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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Referral Marketing Platform

If you run an online business and are looking for a way to increase your sales, there’s no better place to look than at your referral marketing platform. Whether you’re one of the local businesses, or a big company, you can benefit from it.

However, the best referral software is not always the most expensive one. This article talks about how to find out which one is right for you, and it also talks about what you should look for when choosing a company perfect for the needs of your online business.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the different types of referral marketing solutions and what they do best. We’ll also provide tips on how to choose the right one for your needs.

What is a referral marketing platform?

A referral marketing platform is software that helps you to get your existing customers to act as salespeople for your company using various referral programs and referral marketing software tools.

This is how it works: your existing customers turn into genius referrals by encouraging their friends and family members to buy the same products they bought, or sign up for the services they use. In essence, all they have to do is refer a friend (through word of mouth at first, for example), complete the referral process and boom – your referred customers suddenly become your sales leads and, as a result, join your business and convert into loyal customers. This is how you build a referral factory for your business. But how exactly does such a referral factory work?

A referral program is kind of like a loyalty program, but dedicated mostly to businesses with online stores. It works by encouraging the people from your existing customer base to act as brand advocates and share their experiences about your business with others, slowly but effectively growing your referral factory to a satisfactory size. This can be done by giving rewards such as discounts or free products for referrals within the referral programs. One of the biggest advantages of such marketing strategies is that they work a little bit like performance marketing – you only ‘pay’ for the advertising when there are measurable results, for example when a referred customer makes a purchase.

The most important part of this process comes from the fact that you’re not trying to convince someone who doesn’t know you well enough to refer you – they already have an existing relationship with these potential new customers and friends through social media or email lists.

You’ll want to choose an effective referral program software company that will allow them access into those circles so that they can reach out directly to those contacts instead of starting from scratch on every new lead, using word of mouth marketing for example. This way, you can get more referrals in a shorter period of time. And more referrals means a higher possibility of increased customer retention, repeat business opportunities and also better brand awareness. Doesn’t it sound like the perfect recipe to run referral programs?

Types of Referral Platforms

There are many different types of companies offering a reliable customer referral programs today.

Some offer customizable tools for building a referral marketing platform while others provide more automation options (which tend to be priced higher). While some companies only allow email referrals, other referral programs support social media campaigns like Facebook advertising and YouTube videos.

Additionally, there’s also differences in terms of how much data tracking each program offers; some will track individual visits while others can track overall traffic sources down specific pages on a website (and what products that traffic is looking at).

The benefits of referral marketing platform

1. Referral marketing is a great way to increase customer loyalty.

The process of referral marketing helps to turn your current customers into brand ambassadors. They are already familiar with working within the platform and giving referrals, so they’re more likely to continue doing this over time rather than simply forgetting about you after their initial purchase is complete.

What’s even better is that their friends will be much more willing to listen because they trust these recommendations which come from people close to them (and who probably look like them).

By using a referral program instead of traditional advertising methods such as cold calling or email blasts, not only do you get access to new leads but existing clients can help grow your business on autopilot without requiring any extra effort on your part. That means both increased profits and less work for everyone involved!

2. You don’t have to pay for referrals, they come from your customers!

One of the best parts about a good customer referral program is is that you don’t actually pay for your customer referrals. Instead, they are people who would have bought from you anyway but were encouraged to do so by someone close to them because it was in their own interest (not yours).

Customers don’t need anyone’s permission or incentive, like a free trial, if they know what’s good for them; all they require is a platform which will allow them to refer others and get rewarded for doing so. This makes working with customers much easier since there isn’t any convincing involved – it happens naturally when two friends share products together online!

As long as you’ve chosen one of the reliable referral marketing tools on the market, then a lot of the times referrals just come pouring into your business organically as a result. In fact, it’s estimated that roughly 70% of sales come from referrals on average – so this is something you’ll want to take advantage of and gather as many genius referrals as possible! The more referred customers, the better.

