July 16, 2013 | Posted By: Colleen Cassidy

Here’s a refrain often heard from marketers who want to build a referral program, “I want my customers to share right after they buy something from me…on the order confirmation page.”  It’s an intuitive place to encourage your customers to share and refer their friends – tapping directly into their excitement right after they’ve signed up or bought something.  It makes sense to get folks to ‘shout from the mountaintop’ when they are excited.

However, if you only deploy sharing widgets on your order confirmation page (or registration confirmation page), you leave a tremendous amount of opportunity on the table.

Increase your social referral volume by expanding your reach

We borrow the term reach from the world of advertising. In advertising, reach is what you try to achieve when you spread your marketing campaign across as many third-party websites as you attempt to literally reach your widest audience.  Casting the widest net, given the budget and resources you have, is a well-understood ‘best practice.’

Reach also applies to social referrals.  Except in the case, you’ll be identifying digital surfaces that you own and control – where you can deploy sharing widgets – instead of someone else’s site.

What you may not realize is that you have more reach than you think.

Below are two representative samples of visitor traffic to a just a few key locations of your site.  (We’ll not cover all of the possible locations to install sharing assets; the examples below just briefly highlight what you’d be missing if you only enabled post purchase / post conversion sharing.)

Here’s monthly traffic a small/medium company might expect for a few (not all by any stretch!) pages:

Kicking it up a notch, here are traffic numbers for a medium/large ecommerce company.

Note that the purchase confirmation page / post conversion page represents the least trafficked area of the digital surfaces listed.

In both scenarios above, the homepage gets 20x as many eyeballs as the purchase confirmation page.  Throw in another 20x for the monthly email newsletter and so on.  You’ve probably guessed what we will say next:

KEY TAKEAWAY: You can significantly increase the overall performance of your referral program by making sharing and referral opportunities available on several digital surfaces, not just your order confirmation / post conversion pages.

Add sharing assets to more digital surfaces

The two representative companies above illustrate how you can add social referral assets to a few key surfaces.  You can see stark contrasts in the traffic volumes to certain pages.   However, here’s a comprehensive list for your consideration:

  • Homepage
  • Newsletter
  • Order confirmation / post conversion page
  • Twitter (tweet a link to your stand-alone page)
  • Facebook (post a link to your stand-alone page)
  • LinkedIn (post a link to your stand-alone page)
  • Product pages
  • Blog pages
  • User account pages
  • Customer service emails
  • Help desk
  • Stand-alone refer a friend page
  • Transactional emails (order confirmation, shipping confirmation, etc.)
  • Trigger emails

Adding additional placements is a ‘quick win’ that will boost your reach and requires very little effort – just install some JavaScript snippets on thos pages.  The ability to rapidly deploy sharing assets to many surfaces is just one of the reasons why refer a friend platforms make your job easier.

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