Having worked with thousands of clients all over the globe as well as powering thousands of B2C referral programs and millions of new sales, we've heard almost every question possible from brand marketers. We understand the intricacies of running a referral program, and are always happy to lend a helping hand to marketers that want to leverage this customer acquisition channel.
And one of the most common questions asked is, "what makes people refer a product or service?"
The obvious answer is that your customers have to love your product. Many marketers today tend to think they can hack their way into growth and customer acquisition, but the truth is, if you don't pour everything you have into building a great product or service, and iterating and optimizing for your target customer base, you're not going to see killer results. Most importantly, you have to focus on delivering an amazing product or service.
When done correctly, a B2C referral marketing program does more than build on existing marketing principles, it empowers your company. The simple, shareable URLs exchanged between your audience and prospective customers expands brand awareness and drives new revenue. Plus, customers acquired through trustworthy recommendations convert earlier and faster than the average customer.
More so, if you have an incredible customer experience, people will be willing to refer. Which leads to making the actual process of referring people just as easy to participate in.
Components of B2C Referral Programs
When you think about the most important components of a B2C referral program, you have to start with where your customers are buying and engaging with you. Here are a few key questions to consider:
1. Are you 100% eCommerce?
2. Do you sell through multiple channels?
3. Do you sell on Amazon?
4. Do you sell in brick and mortar through retailers?
Depending on how your brand acquires, engages, and interacts with your customers, that's where your referral program needs to live.
Simply put, a referral program has to exist in all the places that your brand exists.
Next, the referral experience itself is embedded throughout the consumer's process of buying your product or service. That means leveraging the most high intent moments to drive sharing.
For example, when someone purchases your product, that's a great moment to ask them to share. Seizing on the high intent moments throughout that buyer journey will increase your referral program engagement.
Lastly, the best referral marketing programs operate with a deep understanding of who they’re targeting, where those people are active, and which incentives will drive actions.
Which is why studying your referral candidates’ motivations and preferences before you reach out is critical to success. If you offer the right incentive to the right customer in the right environment, your program will succeed.
The highest performing referral marketing programs share a common thread: referrals
are fully baked into every customer’s sales, marketing, and support experience.
This means referral CTAs are included throughout the company’s website. Employee email signatures feature referral messaging. And the referral program is fully integrated with other critical systems, such as a CRM, eCommerce technology, and point-of-sale systems.
Ultimately, the goal of referral marketing is simple: To harness the power of authentic word-of-mouth to drive a steady stream of high-quality referrals to your brand - and to grow revenue as a result of that.