With the right referral marketing program in place, customers can refer a friend or family member with just a few clicks or taps since they’re already familiar with your products and services. This means new leads for your business which are more likely to turn into conversions than if you had been personally reaching out through cold calling or Facebook advertising without any background knowledge about these individuals beforehand.

3. It’s a more personal approach than traditional advertising and can be done at any time of the day or night.

Traditional advertising methods such as cold calling and email blasts aren’t nearly as effective for many businesses today.

Many people are opting out of using their personal phone numbers or checking work emails on weekends, so these strategies often end up being fruitless even if they do get sent to the right people since you’re not likely to receive callback requests until business hours resume again (which may be days later depending on how long it takes them to respond).

With referral marketing campaigns, however, there’s no need for scheduling certain times during the day nor having specific time slots open when customers can reach out through live chat or social media platforms like Facebook Messenger. Instead, this automated platform is always available regardless of what time it is at any given moment thanks to its 24/7 feature, so customers can always reach out whenever they want.

Unlike traditional referral marketing programs which require an initial signup or set of steps to take before a referral link or a referral widget is generated and then sent out to friends automatically, with this automated platform everything happens instantly without any extra button-pushing required on your part. So you’ll be able to see results almost instantaneously as well!

All referral requests come through the dashboard where you’re also given access to analytics reports for each campaign separately (meaning if one referral program isn’t doing too well but another is thriving instead, it won’t impact their ability to track referrals independently). That’s because all customer interactions are carefully monitored by the software rather than requiring manual entry.

4. It’s an affordable form of advertising that doesn’t require you to invest in expensive equipment or staff members.

Traditional referral marketing solution is often very expensive, but this automated referral platform is actually one of the most affordable options on the market today.

This means you can pass along hefty savings to your customers through referral incentives without having to raise prices or offer special discounts for buying in bulk since they’ll be receiving them by sharing with their friends and family online automatically.

Customers who have never worked with referral marketing tools before may still feel hesitant about signing up at first because it seems like a complicated process – especially if there’s no real incentive being offered to entice them further! So offering free coupons or a free trial as an initial incentive can help to boost enrollment rates quickly so that more people will begin referring others right away once they see how easy it is to do.

Customers are also more likely to sign up if they see referral incentives being offered for sharing your business using a referral link on their social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This is because these platforms usually offer the most personalized approach in terms of referrals compared to other referral marketing channels and strategies, such as email blasts, influencer marketing, affiliate program or traditional referral programs that require customers to refer friends through a text message or using word of mouth.

That is exactly what your best referral tools should deliver, too. No matter how you decide to do it, customer acquisition, as well as exceptional customer service should remain your top priorities. A good referral program can often be measured based on the referral program performance: everything that contributes to ensuring that it’s successful and brings profits into the company.

With this automated referral platform, there’s no need for you nor any staff members at all so there’ll be less costs associated with running it too! This means you can keep overhead low while still reaping the benefits of offering referral marketing campaigns without having them eat into profits.

You won’t have to worry about whether or not employees will actually get around to sending out referral requests or referral marketing content on your behalf either since it’ll be done automatically instead.

It’s also easy to set up referral marketing campaigns that are drip-fed with this referral platform, so you can build anticipation for new products and services even before they’re available! This way customers will already know what to look forward to when the time comes (and will feel more inclined to refer others once they see how beneficial sharing is).

For example, if a clothing startup wants their business promoted through a referral program but don’t want people spammed by sending out invite links early on in case word gets around too quickly about their trendy clothes then drip-feeding them over several days leading up to the official launch date allows everyone involved time enough space between each referral campaign to really spread the word. Similar scenarios could apply to companies like insurance agencies, restaurants, real estate enterprises and other businesses that could advocate programs promoting ‘refer a friend’ sort of activities or affiliate program initiatives.

Customers will also be more likely to share your links and refer a friend or a family member if they know that there’s a deadline for signing up so it’ll raise referral rates since people are always looking for good deals too.

It’s up to you who you mange your own referral program to ensure maximum effectiveness. Whether it’s a signup deadline, a free trial or something else, you will always be able to find something that will make your own referral program beneficial, there’s no doubt regarding this.

