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10 Best Referral Marketing Practices to Boost Your Sale

One of the best sources of traffic is social media. Not only is the audience highly active, but it is also the only platform that allows you to target your market by their interest.

Back then, the top advertising platform is Google. This has something to do with the astounding amount of traffic that searches for keywords on a regular basis. However, the act of searching for keywords does not really reveal a lot about the customer. Since they don’t have a profile with Google, targeting is limited to the keywords that they are searching. Thus, the conversion is not as high. In worse cases, you may find that you are spending a ton of advertising money with no return on investment.

Social media marketing, on the other hand, seems to be more effective. And it is not only because you can target a wider and more active market. It is because this market has already been segmented based on their demographic characteristics and their interests, take Facebook for example. It records more than the person’s age and location. It also records the photos and pages the person liked. This hyper-targeted data is what separates social media marketing from other forms of marketing.

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Now if you are not tapping this source of traffic, you are clearly missing out. This is your chance to promote your brand to a highly segmented market that is filtered based on demographic characteristics and interests. This will allow you to see what part of your market converts the best and show you where you can get the best return for your advertising investment.  

More than promoting products and services, you can also launch marketing campaigns on social media. A referral marketing program is one such campaign that has lasting benefits. Once launched, you can collect more than the email addresses of your existing customers. You also empower your customers by allowing them to promote your campaign to their family and friends. Thus, you also get the email addresses of their network. From here, you have the ability to promote your products and services directly to these people. Since they are often referred by someone they trust, their chance of conversion (their chance of buying or signing up to your list) is usually higher.

But before you go and launch your referral marketing campaign on social media, there are some things that you need to know. Here are 10 best practices that you should remember.

1 – Reward Shares

A normal referral marketing program often rewards email referrals. These programs usually have an online form that captures multiple emails and then sends a code for the reward via email when the form is properly filled up.

However, promoting a referral marketing campaign that captures emails on social media may not be as effective. It doesn’t mean that the form will not work. It just makes more sense to reward shares instead of email addresses.

So if you plan to promote your referral marketing campaign on social media, be sure to provide a choice for sharing. This doesn’t mean that you should remove the email capture in your referral page. No. You should not do that. Instead, just add a section where your prospects can share the referral program and get rewarded for it.

You don’t even have to do this automatically. If you can’t find a software that can do this, you can always do it manually. Some brands even go to the extent of noting everyone that liked their post or page along with other actions to determine rewards. Some even host a contest and require their prospects to follow multiple steps of sharing before they can qualify for a reward. This is entirely up to you and what works in your niche.

2 – Have an Enticing Incentive

Your referral marketing program is just as attractive as your referral incentive. So if you want more people into your program, have an enticing incentive.

Think about it this way. Would you sign up to a program whose reward is not really useful to you? I don’t think so. And even if you’ll sign up for some freebies here and there, your chance of signing up usually goes up depending on the reward. The more enticing the reward is, the higher your likelihood of signing up.

So what types of rewards can you give away? Well, the definition of an enticing reward depends on your nice.

If you want people to sign up to your site for an account, then cash may be a good reward. This is the reward that PayPal had given away in its early days allowing it to have a 1 billion user base.  

However, if you are running a Shopify or eCommerce website, then a discount code may be attractive. The discount code can offer a percentage discount or cash discount. A good rule to follow is to offer percentage discounts for low-priced items and offer cash discounts for high-priced ones.

On top of these, you can also give away some limited-time freebies. Some online shops go to the extent of giving away regular freebies of stocks that they have not sold. These offers are usually as good as supplies last.

3 – Use Referral Software

Running a referral program is a serious business. You need to track all your customers who are referring people to you so that you can reward them. You also need to track who they have referred and reward the friend as well. On top of these, you need to send out payments or coupons for rewards.

Running a referral contest manually is okay. But if you plan to have a referral marketing program in your website in the long run, then having referral software may be the best option.

You now have the power of automation with referral software. Not only can it help you gather and track leads, but it will also help you generate user dashboards and referral pages with a click of a button. It will really help to use some software to make your job easier.

4 – Look at Integrations

Using referral software is one thing. Using it on your site is another. You really cannot use referral software on your site unless you can integrate it.

