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No one likes manual work, sorting referrals, issuing rewards, and tracking a referral program. Not only is it time consuming and tedious, but it is also the sort of thing that referral marketing software can do efficiently. Referral automation takes the guesswork out of launching and running a referral program, giving you more time to build customer relationships and think of even more creative ways to increase your bottom line.
Each part of the referral process contains many data points that can and should be used to optimize a referral program. Luckily, software programs like Friendbuy automate the referral program process so you can use your valuable time wisely and focus on growing your business.
What Is Referral Marketing Automation?
Referral marketing automation is a process that uses referral software to streamline the referral process. Friendbuy is a type of referral marketing software or software as a service (SaaS) used over the internet. The referral platform helps improve and scale a referral program by managing referral leads, communicating with referral sources and partners, and tracking the success of referral campaigns.
The automated program performs routine tasks that help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the referral process. For example, Friendbuy’s referral marketing automation tools send automated emails to referral partners, track the progress of referrals through the sales pipeline, and report on the program performance of referral campaigns. It also helps to ensure that customers receive their rewards in a timely manner.
These are some of the ways that referral marketing automation can help your business:
- Boost conversions. Customers can easily sign up for a referral program through your website or app. It is a seamless and organic experience for Advocates from when they click on the referral widget up to sharing their referral code with Friends, and for Friends to convert to customers and make a first purchase.
- Simplify the rewards process. You can easily choose Advocate rewards and Friend incentives that will work best for your referral campaign. Plus, it will be automatically delivered in real-time to your customers.
- Easily measure performance. Any and all data will be easily accessed through Friendbuy’s dashboard so you can track your referral program. It is displayed in an easy-to-read format so you can clearly see how your referral program is performing.
- Eases optimization. Based on all the program data collected, you can start A/B testing the different parts of the program like CTA placement, font and images on a landing page, or even create a specialized referral program for high-performing Advocates.
Overall, referral automation can help simplify and optimize the referral process and it can be an effective way to drive business growth and grow revenue.
How To Automate Referrals
The great thing about Friendbuy is that once you have set up the referral campaign everything is automated, so you do not have to think about the nitty-gritty parts of the campaign like assigning referral IDs, issuing rewards, or sending post-purchase emails, among other things.
Step 1: Identify your target customers
Identifying your target customers is an important step in the referral process. Instead of guessing and hoping something sticks, it is best to personalize the experience. When brands put in the effort and add personal touches like recommendations, post-purchase emails, or asking for customer reviews, it creates positive customer experiences.
Here are some steps you can take to identify target customers:
- Define your service or product. Start by thinking about what are the benefits of your product or service. This will help you understand the kinds of people interested in your product.
- Determine your target market. Look at your customer list and see what types of products and services are popular with them. Decide your ideal customer - biggest spenders, recently purchased a certain product, etc.
- Analyze your competitors. Check out the customers your competitors are marketing to and how they are reaching those customers. This will help you identify any gaps you may have and need to fill.
- Create a customer persona. Based on the information gathered, create a customer persona or detailed profiles of your target customers. These personas will inform you as to what needs to be done to reach target your customers.
These are just some steps you can follow to tailor your referral program and engage your target customers even more.
Step 2: Choose your rewards and incentives
After setting up a campaign, one of the significant things to do is choose the rewards that will entice customers to join a referral program. In Friendbuy’s system, existing customers are called Advocates and they receive a reward. While the referred customer, or Friend, receives an incentive.
You can choose from different kinds of rewards and incentives that work best for your brand:
- Dollar amount discounts
- Percentage discounts
- Free subscription months
- Free trial periods
- Free shipping
- Free products or samples
- Gift cards
Next up is deciding on an incentive structure. One-sided rewards are fine, but we recommend two-sided rewards so that both the Advocate and Friend will receive something and will likely join your referral program. You could also use a tiered structure where the more the referred customers recommend, the more they can win, or a limited-time referral contest and host a raffle or offer a special prize for top referrers.
You can also mix and match the different kinds of giveaways depending on your product, the type of business, etc. These are some of the types of rewards and incentives you could give away in your referral marketing program:
- Percentage off - Give 10% off, Get 10% off
- Dollar discount - Give $20, Get $20
- Percentage and dollar discount - Give 20%, Get $20
- Tiered reward - Give $10, Get up to $60
- Gift card - Refer a friend to get a $100 Amazon gift card
- Subscription - Give a 30-day Trial, Get a a 30-day Trial
- Products or swag - Refer a friend to get free nail polish
Step 3: Set up your triggers
A customer referral program follows specific steps from when an Advocate shares their referral code until the Friend makes a purchase. A referral trigger is an event that needs to be met before the next stage is accessed. For example, when the Friend makes a purchase and receives their incentive, the Advocate receives their reward. This is all done by Friendbuy’s software automatically, you will not have to approve each trigger.
These are the different triggers to choose from when you set up your campaign:
- Friend Makes a Purchase: Choose this if you want the Advocate reward to be triggered when the Friend buys something. Note: Friendbuy automatically tracks purchase events by default.
- Friend Enters Their Email Address: Choose this if you want the Advocate reward to be triggered when the Friend adds their email address within the Friendbuy widget. Note: Friendbuy automatically tracks email_capture events by default.
