Investing in a new financial or insurance product takes a lot of trust. Many consumers research multiple brands before they decide to take the plunge on accounting software, tax software, insurance, or any other product related to their financial or personal security. Getting a referral from a trusted friend can be just the nudge a potential customer needs to choose your brand.
Referral marketing can help build brand awareness and trust by digitizing word-of-mouth marketing—even in regulated industries that limit the types of incentives you can offer. In fact, the below financial and insurance brands are already using referral marketing with great success.
1. Intuit QuickBooks Self-Employed
QuickBooks is a well-known accounting software brand, but that doesn’t mean Intuit can rest on its laurels and wait for customers to come to it. Intuit uses referral marketing across multiple channels to encourage existing users to share so the company can gain new customers for its Self-Employed product.
In the web-based app, a “Refer a Friend” CTA triggers the widget and the referral offer that gives friends a generous 50 percent discount and advocates get a $30 Amazon gift card. The same offer is promoted through the mobile app, so no matter how QuickBooks customers access the software, the referral offer is front and center.
Sharing options vary depending on where advocates see the widget. When accessing the software on a desktop, advocates can share via email, Facebook, and Messenger, or they can use a personalized url (PURL) for easy sharing. When using the mobile app, sharing options include SMS, email, Facebook, and a PURL that can be copied with a single click.
2. Intuit TurboTax
Intuit uses referral marketing for more than just one product. The company also uses this form of marketing to gain new customers for its TurboTax software. After an existing customer finishes filing their taxes, they are prompted to share their experience with friends and family. Friends get a 20 percent discount and advocates get a $25 gift card for every referral that files their taxes with TurboTax.
Because email sharing has been the most successful approach for the brand, it is the only option offered in the widget along with the PURL. The friend receives a customized email that includes multiple CTA buttons, a message from the advocate, and multiple positive reviews to further build trust. Using Friendbuy's custom events, TurboTax is able to fully customize their referral funnel and reward advocates with $25 once the friend files their taxes.
Best of all: The entire process is automated, so the Intuit marketing team doesn’t have to do anything after the program has been set up except monitor the metrics and make adjustments as needed.
Afterpay is a product that allows consumers to make purchases from participating vendors and pay for them in smaller increments. Because most users interact with Afterpay in the mobile app, this is where the majority of referral activity takes place.
Advocates see the referral offer in the app and click on the “Give $10, Get $10” CTA. Friendbuy makes it easy for advocates to share the app with a prewritten SMS message that includes the advocate’s PURL for a seamless sharing experience. Friends get a text message with a link that takes them to the sign-up page, and they get $10 in credit immediately after joining, which encourages them to make a purchase. When a friend makes a qualifying purchase, the advocate gets an email with a $10 credit and a CTA to start shopping.
Renters insurance company Toggle uses Friendbuy to display a “Get $10” CTA on the website homepage to encourage existing customers to refer friends. Because insurance is a regulated industry, friends cannot be incentivized to sign up, but a recommendation from a trusted friend goes a long way when someone is considering these types of purchases.
The Toggle desktop widget encourages sharing through email or Facebook, and the mobile widget has the same options plus SMS. The email share tab gives advocates the option to enter multiple addresses in a single window so it is easy for them to send the offer to multiple friends at the same time. When the referred friend submits a quote, the advocate gets a $10 gift card.
Car insurance company Metromile incentivizes advocates with a $25 gift card for every friend that signs up. As with Toggle, because insurance is a regulated industry, the company can’t base rewards on a purchase, so the conversion event is a quote completion.
The brand promotes its referral program only after customers are signed into their accounts because this is where referral program engagement is highest. Once a customer signs in, the “Refer a Friend” CTA appears in the top navigation bar, and advocates can easily share with friends via email.
Ways Financial and Insurance Companies Can Customize Campaigns
No two brands are alike, even within the same industry. This is why it is so important to customize your referral campaign around your ideal customer.
Double-Sided and Single-Sided Offers
Doubled-sided offers—offers that incentivize both the advocate and the friend—are generally the best approach. However, single-sided offers are also possible for regulated industries, such as insurance, that restrict incentives.
Fully Customizable Widget Modules
Focus on the sharing channels that work best for your brand and present only those in your referral widget. You can also customize all of the imagery and content to be consistent with your brand. Consider A/B testing to determine which offers and calls to action work best.
The more customization you provide, the more trust you build. This is especially important for high-consideration products that link to financials. By using vanity PURLs, PURLs that allow you to provide personalized URLs to your Advocates and Influencers that include either their First Name, Last Name or the prefix of their email address. you give friends yet another subtle reminder that the recommendation came from somebody they trust.
Take the opportunity to add to your mailing list with an easy checkbox opt-in that will add referred friends. This allows you to market to referred friends even before they become customers.
Best Practices for Financial Institutions and Regulated Industries
When creating a referral program and promoting it, there are a lot of factors to consider. If you market a brand in a regulated industry, follow these best practices to get the most from your investment.
Keep the Content Professional
Although you want your copy to be compelling, this is the time to build trust, so don’t be too cheeky. Instead, use words and content that spark confidence in your brand.
Use Quality Graphics
The images a brand displays send a message to potential customers. Use high-quality graphics that paint a picture of professionalism.
Sharing positive reviews and testimonials in emails can go a long way toward demonstrating that the advocate isn’t the only one who relies on your brand and that other happy customers trust your company.
Provide Multiple Opportunities for Friends to Claim the Offer
High-consideration products often require more than one viewing. Remind friends after a few days or create automated email flows that guide them along the customer journey.
Describe the Product and Benefits in the First Contact
Include a succinct product description in the share email so friends understand what they are being offered. This is especially important for innovative financial products that they might not yet understand.
Get Started with Friendbuy
Referral marketing can be used to grow brands of all types, including those in regulated industries such as financial institutions and insurance companies. These are just a handful of examples of the best practices you can use to maintain a high-performing referral program. For more useful tips, read Referral Marketing: The Essential Guide.