No matter how much the world of commerce and marketing changes, one thing remains constant. Person-to-person word-of-mouth referrals remain one of the most effective means of spreading the word about a great company, product, or service and building brand recognition.
Why is word of mouth more important than ever?
Privacy laws and tech company wars have hobbled Facebook and Google advertising. You’re paying more now than you ever have for results that just don’t stand out anymore. This will become more true once AI starts to replace search for people. It’s going to get even harder and more competitive to inject your product into the answers.
That means that as a start-up founder, or entrepreneur, finding a reliable way to generate viral buzz for your brand is going to make all the difference in your ultimate success. Referral marketing, when done correctly, is the easy solution to creating hype and grabbing attention for your business launch, or your next big product drop.
In this post, we will explore the world of referral marketing and show you how KickoffLabs can make it easy to build a successful referral campaign for your business.
What is referral marketing?
So, what is referral marketing exactly? Referral marketing is a broad umbrella term that can be used to describe a variety of clever marketing strategies designed to encourage referrals or generate word-of-mouth-style buzz to drive traffic to a business or event.
There are a number of tools used to pull off successful referral marketing campaigns, from affiliate marketing programs to collaborating with influencers. While these popular methods are certainly effective, they are often costly and overly complicated.
How can KickoffLabs help with referral marketing?
KickoffLabs offers a much easier solution. Our referral-based launch contests, sweepstakes, and leaderboard giveaways offer a fun way to incentivize the referral process and boost your brand recognition fast.
Think of KickoffLabs as top of the funnel referrals. While commission based affiliate programs are great… you may want to keep it simple and start by just creating incentive to get people on your email list. Referral Marketing Best Practices
Referral marketing is a nuanced practice. You can’t be too heavy-handed with it. People recognize paid or sponsored advertising disguised as word-of-mouth referrals from a mile away. The trick to successful referral marketing is a solid infrastructure that encourages and incentivizes sharing and referrals in a natural, non-coerced format.
Let’s take a look at some of the best practices that will help you pull off a top-notch referral marketing campaign.
What are some referral marketing best practices?
Create an attention grabbing landing page with a catchy headline for your referral campaign
This first practice isn’t unique to referral marketing. A great landing page with an attention-grabbing headline is a critical tool for any business endeavor. Put yourself in your viewers’ shoes in order to create the kind of landing page that generates a lot of excitement around your referral program. Visitors to your page are going to want to know what’s in it for them first and foremost. Don’t bury your offer in blocks of detailed text. Ideally, you should make your offer clear in a short and punchy headline that lets visitors know that exploring further will be worth their time.
Keep it the referral program simple
Of course, you are going to need to provide all of the details so that your visitors know what is expected of them and what they can expect from you in return. The trick to getting your message across without boring your visitors to tears is simplifying the presentation.
Break up the critical info into bite-sized chunks and provide plenty of large graphics and images to allow people to easily navigate to the details that they need to know. Consider building your more granular information into a FAQs section so visitors can easily locate the specific answers to their questions at a glance without having to slog through complex page menus and redirects.
Create unique links for easy sharing
Create unique links for each referrer. These personalized links allow referral partners to send potential customers your direction in return for a reward. This allows the affiliate partner to craft their own personalized, natural method of sharing information about your business while earning trackable rewards.
Provide simple & accurate earnings tracking tools
That leads us to the next tip. Make sure that your referring customers and affiliates can clearly see the progress they are making or the reward that they have earned at a glance. This transparency helps keep people motivated to continue participating and sparks that competitive nature to encourage participants to find new platforms and people to share your messaging with.
Offer Multiple Rewards
Everyone is unique and not everyone is going to be excited by the same things. To encourage as much participation as possible, consider offering a wide variety of rewards to incentivize the broadest swath of participants in your referral program.
You can also try a tiered rewards system with small rewards for simple sharing tasks that allows everyone to be a winner and progressively larger rewards for your most prolific sharers to get the competitive juices flowing.
Provide Non-Referral Based Participation Opportunities
Some customers are going to be uncomfortable with the idea of sharing links or providing referrals. You can still offer valuable ways for these customers to participate by offering small rewards for following, liking, or joining your brand’s social media accounts, or liking a specific post or video promoting your launch or promotion. These small tasks help to ensure that the algorithms see your content as valuable and increase visibility without the need for your customers to do any direct referral or promotion posting.
