Spread the word: Brands jump on referral bandwagon

Kevin Palmstein, Mobile/Web Application Product Management Leader

We’re more connected to our social networks than ever before. We’ve built up large circles of “friends” (even if they’re purely digital connections) and we love to stay in touch with them. So it makes sense that referral programs, powered by new technology and ready for mobile, are more popular than ever. Brands are finding big value in promotions that reward consumers for referring friends, while rewarding those friends for taking action on an offer.

Why refer?
Referrals are the kind of “win win” that consumers seem more eager than ever to participate in. From the brand perspective, it’s an ideal way to turn fans into genuine advocates. The statistics bear us out. More than 84 percent of consumers says they trust recommendations that come from a friend; people trust recommendations from friends at a rate seven times higher than that of traditional advertising; and people are four times more likely to buy a product or service if referred by a friend. In fact, 65 percent of new business comes from customer referrals, so it makes sense to build up that referral base with an engaging and rewarding new program.

Building momentum
Here at YA, we’re noticing that refer-a-friend activities are a topic that’s generating a lot more interest in our client conversations. Our fourth quarter brought a flurry of referral activity, with three new programs kicking off. We helped a major lawn service manufacturer build out a successful U.S. referral program into all of Canada, worked with a Personal Emergency Response Service to help them reach out to those concerned about vulnerable loved ones, and created a program to encourage a sports team’s season ticket holders to tout the value of the experience to their friend. (For that last one, we set a new land-speed record here at YA, with the team turning a complete program around in 12 days to meet a pre-Thanksgiving Day launch target. Whew!)

Let’s talk
The platform we’ve created is truly a world-class system that makes it easy for advocates to refer and for new customers to be rewarded. We monitor and optimize data and push out compelling communications to keep the program top of mind. When the referral happens, and the offer is acted upon, we facilitate the redemption of physical or virtual rewards. It’s fast and easy for consumers and incredibly valuable for the acquisition-building strategies of brands.Want to learn more about how YA can help you use referrals to build on the power of your biggest fans and turn them into a super-powered selling force? Contact me to get the conversation started.

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