5. You can track how many people are referring new customers by using referral statistics on the platform.

You can track referral statistics through your referral program to get a better idea of how many people are actually referring new customers.

With traditional referral platforms, you need to manually add each interaction once someone has shared your business with another person which may be difficult to keep up or inaccurate depending on who is doing the tracking and when they’re doing it!

This automated referral program allows you access into customer insights that help improve decision making like knowing what times of day work best for sharing referrals too (and encouraging others) so there’s no more guesswork involved in whether or not something will actually work out well enough.

When businesses run referral programs in a traditional way, they often send out one-off text messages or emails asking their customers if they could share links through various referral platforms but this doesn’t have the same impact as drip-feeding referral marketing content over several days since it makes customers feel more inclined to share instead.

This referral platform allows you to build anticipation leading up to a new product or service launch too so your referral rates will be higher due to people being excited about what’s in store for them!

Customers won’t mind sharing referral links if they’re done automatically by this referral program either; all they need is an incentive that works well enough at eking out their interest like free coupons, an extra free trial, discounts, and/or giftcards (depending on your customer satisfaction goals).

Customers are also likely to refer others when there’s a deadline involved with signing up because everyone loves good deals too which means referral rates will be higher if referral marketing campaigns are drip-fed over several days.

You can also track referral statistics to see how many people are actually referring new customers since it’s automated instead of having someone manually add each interaction when they share something which may or may not be accurate depending on who is doing the tracking and when they do it. Having access to multi campaign capabilities like this is actually highly beneficial.

How to pick the best referral marketing platform for your needs

#1 Identify the goals of your campaign

What marketing goals do you want to achieve? Think about them, as well as how you will monitor key performance indicators. Tracking statistics within your own referral programs is key and referral campaigns should drip-fed over several days to raise referral rates.

Customers will also be more likely to share referral links with their friends and family if they know that there’s a deadline for signing up so it’ll raise referral rates since people are always looking for good deals too!

With traditional referral programs, you need to manually add each interaction once someone has shared your business with another person which may be difficult to keep up or inaccurate depending on who is doing the tracking and when they’re doing it!

This automated referral program allows you access into customer insights that help improve decision making like knowing what times of day work best for sharing referrals too (and encouraging others) so there’s no more guesswork involved in whether or not something will actually work out well enough.

#2 Review your current marketing strategy and see if referral marketing is a good fit

Is referral marketing a good fit for your company, though?

With a good referral marketing program , you can build anticipation leading up to a new product or service launch too so referral rates will be higher due to people being excited about what’s in store for them!

Customers won’t mind sharing referral links if they’re done automatically by this referral program either; all they need is an incentive that works well enough at eking out their interest like free coupons, discounts, and/or giftcards (depending on your customer satisfaction goals).

Customers are also likely to refer others when there’s a deadline involved with signing up because everyone loves good deals too which means referral rates will be higher if referral campaigns are drip-fed over several days. You can even track referral statistics with this referral platform to see how many people actually

#3 Determine how much time you have to dedicate to the project

How long do you have to dedicate towards this referral marketing software?

The referral links can even be automated so customers will share them with their friends and family like it’s no big deal because they’re done automatically too!

This referral program allows you access into customer insights that help improve decision making like knowing what times of day work best for sharing referrals (and encouraging others) too.

There’s no more guesswork involved in whether or not something will actually work out well enough when it comes to referral rates thanks to this referral campaign platform since there is never any manual input required from your team once everything has been set up.

#4 Consider what type of customer base you are looking for

What is the best customer base for your referral marketing software?

It is important to consider the type of customer base you are looking for before making your referral marketing software purchase. For example, if you sell high-end luxury products or services that cater to a more upscale clientele then referral marketing programs with multi-channel capabilities might be something worth exploring further.

If you have an extensive social media following it may also make sense to look into referral software providers who can sync up their platform with yours so that referrals come through seamlessly on each channel without requiring too much work from customers and recipients alike.

