How to Get Started with Referral Marketing Quickly and Seamlessly

by Friendbuy

December 1, 2020

One of the greatest strengths of referral marketing is the speed with which businesses can launch a new referral program from scratch. With the right referral platform and clear goals for your referral marketing strategy, powerful campaigns can be built in a matter of weeks—not months.

The faster you launch, the faster you can start growing your customer base and achieving positive ROI for your brand. Here’s a look at what it takes to achieve a fast, successful launch, as demonstrated through two Friendbuy customer success stories.

What Every Brand Needs for a Fast Referral Program Launch

A quick launch depends on clear goals to focus and streamline the development of your referral marketing plan. Is your brand focused primarily on growing its existing customer base? Lowering the average cost per acquisition (CPA) of new customers? Increasing average lifetime value (LTV) for both existing and future customers?

These goals will guide the development process, determining the type of offer your brand provides as well as the messaging for your referral assets. Your time to launch will be determined by how seamlessly your referral program is integrated with your e-commerce and/or marketing tech stack. From shopping cart and subscription platforms to your email, SMS, and customer data platforms, smooth integration with your referral program allows you to move swiftly and maximize the value of your existing technologies. 

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Additionally, the ability to leverage technology stack integrations will provide an infrastructure to support a quick launch for your referral marketing program. 

Whether you’re dealing with a simple tech stack or a business model and/or tech stack that is more complex, you can launch quickly by working with a top-tier partner like Friendbuy. The key to a fast, successful launch is to coordinate your referral program with different departments and roles within your organization. You can lay the foundation for a quick, effective launch by gaining support from the following leaders and decision makers in your company:

Project Manager

For smaller companies, Friendbuy provides project management support through an implementation manager. However, some larger teams benefit from assigning a single point of contact on their team to lead their team’s efforts.

Marketing/Growth Manager

For most Friendbuy clients, this role is filled by the business owner or executive who makes the final decision on the user flow/customer journey as well as the offer strategy. The implementation manager and customer success manager offered by Friendbuy can suggest strategies and best practice placement ideas for your referral campaign, but you will need a growth manager to sell these strategies and placements to other key stakeholders—especially if you want to secure fast approvals that speed up your time to launch. 


Friendbuy will provide your business with initial design assets for your launch. The fastest customer launch timelines are typically achieved when the customer has strong brand guidelines to direct the design of these assets. Your brand should also establish a design point of contact to facilitate fast approvals on these referral assets.


Friendbuy offers a simple implementation of its referral marketing platform, supported by great documentation and a thorough implementation plan. Additionally, Friendbuy provides an implementation and solutions engineer to assist with onboarding. However, the quickest and smoothest launches involve a customer-side technical contact who can review implementation during the sales process. This technical contact should be present during the kickoff call with Friendbuy and involved in planning the launch of your referral program to ensure engineers have adequate time to complete this project.

Legal Team

Friendbuy’s customers come from a wide range of industries, giving our teams experience with many different issues and demands regarding customer privacy and compliance. For some businesses and industries, though, you may want your legal counsel involved in early planning and development stages, reviewing your launch strategy and gaining legal sign-off on your referral execution plans. The involvement of your own legal counsel may be particularly valuable for companies in the insurance, healthcare, finance, and other regulated industries, as well as businesses routinely faced with privacy issues related to CAN-SPAM, GDPR, the Canada Anti-Spam Law (CASL), or other privacy regulations.

Inside Olive & June’s 14-Day Referral Launch 

From standard referral flows to more complex referral funnels, Friendbuy’s customers have been able to get started with referral marketing quickly and easily. A shining example of this streamlined success comes from beauty brand Olive & June, which used Friendbuy’s platform and resources to launch its referral program in just 14 days.

This fast launch was made possible by the following:

  • A clear vision for their referral program. Olive & June leadership entered its onboarding kickoff call with Friendbuy with an offer strategy already selected. The brand chose to reward advocates with free nail polish on their next purchase for referring their friends, aligning with their referral marketing goal of driving repeat purchases from their customer base.
  • A plan for implementing best practices. Although Olive & June was eager to launch its referral marketing program, the brand didn’t want to compromise Friendbuy’s best practice recommendations. Their fast embrace of these recommendations led to a faster onboarding process that ensured the brand’s referral program received the best support possible. This improved future performance and ROI without slowing down the program’s launch.
  • Providing strong examples and guidance on referral asset design. Olive & June supplied Friendbuy with examples, design instructions, and detailed feedback to quickly create assets that were on-brand, supporting a seamless integration into the company’s e-commerce site.
  • Using Friendbuy integrations to support launch. Olive & June used Friendbuy’s integration team to handle their Shopify and Klaviyo integration of its referral program. This allowed the Olive & June team to focus on incorporating the program into their brand, something extremely important to them, rather than using resources to manage an integration. 
  • Cohesive communication and project management. Throughout the onboarding process, Friendbuy and Olive & June were able to work cohesively through a primary point of contact who managed all stakeholders on the Olive & June team . This coordination ensured that Friendbuy’s project timelines and deadlines were met, keeping the brand’s referral program on time for a fast launch.

Thanks to its own internal preparation, as well as trust in Friendbuy’s best practices and proven processes, Olive & June succeeded in meeting its goal of launching a referral program in just two weeks.

Building a Complex (but Seamless) Referral Program in Just 17 Days

Craft and decor brand Heartfelt Creations wanted to create a referral program that featured more advanced elements than a standard referral program. To achieve this, the company required a development and launch process that accounted for added technical complexity—even as the company sought a fast time to launch for its referral program.

Despite this added complexity, Heartfelt Creations launched its referral program in just 17 days with Friendbuy. Here’s how the company made this possible:

  • It identified its referral strategy early on. Heartfelt Creations knew it wanted a strong offer at the center of its referral program. Prior to its kickoff call with Friendbuy, the company had already chosen a “Give $20, Get $20” double-sided offer. By the time of this initial meeting, the brand’s leaders had already committed to implementing Friedbuy’s best practices that they had learned about during the sales cycle. This fast buy-in streamlined the development timeline and facilitated a strong working relationship.
  • It provided good assets to support the design process. Heartfelt Creations knew which assets it wanted in its referral program, so Friendbuy was able to turn around branded widgets and emails four days ahead of schedule.
  • It made fast decisions regarding technical elements. Heartfelt Creations designated its preferred developer resources from the beginning, facilitating technical discussions early on in the development process. This early intervention gave Friendbuy’s tech team time to spec out different options for the referral flow and provided both sides with more runway to consider advanced referral program offerings. 
  • It used webhooks to automate reward fulfillment. Heartfelt Creations was able to utilize Friendbuy’s reward program webhooks. This made it possible to deposit account credit directly into an advocate’s account after they referred a friend. This resulted in a more seamless referral flow for advocates, and the early involvement of Heartfelt Creations’ technical team helped complete the integration 13 days ahead of schedule.

Even when seeking a referral program that goes beyond standard practices, Heartfelt Creations is proof that a dedicated, involved customer can speed up development and launch.

Choose Your Own Referral Marketing Adventure

No matter what your brand’s goals or ambitions may be, your company’s involvement in the referral marketing development process has a direct impact on not only launch timelines but also the overall success and ROI of your program.

Discover more ways to support referral marketing success through our e-book, Referral Marketing: The Essential Guide.

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