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    How To Build An Automated Referral Marketing Machine

    3 minute read

    Developing measurement, management, and analytics functionality in-house for an automated referral marketing program is certainly possible, but it requires a laborious process that typically involves many internal departments, especially your technical development team. In addition to the internal infrastructure and tools necessary to scale your referral program, it will most likely require significant investments of time and resources in managed manually.

    Okay, let's say you're passed the building phase. Once a program starts to scale, most manually run referral programs are not prepared to track and manage the activity generated, measure results in real-time, and actually deliver the incentives promised.

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    Without the right systems in place, tracking and rewarding referral activity can be a nightmare.

    And with no visibility into measurement and optimization, you’ll fail to gather critical insight about customers and prospects that could improve your broader marketing strategy.  

    Running an in-house referral program isn’t as easy as companies like Uber and Airbnb have made it look, yet many B2B companies and consumer brands are still scaling their referral marketing efforts.

    How?

    By leveraging technology to automate the activities that would otherwise drag a manual program down. As a result, these referral programs are able to drive high quantities of qualified leads, new customers, and revenue.

    Leveraging Automated Referral Marketing Technology

    With referral software, you can easily attribute new sales activity to the appropriate people in your program, fully automate campaign logistics (i.e., issuing payment, activating disengaged program members, creating/sending communication, etc.), and quickly integrate other third-party systems to seamlessly sync data between your internal platforms.  

    Why is this so important?

    By automating the referral marketing process, you remove much of the complexity, tedium, and guesswork from running multiple campaigns with many segments. Ultimately, automation allows your brand to scale this particular customer acquisition channel while freeing up your team’s time and resources to focus on the things that really matter — executing efficient, measurable, and profitable campaigns that, over time, positively influence every aspect of your marketing strategy.

    5 Steps to Referral Marketing Automation

    So let's dive into how to automate and scale your referral marketing strategy. Your brand can easily create a repeatable process to continuously attract new and loyal customers with these five simple steps.

    Automated Affiliate Marketing Image 31. ENROLL: Make it easy to join your referral program

    Easily enroll people into your referral program via dedicated landing pages and pop-up forms directly on your website. With automation, once you have their information, you can quickly drill segment your database according to specific criteria.

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    1. ENGAGE: Find potential people

    One of the trickiest elements is engaging with affiliates who value your product as much as you do. While manually vetting affiliates may be more work upfront, finding the right fit is crucial for long-term success.

    Automated Affiliate Marketing Image 43. TRACK: Custom links & share codes for cross-device tracking

    Measure and monitor important activities like shares, clicks, affiliate conversions, and commissions earned and paid out. This data also allows you to attribute new customer activity to the correct affiliate.

    Automated Affiliate Marketing Image 54. PAY COMMISSIONS: Incentivize and quickly reward affiliates for referring new leads and customers

    If you’re generating hundreds (or thousands) of sales from affiliates a month and don’t have a way to automate conversion payments, your affiliate strategy will become a drain on your marketing resources.

    Automated Affiliate Marketing Image 65. OPTIMIZE: Always be improving your program

    An effective affiliate program should generate incredible insight into new customer behavior, prospect motivations, and channel preferences. Use automation to monitor key performance indicators while optimizing your program to drive revenue.


    There are a lot of uncontrollable variables involved in building trust with your target audience and attracting new customers. Thanks to marketing automation, your affiliate program doesn’t have to exist beyond your control. Automated affiliate marketing ensures that affiliates are easily enrolled, effectively reached, and paid in a timely manner.

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    Posted in Affiliate Marketing

    Amity Kapadia

    Written by Amity Kapadia

    Amity Kapadia heads up content marketing at Ambassador. When she's not writing a blog post, editing an eBook, or reading copy, you can find her watching Real Housewives.

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