With this, it is very important to not only go with the most popular software that you see. You need to check its integrations to see if it will integrate seamlessly with your current website. Ideally, you’ll want the software to work with popular platforms such as WordPress, Shopify, BigCommerce and others. You will also want it to work with other applications such as Mailchimp.

5 – Check Successful Social Media Ads

Before you can promote your referral marketing campaign on social media, you have to ensure that it will be successful. This is true especially if you plan to invest some advertising money into your campaign. You’ll want to ensure that the ad ‘works’ before you even launch it.

For this, I love to use AdEspresso. It is a tool that you can use to uncover successful social media advertisements in any niche. Ideally, you’ll want to search for a broad niche. This way, the tool will return more results.

referral marketing adespresso ad example

From here, you can look through the copy. You will be able to see the title, the description and the image used in the ad. Aside from this, you will also see the likes and the shares that the ad managed to generate. This is just a little trick that will give you an idea of how you want your post to look like before you even pay for it.

You can also use Social sharing tools to provide users with an easier way of sharing your content. If you add a Social popup on your site, for example, and ask your visitors to share or like some content, this will definitely bring you more popularity and will enlarge your audience.

We all know how effective is social sharing these days for online marketing, so just implement this knowledge in your own marketing to get better results.

6 – Use the Power of Hyper-targeting

As mentioned earlier, social media is one of the easiest ways to direct targeted traffic to your site. And it is not just about targeting interests, it is also about that one thing that is able to gather data about the prospect. What is that? That is Pixel.

Facebook Pixel is a line of code that is added to a website. The code records clicks, stays and checkouts. This allows Facebook to categorize the traffic that comes from them based on who takes action, who buys and who stays on the site.

On the surface, it may not seem that effective. But once put into good use, you’ll be surprised by how much traffic it can generate at a fraction of the cost. While in the beginning, you’ll need to pay more for your ads especially in the testing stage. As long as you have activated your pixel, you’ll be able to generate similar audiences and drive your ad prices down.

NOTE: This article will only give you a glimpse of Facebook advertising and its value. However, I will no longer go into detail on how Facebook advertising is done. That deserves another article.  

7 – Try Pure Share-for-Reward Campaigns

Since you are going to promote your campaign on social media, you’ll want to make your campaign as social media friendly as possible. To do this, you should create share-friendly campaigns. If you want, you can try pure share-for-reward campaigns. This is where you remove the email form altogether and only reward prospects for shares. I have seen some brands implement this for a limited time on their site and they have seen it to be quite successful.

8 – Turn Your Referral Campaign into a Contest

In this age where businesses have websites and social media channels, it is getting harder and harder to stand out. Without a good strategy, you’ll just be another brand in a sea of promotions.

The same is true for your referral campaign. Unless you have a strategy on how to stand out, your prospects will not have a good reason to promote you.

Fortunately, there is a strategy that stood the test of time: hosting a contest. If you apply this to your referral marketing program, the result can be tremendous.

Here’s how it works. A typical referral marketing campaign simply asks for the email addresses of family members and friends. Every input has a reward.

A referral marketing contest is something more. It gives away premium prizes to top performers. On top of the normal reward, the top performers can also win cash and other prizes for simply referring the most people. It is a nice addition to a normal referral program for it encourages your prospects to refer more people to the site.

9 – Campaign for a Cause

Another way to make your referral marketing campaign social media friendly is to promote for more than just sales. Promote for a cause. Some online stores state that proceeds will usually go to charity. You can use this with a twist. You can reward prospects who bring in sales and inform them that they have also contributed to charity. Just make sure that the charity is relevant to your niche. For example, a store of cat jewelry can send proceeds to cat shelters or homes. This will make the cause more relevant to the target market.

10 – Create Exclusive Campaigns for Influencers

We live in the age of influencers. More than the celebrities, there are also several sub-communities online that follow a particular influencer. You can use the power of these influencers if you create exclusive referral campaigns just for them.

How do you do that?

First, create a unique discount code. This code should be exclusive to the influencer’s target market.

Next, give away this discount code inside an optin. This means that your prospect should sign up before getting the code in their email.

Third, send the discount code to the influencer. From here, you can ask him or her to promote you or you can give them a free item that they can review. This will usually get them to promote you to their followers.

So the next time you run a referral marketing campaign for your business startup, don’t forget about social media. Social media has tons of potential to drive targeted traffic to your site. For all you know, it may just be the missing element to help you get more referrals to your program.

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