Customer referral programs are a very real and powerful tool for acquiring customers. And, unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard about their success for at least one major subscription service. The thing that most people forget is that if your customers don’t know about your referral program, they can’t participate in it.
This single problem is possibly the number one reason that great referral programs under perform.
Tips for Increasing Participation in Your Customer Referral Program
What can you do to make sure your customers find your referral program? Well, the following techniques are a collection of methods that we’ve seen increase participation in customer referral programs.
Some of these are so simple you can implement them today, and see more participants by tomorrow. Others may take a little more time, but will keep on performing year after year.
1. Program Placement
The deeper you hide your customer referral program in your app’s navigation, the less likely it is that people will find it. Keep your calls to action visible and frequent. Placing a call to action for your customer referral program at the root navigation level will result in the highest discovery rate. If you can’t do that, look for where you can place ad-like calls to action somewhere in your application.
2. Email Announcement
Ok, so this may seem obvious when you read it. However, many a great company has launched a customer referral program and forgotten to send out an email.
Make sure your announcement email covers:
- What’s in it for your users,
- How the program works,
- A link to where they can participate.
3. Blog Post
A quick blog article about your new customer referral program is a great way to let your regular blog readers know about your customer referral program. However, there is an extra, more powerful, benefit to writing a blog article. If someone is searching for your customer referral program, your blog article is likely to rank high, making it easy for him or her to participate.
4. Social Media
Social media is a great place to link to your customer referral program. Active users on social networks are likely to share your product with friends. Further, the short memory of social networks like Twitter makes it possible to share about your customer referral program at least once a week.
5. Email Signatures
If you’re sending large amounts of emails to your customers, including a message and a link to your customer referral program in your email signature could be a good idea. For example, if you work in customer success, and you are helping customers get great results from your product, a link in your email signature may prompt customers to make a referral right after you have helped them with a big problem.
6. Invoice Reminders
Often, the only time customers care about how much they are paying for your service is when they receive their invoice. While this can be a painful time of the month, reminding them that there is a way to save on their bill (i.e. your customer referral program) is a great way to alleviate their pain in the future and encourage participation in your customer referral program.
7. Drip Email Campaigns
If you run a welcome or customer on-boarding email drip campaign you should think about mixing in a mention of the customer referral program. Ideally, you want to include it at a point where you feel that you have acquired the customer (i.e. they have begun to use your service heavily or are now a paying customer) because if you reach out before this, a customer may not be ready to risk their reputation on your product.
8. Magic Moments
This is the most complex tactic in the list but is also the most powerful.
Magic moments are those moments when users receive a great result from your product. For example, if you provide a CRM tool, this would be when someone closes a sale. At this point customers are feeling very positive about your product and are most likely to want to tell a friend about it. All you need to do is encourage them to share their success and refer your product when these magic moments are realized inside your application.
If your customers don’t know about your customer referral program they can’t participate. Keeping your program highly visible and frequently reminding users about it will improve participation. However, the best opportunities to drive participation in your customer referral program are when they are most happy with your product, and when they are thinking about the cost of your service.