5 Steps to Launching your Product with Referral Marketing

June 29, 2018

This post will give you a good overview of how to go about setting up a referral campaign to launch your product. What you will learn:

1. Start with a Goal
2. Evaluate your Marketing Strategy
3. What’s in it for me?
4. Building out Your Campaign
5. Measure, Report, & Refine

1. Start with a Goal

I always suggest that you start with a goal. Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, I know what my goal is, I want to gain more customers! While yes, if you are working on an early stage product that is your end goal, but I encourage you to think beyond that. For example, you might want to gain more customers within a particular industry or build up a small group of influential brand ambassadors. By thinking beyond the simple goal of winning more customers, you will more effectively be able to target and measure the success of your campaign.

2.Evaluate your Marketing Strategy

You first need to determine how referral marketing is going to fit into your current marketing strategy. Odds are you are probably engaging in some marketing activities already, whether that would be blogging, social media, search advertising, etc…. Your referral campaign should not be a separate endeavor, but a unified part of your overall marketing strategy.

Targeted Messaging

If you set a goal to acquire 50 new users who are looking for a CRM solution, are decision-makers in their organization, and have at least $100,000 in monthly recurring revenue. Then make sure your messaging aimed towards those people and their pain points. By touching on their pain points, they will be more likely to take the next step. This targeted messaging is also commonly called your unique selling proposition. Note that this is something which is expected to change when your target audience changes.

Develop a Landing and Thank You Page

One of the keys to a successful referral marketing campaign is a successful landing page. When thinking about a referral campaign, your landing page will be talking all about your product and why they should sign up for it. I have defined the list below of 5 essential elements, and your landing page should contain to see sky-high conversion rates.

An eye-catching and robust headline that uses your key message (unique selling proposition)
Make sure the benefits are clearly explained up front
A clear and can’t miss call-to-action
No exit paths for users to leave the page
Strong visuals and graphics

The thank you page is an equally important part when it comes to referrals. Immediately after they have completed your call-to-action, take them to your thank you page. Your thank you page should mention your referral campaign in one way or another. Make sure the incentives and benefits of the referral campaign are clearly explained on that page. Test out some different ways to get your referral campaign in front of your users, test out different strategies, and get more referrals!

Automate, Automate, Automate

I can’t say it enough! The beautiful thing about marketing in 2018 is pretty much everything can and should be automated. When a user arrives at your landing page, signs up for your product launch, and gets directed to your thank you page, they should be passed into some workflow or journey. Nurturing them through the referral process just like you would the lead process. Send them regular emails letting them know their position on the leader board, remind them of the benefits of referring, keep your brand top of mind if nothing else.

3. What’s in it for me?

Human nature is always going to ask this question. Why is a customer going to refer your product to 5 of their colleagues? What is going to make them click that share on the LinkedIn button? Well, hopefully, they will because they love your product or are so excited about your product they want everyone else to know about it. While we all might think people feel that way about our product, the reality is that it does not always happen. Therefore, we incentivize them.

Since you are reading on how to launch your product with referral marketing, you would more than likely be using what we call a milestone campaign. At iRefer, a milestone campaign is a simple process where the more people a user refers, the more they get in return. By reaching each milestone, they reach a new incentive. Your milestone structure is entirely up to you.

The most important item when talking about referral campaigns and incentives is to make sure each milestone is providing real value to your users! Don’t send them a free t-shirt after five referrals if your audience couldn’t care less about a free t-shirt. Maybe they would much rather get one month free of your service after ten referrals? Take the time to understand your users, figure out what motivates them, and incentivize them effectively. Don’t leave them asking the question, “What’s in it for me?”.

4. Building out Your Campaign

Now that you have all the planning figured out you can move to the next step of actually building out your campaign. There are essential elements that you’ll need to take into effect for every referral campaign that you run, the majority which we have already touched on this article.

Sign-up Form

When running a milestone referral campaign, you’re more than likely going to use an embedded form. Keeping it simple and asking for fields like name and email are usually all you need. If you want more details to help with qualification, then feel free to add those. However, keep in mind that conversion rates will likely drop.

Notifications

Notifications might be the most critical part of the referral process. Once they have completed that sign-up form, they are typically sent an email right after. That email needs to revisit your targeted message that you defined earlier, briefly touch on the benefits, give sharing options, and finish with a strong call-to-action.

Sharing

Providing a multitude of sharing options is always the best route to go. Allowing users to share by email, WhatsApp, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others only increase your odds of exposure. While one user might prefer to send an email off to 10 of his closest buddies, another user would prefer to send it out to his LinkedIn network of 1,000 followers. Allowing your users to click a button and push your message out to a network of people makes it easy and efficient for the user.

Rewards

Last part of building out your campaign is to list out those incentives or rewards which you previously defined. Send out email updates or notifications once they reach a new milestone. Let them know they are appreciated! By providing timely and beneficial updates for somebody who is promoting your brand, you are encouraging them to become a brand ambassador and not just a customer.

5. Measure, Report & Refine

The last step in running a successful referral campaign for your product launch is to measure, report, and refine on everything you have done. Ask yourself questions like:

Did we reach our sign up goal?
How many unconfirmed sign-ups did we have? Is this number acceptable?
What medium drove the most referrals?
Did our referrals come from a large group of people? Or did they come from a small group of strong brand ambassadors?
Does it look like our incentives provided real value to the customer?
Were there specific time periods where we saw a huge spike or decrease in sign-ups? What caused that?
What can we change to be more effective next time?

That last question is probably the most important of them all. You should always be striving to improve your referral campaigns. Even though a product launch is a one or two-time campaign you might run, referrals can still be extremely beneficial for your organization. So by identifying what areas you can improve or change to be more effective can help you during other referral marketing initiatives, you will run.

If you have any questions about starting your product launch referral campaign? Leave a comment, and we would love to start a conversation.