marketing Power of Brand Advocates, today!

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