Referral Marketing Examples & Inspiration
Need some inspiration? Here are several companies and brands that have truly mastered the art of referral marketing.
Harry’s Razors used the KickoffLabs Unlock Rewards campaign to hype their launch and start building out their email list of potential customers. The campaign was beyond successful with the company expanding its email list by more than 100,000 emails prior to its launch.
The strength of Harry’s campaign lies in its simplicity. Harry’s Razors created a simple sign-up landing page with a gorgeous product image and a clear request free of any excess clutter or fluff. After signing up, the visitor is taken directly to the Harry’s Razors referral campaign rewards page designed to incentivize and encourage sharing and referrals.
Start building your own refer-a-friend campaign just like Harry’s Razors with KickoffLabs’ step-by-step guide to launching a referral campaign.
The Robinhood.io KickoffLabs referral campaign went through several iterations before landing on the final viral launch strategy. The brand started with the simple background landing page shown above, but eventually wound up with a dynamic video background that was the perfect fit for its dynamic low-cost trading platform.
All of these options were easy to create using the landing page background and marketing templates in the KickoffLabs resource marketplace. Throughout the background changes, one element of Robinhood’s referral campaign remained constant: A strong content strategy.
Robinhood created a solid offer-based headline that told visitors exactly what was in it for them. This clear messaging helped turn Robinhood’s initial launch campaign into a viral success.
Use KickoffLabs step-by-step guide to create a viral referral campaign like Robinhood.
Tesla Referral Program
Tesla has one of the strongest referral marketing games in the business. The cutting-edge electric vehicle and solar power company offer a tiered referral program that incentivizes word-of-mouth sharing by providing Tesla owners with referral rewards and loyalty rewards for every friend who becomes a Tesla customer. New customers also earn buyer rewards for each purchase. All rewards can be redeemed for a variety of goods and services including free charging at Tesla charging stations.
Airbnb is another example of a tiered referral campaign that allows travelers to build up the value of their rewards by inviting fellow travelers in their inner circle to book a vacation property through Airbnb. For every referral that books a stay at an Airbnb property, the original customer earns rewards points. Here is the great part, when your referrals make referrals you get even more points. This ingenious system encourages exponential sharing and helps build up a strong network of loyal and enthusiastic customers spreading the word about your company.
Dropbox is in the business of providing digital storage and sharing solutions for its clients. Because Dropbox is essentially selling space, and we all know that there never seems to be enough space for all of your important files, Dropbox allows its users to earn up to 16GB of extra space by referring friends and family to sign up for the Dropbox platform.
SimpliSafe security company provides a double bonus of big rewards for both the referrer and the referred. Existing customers get a $100 gift card reward for every new referral that signs up for service and orders a new SimpliSafe security system.
The great part about SimpliSafe’s generous rewards program is that the rewards don’t stop with the referrer. The new customer gets a big discount on their sign-up package and a free security camera. This double reward system lets referrers feel even better about recommending SimpliSafe to their friends and family, knowing that they will be getting an awesome deal as well.
SaaS company, Typeform, offers a one-stop-shop solution for creating mobile surveys and forms. Typeform makes use of an exclusive referral rewards program that is available to its best customers only. Pro customers are able to earn a 10% reward for all referrals who sign-up for Typeform services. This exclusive program serves to incentivize new customer referrals while also providing a reason for existing customers to bump up their subscriptions to become Pro customers so they can take advantage of the rewards.
Duolingo has one of the most popular referral programs offering users a free week of Super Duolingo access for every referral that signs up for a Duolingo account. This serves two purposes for the company. First, it incentivizes new customer sign-ups, and second, it exposes existing customers to Super Duolingo encouraging them to continue the premier service after their free reward has been exhausted.
Launch Your Next Referral Campaign At KickoffLabs
Feeling inspired to start your own referral campaign? You can grab ideas from the examples above and head on over to KickoffLabs to start planning your very own campaign. KickoffLabs makes it super simple to build, and launch a viral referral campaign in less than a day. No, really…in a matter of hours, you can have a referral system like those discussed up and running for your brand. Check it out today!