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Building an effective referral program

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By rolling out an effective, monitored and well-managed word of mouth marketing program, you can ensure maximum returns on your referral incentives and build a rabid brand ambassador base ready to …

By rolling out an effective, monitored and well-managed word of mouth marketing program, you can ensure maximum returns on your referral incentives and build a rabid brand ambassador base ready to mobilize on the streets for your business.

But what actually goes in to a successful referral marketing program? In this presentation, you’ll learn the techniques you need to get your program off the ground and start generating a wave of brand ambassadors to mobilize and promote your brand.

Published in Business , News & Politics
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  • Great post! I agree with your approach, however we've seen that turning the referral process into a transaction (by rewarding customers with financial incentives) can be less effective than social rewards, such as donating to a local charity on the customer's behalf.

    We've actually just launched a business application for Facebook called Good Peeple that uses the power of your customer's social networks to share their reviews of your business with their friends, generating referrals automatically. Check it out at http://goodpeeple.com

    -James
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  • 1. An Ambassador eBookBuilding an Effective Referral Program
  • 2. Building an Effective Table of ContentsReferral Program ContentsIntroduction...........................................................3Chapter 1: Stop, Collaborate, and Listen...... 5Chapter 2: Effective Incentives to Refer........8Chatper 3: Measure, Analyze, Profit.............. 11Conclusion.......................................................... 17 Page 2
  • 3. Building an Effective IntroductionReferral ProgramIntroductionIts no secret that consumers today are less trusting ofwhat companies say about themselves than what theirfriends recommend. After all, you’d trust your friend morethan an online banner right?Building a strong base of passionate ambassadors is criti-cal to any business’ success at influencing new customersand keeping your brand at the top of people’s minds. Page 3
  • 4. Building an Effective IntroductionReferral ProgramJust one well-planned incentive can spread throughout theInternet, raising awareness, driving traffic and acquiringthousands of new customers with the click of a button.By rolling out an effective, monitored and well-managedcampaign, you can ensure maximum returns and a rabidfan base ready to mobilize on the streets for your business.But what actually goes in to a successful referral market-ing program? In this eBook, you’ll learn the techniques youneed to get your program off the ground and start generat-ing a wave of brand ambassadors to mobilize and promoteyour brand. Page 4
  • 5. Building an Effective Chapter 1: Stop,Referral Program Collaborate, and ListenChapter 1: Stop, Collaborate,and ListenCarefully consider who your most satisfied customers are.Have that person in mind? Good. Now take some time tothink about what makes him/her engaged with your brand.Ask yourself:What do they find valuable about your business?Where are they sharing your brand?How are they sharing your brand?The scope and diversity of online channels for word of Page 5
  • 6. Building an Effective Chapter 1: Stop,Referral Program Collaborate, and Listenmouth referral programs is staggering. Before you startcasting off content and hoping to get some bites in the vastsea of social media activity, take a step back and look atwhere your resources can be best directed.Are your customers sharing their best customer serviceexperiences? Or perhaps they’re sending pictures of yourproduct and brand. Depending on the medium, looking athow your customers are already sharing on social mediasites can help better direct your campaign to maximize ROI.Also take into account where and at what time your com-petition is active as well to make sure your message standsout from the crowd. Page 6
  • 7. Building an Effective Chapter 1: Stop,Referral Program Collaborate, and ListenOnce you have a better idea of your target brand ambas-sador base, you can begin crafting your core message andvalues. Work to find a message that is consistent and besttargets your core base of supporters, and make sure to letyour fans know what value your referral program brings tothe table.Along those lines, teach your brand ambassadors aboutwhat types of friends they should be targeting and bestpractices for going about it. Taking time out to educateyour first ambassadors can add value to your program andposition you as best suited to bring in new referrals fromother businesses with similar intentions.Be sure to provide some direction to your first wave of am-bassadors, either through informational materials online ordirect engagement. Whatever the medium, education canget your campaign revved up right from the onset. Page 7
  • 8. Building an Effective Chapter 2: EffectiveReferral Program Incentives to ReferChapter 2: Effective Incentives toReferOnce you’ve identified and segmented your most passion-ate supporters it’s necessary to have some incentives inplace to back up your requests for referrals. And what bet-ter way to get people pumped up to promote than with acustomer rewards program? (Hint: There’s no better way). Page 8
  • 9. Building an Effective Chapter 2: EffectiveReferral Program Incentives to ReferIncentive programs tap into people’s instinctive desire tohelp each other and to be recognized and rewarded fortheir kindness. But of course, the type of reward you offercan be a difference maker when in comes time to sign-upfor your brand ambassador program.ESTABLISHING INCENTIVES After deciding the structure you want to pursue for yourbrand ambassador program, you will need to decide onhow much you want to pay for referral rewards. The bal-ance here will be the same as most marketing decisions:how do you make sure that you don’t spend more moneygetting the customer to you than the customer will producein revenue? The difference, though, comes in calculation. Instead of cal-culating simply how much financial incentive the customer Page 9
