Referral Marketing

How to Create a Culture Where Referral Marketing Thrives

Employees are an often-untapped resource, but can create exponential returns on your referral marketing strategy.

Out of all the marketing strategies out there in our uber-connected world, the power of word-of-mouth is still unparalleled. And what better way to leverage word-of-mouth than with referral marketing?

A study done by University of Pennsylvania uncovered that referred customers are more loyal and profitable than their non-referred counterparts -- by 16 percent! Our own research conducted in partnership with Nielsen's Harris Poll Online revealed that 82% of Americans seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase. It’s important to empower your clients to refer your products and services, but what about the people even closer than your clients? Your team.

Employees are an often-untapped resource, but can create exponential returns on your referral marketing strategy.

Why does creating a culture of referral marketers matter to you? Trust and reach.

Your employees’ audience trusts them, so when your team shares positive feedback about the product, it comes from a place of authenticity that often gets lost in traditional marketing. Now, take your total number of employees and multiply them by their social reach, and that is new potential growth.

Of course, just telling your employees to share your product on their Facebook is only a small piece of unlocking this potential. Here are some tips and best practices to easily empower your team to be your best advocates.

Educate your employees with impact

Sure, your Customer Success Manager can rattle off the business proposition of your product in no time, but maybe the Finance Specialist is struggling to understand what exactly it is you’re doing here. Upon onboarding, all employees should be equipped with the knowledge of the product in a way that truly connects to them and their role. If you’re selling health and fitness technology, explain to the Finance Specialist exactly what her impact is on the product. People care about what they’re part of.

Create messaging, but allow for play

A struggle some employees may have with referring your product is they’re not sure exactly what to say, or how to say it. For example, your employee knows that your app is changing people’s lives, but she’s struggling with the right way to tell her 458 Twitter followers. Create messaging “templates” as guides for those writer's block moments. “Guide” being the key word! The best part of referral marketing is the authenticity, so encourage your team to give these messages their own personal spin.

Celebrate big wins - loud and proud

One of the best times to promote your product from the inside out is when you’re celebrating a win. You just landed on a top ten list of most innovative companies in your area - celebrate! No better time for that Finance Specialist to make her status “Check out how we’re focused on muscle health today! So happy to be on this team!”

Say “Thank you”

Your employees are the most credible voices of your organization. They’re not only promoting your product, but they’re also the ones building it. Don’t forget to say thank you for the earned marketing they’re providing you. Similarly to how many companies have employee referral programs for recruiting, allow a budget for small thank yous for employees who drive the most referrals.

A Referral Marketing Focused Culture

As a marketing leader, your team is looking to you for best practices on branding and messaging. Craft your marketing messages and share them! And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun. Your employees are there to craft a beautiful product they want to share, giving them a nudge in the right direction will open a door to referrals you may not have found otherwise.


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