Types Of Referral Automations That You Can Use
Most of the heavy lifting of a referral campaign will be during the setup. That is when you have to decide on rewards, incentives, time periods, limitations, etc. But once that is all done then, Friendbuy’s software will take over and run the campaign. There are many more ways to automate your referral program's different sequences or triggers in Friendbuy. After setting up the Advocate reward and Friend incentive, you can also program how the referral program will appear in each customer touchpoint and how to use different software to leverage automation.
Referral program promotion
Customers will likely make a referral if they love your products or services. But it isn’t just about the products; it also depends on whether they have a good customer experience and their positive interactions with your company. When the customer experience and great products align, it will be easier to convince Advocates to join your referral program. And then it will be all about marketing efforts and reaching out to them to make it easy for them to discover, join, and promote your referral campaign.
Below are some of the ways that you can use Friendbuy to easily set up and automate a referral campaign to reach more customers:
- On your homepage. Include an eye-catching button, banner, or image on your homepage to alert visitors of a referral program. Place it above the fold, on the sitebar, or on the footer of the webpage.
- On a website ribbon. Place a button with a CTA, aka a ribbon, along the sides of a webpage so that new customers can discover the referral program. With Friendbuy, the ribbon will automatically appear on every webpage so you do not have to program each webpage.
- In a quarterly email blast. Reach loyal customers through your email newsletters and prominently include campaign information in a banner or a clickable referral link that leads to the referral widget.
- In a post-purchase email sequence. Take advantage of a customer’s “shopping high” and include a referral widget or a referral link in the post-purchase email.
- After a positive review. You can automate the campaign and set up a positive review as a trigger. The customer will be sent a referral widget or sent to a referral landing page so that they can learn about the program.
- On social media. Adding an option to share a referral link through social media channels, like Facebook or Instagram, is one of the best ways to make more referrals and reach a lot of potential customers. It makes it super easy to promote the referral program; with just one click, the Advocate sends their referral link to all their friends.
- During holidays and sales events. A one-time holiday promotion brings a time limit and a sense of urgency to a campaign. An expiration date nudges customers to take action within a certain period instead of adding it to their to-do list.
- With rewards-based programs. One of the advanced features of Friendbuy is especially for super-advocates, who you can invite to become part of a VIP referral program. These influencers, brand ambassadors, and affiliates can receive even more products and discounts, or earn a commission for promoting your products.
Once your referral campaign has been running for a couple of months, you can start A/B testing to see if you can improve it and make it even more efficient. A/B testing is a technique to compare two versions of a variant (font, color, images, etc) to see which version has the maximum impact.
In the Friendbuy dashboard you can set up an A/B test and change every touchpoint in the referral flow, like offers, copy, design, and optimize for the KPIs that matter most to you. Plus, you can do concurrent A/B testing between the versions to see which is more effective. We recommend changing one variant at a time to really track what works.
One of our customers, the Disney Movie Club, experienced as high as a 50 percent lift in referral conversions through testing by increasing their reward offer.
There are over 20 software companies whose products seamlessly integrate with Friendbuy’s system. The best referral programs take advantage of software integration, making it incredibly easy to reach all your customers through SMS and email, collect email addresses and phone numbers, create referral links, and generate coupon codes, among other things.
It is all about maximizing access and lowering any friction at any of your customer touchpoints. Our referral experts are ready to help you set up and automate your referral campaign.
What To Look For In Referral Marketing Automation Software
The top features to look out for in referral program software are that it is easy to use and it will grow with you as your needs evolve. By now, with all that we have covered, you probably have a bunch of questions running around in your head. You are on the right track, asking the right questions before signing up for a referral program software is always a good starting point.
These are some of the FAQs our customers ask:
- Can multiple referral programs be run simultaneously?
- Who can make changes to referral program campaigns?
- How easy is it to make changes in referral program software?
- Can the software easily work with other APIs?
- Is it completely white-label? What does the customer journey look like?
- What happens if cookies are disabled or a Friend converts in a no-referred browser
- Can contacts be segmented and managed?
- Who can I talk to for guidance on how to use the software?
Contact our referral specialists for any questions you may have about referral programs.
Referral marketing automation should have an efficient process and mostly a set-it-and-forget-it type of operation that handles every step of the automated referral program. One of the reasons why our customers use Friendbuy is because it provides a seamless experience from when brands launch a referral program to Advocates and Friends receiving their rewards.
Another important feature of referral software is that it easily integrates with other software. While it is nice to think of software as a one-stop shop, the reality is that you probably have software that you use and already mastered. It is much better if the referral software works well with other software.
These are just some of the software that Friendbuy seamlessly integrates with your tech stack:
An easy-to-read dashboard that displays the data of a referral program is essential. After all, referral tracking is crucial as it shows you the referral program performance and can help you tweak a program to make it successful.
On Friendbuy’s dashboard, you can check out how a referral program is faring by browsing through the Analytics section. Tracking and reviewing referral program data and viewing customized reports is easy.
Are you ready to start automating your referral program?
These are just a few of the smart and actionable ways you can use to save time and grow your referral campaign. Friendbuy's automated system manages the routine steps of a campaign and integrates them with your existing workflow so you can focus on the more creative aspects of a referral program. If you need help with your referral program, we are here to guide you to create a winning referral program!