  • 10. Building an Effective Chapter 2: EffectiveReferral Program Incentives to Referneeds to come to you, you also must consider what finan-cial incentive a customer needs to promote your product totheir friends and what they think of as a “good deal” whenoffering their support for your business.Taking the time to fully calculate the ROI from a social me-dia referral campaign can be very vexing and time consum-ing. For now, just make sure your customers are respond-ing positively and actively engaging in your campaign. Page 10
  • 11. Building an Effective Chapter 3: Measure,Referral Program Analyze, ProfitChapter 3: Measure, Analyze,ProfitGoing beyond the glitz and glamour of rewarding custom-ers, there are a number of logistical components that mustbe stored and measured to gain the most utility from yourcampaign and better understand how successful it is, in-cluding having a clear idea of the benchmarks you’d liketo reach.Once you start the program, create a schedule to track,evaluate and optimize your program to direct resourceswhere the most activity is generated. Page 11
  • 12. Building an Effective Chapter 3: Measure,Referral Program Analyze, ProfitKey back-end requirements that must be managed for suc-cess include:Building and maintaining a database of existing and re-ferred customers.Automated marketing resources to keep customers en-gaged.Send updates to social networking sites on a consistentand real-time basis.Update records to know how many ambassadors havesigned up, and adequately reward those who have madesuccessful referrals. Page 12
  • 13. Building an Effective Chapter 3: Measure,Referral Program Analyze, ProfitMany businesses choose to overlook data for a number ofreasons (lack of experience, laziness, etc). This is a badidea.There are huge gains to be made by combing through dataand seeing what works best for your program in the form ofoptimization and increased ambassador engagement.Having a lot of data on hand is irrelevant without having aclear understanding of the key performance indicators thatdrive success on referral programs. Looking back at action-able metrics can help truly define the ROI from your invest-ment:Brand mentions in social media: Tracking how, when andwhere your fans mention/share your brand can help opti-mize your engagement strategy and better segment andengage new ambassadors.Customer loyalty: Analyzing how often a specific fan ismentioning your brand and sharing content can help betterdefine your target supporter.Conversion Rate: By tracking conversion rates across mul- Page 13
  • 14. Building an Effective Chapter 3: Measure,Referral Program Analyze, Profittiple acquisition channels, your business will better under-stand which platforms drive sales and locate where yourengagement is most effective and where to direct resourc-es.Always keep your analytics in mind when testing out newcampaigns. If you’ve never tested out referral marketingwith your business, keeping track of your successes andshortcomings can help optimize your program as it growsand evolves.But to truly analyze all of the data and keep up to date re-cords is a herculean task. Luckily, there are a number ofresources that offer solutions to the headache of managingyour campaign. Using a brand ambassador software canhelp track and manage the inner workings of your cam-paign and ensure you’re getting the most bang for yourreferral marketing buck.An effective SaaS brand ambassador software platform canattribute new customer activity to the appropriate ambas-sador, automate a number of campaign logistics, like issu-ing rewards and re-engaging neglectful ambassadors, andfree-up much needed time to run the other components ofyour campaign. Page 14
  • 15. Building an Effective Chapter 3: Measure,Referral Program Analyze, ProfitMost importantly, be sure to consistently check the suc-cesses and failures of your program. Otherwise, you will bemissing out on a crucial data to help your business’ refer-rals skyrocket. Page 15
  • 16. Building an Effective Chapter 3: Measure,Referral Program Analyze, ProfitReferral Program Worksheet:Print out and use this flowchart to keep yourself organizedwhen moving forward on your programming. Listen to your current fans Where are my fans What is my value Where are my fans sharing my to fans? active online? content? Develop incentives to refer Type of Reward (Cash, Gift Card, % Commission) Cost of Incentive/ Is our reward Value to fans profitable? Measure and analyze data Optimize programming Page 16
  • 17. Building an Effective ConclusionReferral ProgramConclusionAn online referral program is only aseffective as the amount of brand am-bassadors it is engaging. When cus-tomers are engaged with your prod-uct they’re inclined to refer friendsand family, but it helps to set-up in-centives to promote through concreterewards.By rolling out an effective, monitoredand well-managed campaign, you canensure maximum returns and a ra-bid fan base ready to mobilize on thestreets for your business.  So gear up and get ready becausethe future of online referral market-ing is knocking on your door, and it’sabout time you answered. Page 17
  • 18. Building an Effective ConclusionReferral ProgramAmbassador enables any company to easily track, man-age & reward their advocates for referring customers anddriving conversions. Receive actionable channel-specificmetrics; including shares, clicks, conversions, revenue andclicks per share. Ambassador can be fully integrated intoyour website, maintaining your look & feel while providinga frictionless experience for your advocates.  Page 18