If however you are targeting small business owners in particular industries referral networking sites like LinkedIn could be well suited towards your needs as they allow businesses within similar niches to connect online via profiles where users can exchange referral information and referral business cards.

If you sell a product or service that caters to an older demographic referral software providers with CRM capabilities may be worth exploring as well so that your clients can easily keep track of all referral interactions which will help maximize the success of future referrals each client passes along.

#5 Learn which referral marketing platforms are most appropriate for your business model 

What referral program will work best for your business?

At this point it is important to consider which referral platform will work most effectively with your company’s business model. For example, if you are looking for a referral software provider that has an expansive library of customizable referral emails then another referral marketing solution might be better suited towards the needs of your small business.

It is also worth noting that depending on the size and type of product or service you sell there may be certain referral marketing platforms out there who have pre-built email templates which can save you time when trying to create well customized messages yourself.

#6 Conduct market research on each platform and compare their features against one another

What sort of features can a good referral software solution offer on each platform?

Once you’ve narrowed down your referral program software list to a few finalists, it is time to do some deep diving research on the various referral software providers and their unique offerings.

Some types of referral program software will have advanced referral tools for analytics and monitoring that provide very detailed information about how successful referrals from customers turn out over time, while other referral marketplaces may be better suited for those who wish to develop their own customized email campaigns as opposed to leveraging pre-made ones.

It’s also worth noting here that some referral networking sites like LinkedIn offer both free and paid services with different levels of access so make sure you understand which type of account best fits your referral marketing needs.

Another important thing to look into is the referral software’s mobile app capabilities, especially if you are looking for referral marketplaces where clients can join your loyalty programs via smartphones and tablets in addition to desktops.

The last but not least factor that should come into play when choosing a referral platform is whether or not they have free trial periods so that you can get an idea of how well their referral engine works before laying down any money on it.

There are also many other factors worth considering at this stage such as pricing structures, security protocols, technical support options etc., depending on what type of business you run these categories may be more critical than others so make sure you know which features matter most to your company’s unique referral marketing goals.

#7 Evaluate how much time it will take to implement each type of system 

How much referral marketing implementation time is required?

Even the best referral software providers will still require a certain degree of investment on your part in terms of learning curve.

If you are looking for referral marketplaces that offer customizable referral emails then it’s safe to assume that you’ll need to spend some time tweaking these messages to fit them into your unique business model, especially if they’re being sent out en masse across different lists and groups.

The other factor which should be considered at this stage is how long each platform requires users go through its onboarding process before allowing them access to their referral engine dashboard.

Depending on what type of product or service you sell there may be more than one referral channel needed so with pre-built integrations such as Shopify referral platforms, you’ll need to make sure that these referral engines are easy enough for your team members to set up on their own.

There may also be certain referral program software solutions where it’s necessary to work with a dedicated account manager so if this is the case then make sure they communicate well and are available during business hours before making any decisions.

How long does each onboarding process take?

Depending on how many referral channels you have or plan on having with one referral software provider, there will most likely be different rates of complexity depending on how much time is required in order for users go through all relevant steps which lead towards setting up campaigns, tracking referrals etc.,

Some referral marketplaces offer very detailed user manuals complete with detailed video tutorials so that users can go through the onboarding process at their own pace while other referral software providers may have a very streamlined referral engine which makes it easier to get up and running quickly.

#7 Choose a platform based on these criteria and start implementing!

What referral marketing program should you choose?

The referral software industry is growing rapidly and there are many different referral platforms to choose from depending on your specific needs.

Some referral networks like LinkedIn offer free and paid services with various levels of access so make sure you understand which type of account best fits your referral marketing goals.

The last but not least factor that should come into play when choosing a referral platform is whether or not they have free trial periods so that you can get an idea of how well their referral engine works before laying down any money on it.

There are also many other factors worth considering at this stage such as pricing structures,the possibility to automate referrals, security protocols, technical support options, partner programs and so on. Depending on the type of business, these categories may be more or less critical.

6 questions to ask when choosing a referral platform 

#1 What is the cost of your service and how does it compare to other options on the market

Of course, it will always matter what is the price to pay!

