Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Building Rewards Into Your Referral Program

There comes a time when every business will weigh the pros and cons of creating a referral program, whether it is online, in store or both. Once they’ve made the decision to create one, or jazz up an existing program, it becomes necessary to make it as effective as possible. The way to ensure your happy customers will refer your business is to make it worth their while to do so! This is where offering rewards kicks in. Take a look at your referral program and ask, “Is this creating a win-win situation for both me and my customers?” If the answer is “No” or “I’m not sure”, try following some of these tips to ensure you get the best results.
Make it Valuable
If there is no apparent value in your offers, no one is going to take part. Your offers should be something that makes referring others worth the time and effort it takes, not just a pat on the back. By offering rewards of some substance you increase referral likelihood, and show your customers that you value them.
Provide Options
Offer a variety of reward options, double sided rewards, or change your options throughout the year. This not only increases the chances that more customers will be interested, but it will also encourage them to refer more often. If they make referring a regular occurrence, their brand advocacy will continuously increase in value. Take a look at what these companies offer in their referral programs:
• Growth Hacker TV grants 25% off your monthly subscription for every active member you refer (after four referrals your subscription is free). They also give 25%/month off to your referrals.

Spotify rewards users with a free month of their premium service for every 5 friends that register.

ShortStack pays 30% commission on every sale generated through individualized links.

SpiderOak offers 1 GB of free space for you and your referral with every sign up (up to 10GB free).

Media Temple will give you credit equal to the first month of your referral’s chosen plan, and they get 20% off. 
Why not tailor your rewards to your target audience’s wants? For example, Roku, makers of streaming players, offered a free month’s subscription to Netflix. Or, you could try tailoring it to the season; since we are in the middle of winter you could offer lift tickets to specific ski hills. Or, in the spirit of the holidays, you could make monetary donations to a charity. What ever you choose to offer as a reward, make sure it’s valuable to your clients but doesn’t outweigh the profit you will make on new customers.
Remember to Give Thanks
Create a general thank you email that you can personalize for every referrer. Show your appreciation for them bringing in new business. People like to be valued every step of the way, so give thanks for every referral, not just the ones resulting in a sale.
Why Bother?
Referral programs and rewards go hand-in-hand for a reason; they work. 65% of new business comes from referrals, and by implementing rewards into your referral program you can keep current customers interested and engaged, all the while bringing in a surplus of new capital. If you’re still not convinced, take a look at the results Dropbox saw following their referral program. By giving away additional storage space to both referrers and referrals, signups increased by 60%, and within 15 months they had increased the amount of registered users from 100,000 to 4,000,000!
Satisfied customers may already be spreading the word about your business to their very close friends and family in casual conversation, but by creating a referral program and chalking it full of rewards, you can drastically increase the amount of successful referrals. As the saying goes: give and you shall receive!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A 3-Step Process for Getting Referral Traffic to Your Website

Breaking It Down

Referral traffic. Everybody wants more of it, but before we delve into the “how to” we need to define what, exactly, it is. Referral traffic pertains to visitors who reach your site via a link from anywhere other than a search engine. Why is referral traffic important? It helps businesses gauge the impact their brand has on consumers, can increase a blog’s page rank and boost your SEO rank. It also drives targeted audiences to your website, who are more likely to make a purchase than those visitors who stumble across it.

Get More

So how do you get more? You could pay big money for banner ads, social media ads, advertising slots and sponsored placements or, if that’s not in the budget or you’re looking for another method, you can follow our cost efficient guidelines. Trying to increase your referral traffic may seem a little daunting at first, but if you follow these three steps, you’re sure to succeed.

Step 1. Create Custom Content- Start by producing great pieces of content that your current, and potential, customers would be interested in reading. Your blog articles, videos, infographics etc. should be chalked full of useful information that will benefit your readers. Publish your content in one place (a blog) so all your visitors will be brought back to the same spot. Why? Companies with blogs have 97% more indexed links, and produce 67% more leads per month than those without.

Step 2. Learn to Share- In a study conducted by Facebook, they found that making frequent posts increases referral traffic by 80%. So, the next step is to share your content on multiple social media platforms. The key is to produce unique, enticing posts that will draw attention and persuade people to click on your link. Social media allows you to drastically increase your audience reach and online presence. Last year alone the average referral track from Facebook to other sites increased by 170%.

Step 3. Share Some More- You already have the contact information for your current and previous customers, so use it! 82% of consumers open emails from businesses, so establish a monthly eNewsletter and insert links back to your blog and other webpages within it. Go even further and encourage your customers to refer others to your company and products by starting a referral program. People pay 2x more attention to recommendations made by friends than any other sources, so you can expect more visitors.

Now that you have an idea of how to increase your referral traffic in a cost efficient and effective way, here are some more tips to get the ball rolling.

• Create attention-grabbing titles for your content. If a reader isn’t engaged by the title, there is no way they will click the link to continue reading.
• Get 94% more views by incorporating an image into your article.
• Don’t forget to also share other people’s work; by sharing great content and enticing others to share it too, you will increase your online presence and bring in more targeted visitors.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Results Showdown: Affiliate VS Referral

Affiliate and referral marketing are often confused since they essentially hold the same objective; increase sales and bring in new customers. However, they are in fact very different. We’ve broken them down to help you see the differences. Which strategy do you prefer?

Referral Marketing

Affiliate Marketing
Based On
Positive word-of-mouth recommendations

Financial Gain
Company and Customers

Affiliate and Company
Potential customers have been personally referred. Referred customers spend 13.2% more than those non-referred.

Potential customers are not referred, but if the affiliate is doing a good job, they will be the target audience.

Who Does The Work
Satisfied customers do the promoting. Relies on customer satisfaction.
The middleman does the marketing. Relies on visitors to click your business’s links and banners.

Who Benefits
Loyal customers are rewarded with either monetary supplements or products/offers for referring their contacts.

The affiliate marketer is rewarded, with a flat fee or % of revenue, for proven results.

Consumer Reaction
92% of people trust recommendations from people they know.

24% of people trust Internet banner ads.

What You Get
Builds a stronger relationship between business and customer, establishes trust and brand loyalty. Brings in more customers, increases profit. Referred customers bring in 25% higher profit margins.

Helps establish your image and brand name. Enhances your online presence. Brings in more customers, increases profit.

Your Network
Filled with satisfied customers, continues to grow with every customer recommendation.

Can utilize multiple affiliates to ensure constant flow of new customers.
Price Vs. Profit
Cost efficient. The costs of running a referral program are low, while the returns are high. Personal referrals and rewarding your customers create trust and brand loyalty, which cannot be bought.
Cost efficient. You pay based on the performance of the affiliate, and in return you receive more customers and internet ad space. Much cheaper then paying to advertise your business elsewhere.

Affiliate marketing definitely has its place in the business world, but referral marketing is continuously gaining in popularity. This cost efficient method of promoting your company not only brings in new customers, but also builds trust in your business and products, and instills brand loyalty. Word-of-mouth recommendations have always been the most trusted form of advertisement, and referral marketing has brought it to a whole other level. Now that you have a better idea of what each strategy has to offer, which one will you choose?