What makes a referral program a good referral program?

18th Aug 2017
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An article on marketing-schools.org puts things in perspective w.r.t. referral campaigns/programmes, “The Word of Mouth Marketing Association reports that there are approximately 2.4 billion brand-related conversations every day in the United States. People frequently talk about the products and services they enjoy, and the companies who offer them.”

Key words to –note in this quote are “brand-related”, “conversations”, “people”, “products”, “services” and “enjoy”(experience).

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

These are the words one needs to keep in mind when devising and strategising on a customer referral programme that actually works, almost like a top-grade employee.

Here are four ways which have stood the test of 'fluctuating customer preferences' time and time again.

What you offer as experience will return to you as words

According to Beth Benjamin, Senior Director of Research at Medallia, “Millennials are keen to try new services, especially at bargain prices – and when they have a good experience, they tell their friends. In a typical month, two out of three Millennials use referral codes or discounts shared by a friend on social media, according to a Medallia Institute survey of 1,002 Millennials aged 21-32. 85% of Millennials post on social media after a memorable experience, good or bad, at a company, the survey found.''

People are talking. They are talking all the time, and they are talking everywhere. They are talking about the new game, the hover board, the new young drummer, the oldest tree, the new app, the next big thing, and everything else in between. Sooner or later they'll be talking about you too. The only way to ascertain a favourable position in their lingua franca is to offer them a great experience, by way of a great product or service.

Hire the right experts

If you keep your campaigns (ads, offers, etc.) cold and boring, you will be unable to pitch your tent in the conversations of your users. If you appear too desperate, you will never penetrate the cultural dialogue of your Target Group. It pays, therefore, to have digital strategists and professional creators of content to breathe life into your company's referral campaigns. Hire people who are good at looking at one problem via multiple perspectives. They will keep your communication exciting and authentic.

Never forget to thank

The schools of Bollywood and Hollywood have educated us all well enough in the dos and don’ts of friendship. Where Bollywood and Hollywood frown upon thank you's and sorry's in friendship, the corporate world swears by them. If you not careful with the tone, mannerisms and content of your referral campaign, you will receive ample chances to apologise. However, if that's not your way of working and you take your referrals campaign as seriously as, say, a product launch campaign, you will get many opportunities to extend your digital finger in gratitude. A personalised thank you will build a special place for your brand in the heart of your user. It's that place you'll need to tap into from time to time.

Reward those who praise you online; keep it a surprise

There's nothing like a good surprise. When it comes from the least likely sources, like the brand you just praised online for their great coffee or their kindly staff or decor, they become landmark moments for both, the user and the service provider.

Word-of-mouth will never go out of style. It's the fundamental on which trade was first built. Like in the olden days, it continues into the present day. The fact is nothing beats a great experience. If your product or service can undo a frown, wipe off a tear or bring one of joy, become music to taste buds, or enlighten or even just lighten the mind, you will get talked about with the same intensity. What you sow, so you shall reap. Where you will row, there you will go.

Read Also: A 7-step guide to creating a successful referral programme

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