First things first, referral marketing software is not free and you will need to pay a certain amount in order to get access. Some referral marketplaces such as LinkedIn also offer paid services which may or may not be worth considering depending on your business model.

The good news is that there are referral platforms out there whose pricing structure doesn’t change no matter how many referrals you send so this type of platform can be very cost-effective for small businesses with low customer volume but high referral conversion rates.

Other referral channels charge based on the number of contacts sent across so these types of tools should only be used by companies who already have extensive lists and experience with their automated referral engine since it could end up costing them than they would like if they don’t send enough referral requests on a monthly basis.

#2 What features are included in your service, such as integrations or customer support?

Customers who will use this type of software should expect that it’s very easy-to-use but also come packed with various options including customizable analytics dashboards so they know how well their campaign is doing at all times.

#3 How easy is it to use – do you have a demo available for me to try out before I sign up?

Depending on the referral engine, there are various levels of difficulty in setting up referral marketing software.

Some referral platforms come with very detailed user manuals complete with video tutorials so that users can go through all necessary steps without having to rely on any support staff while other referral engines may need more time for end-users who want access to advanced features such as tracking referrals across different channels or creating multiple referral campaigns simultaneously.

Of course, since this is a new type of technology it’s also important to consider whether you have an option to contact their technical team in order to get help when things aren’t working properly which could be somewhat tricky.

#4 What type of customers will this platform work best with (smaller businesses, larger companies)   

Generally referral platforms are designed to work with any type of business no matter whether their volume is low or high since referral marketing can be very effective for both cases. However, it’s always worth noting that some referral engines may have a limited range of features which could significantly impact the number of referrals sent across by your customers so make sure you carefully check this before signing up.

#5 Is there any way for my business’s referral program to be unique from others on the market?

Some referral platforms may offer customization options for referral marketing software tools to be unique depending on the type of business while others will come with various features including customizable referral templates which can help you create original referral emails.

A key thing to look out for when choosing a referral platform is whether your customers are able to easily track their referrals’ progress across different channels. Some referral engines make referral tracking software very simple by granting users access to comprehensive analytics dashboards where they can monitor key performance indicators.

Examples include: how many new sales leads have been generated, most recent conversions, what type of a reward clients get – all in one place without having to rely on any special skills or complicated metrics tools. Now, isn’t it what the best loyalty programs should have?

#6 Do I need any special training or knowledge about technology, design, or marketing in order to use this product?

Depending on referral platform, there is a range of levels of difficulty when it comes to referral software. If the referral engine offers step-by-step user manuals with video tutorials then you won’t need any specific knowledge or training in order to use this type of technology – if anything, users will find the installation process very easy and straightforward since everything has been designed from their point of view.

However, some referral engines may offer highly customizable dashboards which means that business owners who want access to more advanced features such as tracking referrals across different channels will have to rely on technical support team.

This is all in case they get stuck somewhere along the way, so make sure that your chosen referral software isn’t too complicated for non-tech savvy customers.

What should I look for in referral marketing software?

There are several key features to consider when looking into various referral program software:

* Channel Integration/Multi-Channel – Does this particular referral network integrate seamlessly across social media, email newsletters and other channels, meaning customers do not need to post multiple times on different networks? If yes then they likely have channel integration options like API access which would allow them to sync up with existing systems such as CRM software so referral marketing can be easily incorporated into your overall business strategy.

Does this referral platform offer multi-channel integration across social media, email newsletters and other channels?

* Customer Support – How much customer support is included with their service? Is it 24/hr live chat or phone access where I will get to speak to a representative immediately if needed? Will there be tutorials available for me to learn the ropes before having any issues pop up later on down the road when trying out new features like referral surveys ? 

How fast does their team respond via phone or email during off hours (if offered) & what are typical response times throughout the week in regards of customer service inquiries that arise from customers using referral platforms over time?

* Customization options – Does this referral platform allow for customization? Some referral platforms offer custom referral page designs, referral tracking URLs and other customizable features.

Does the referral software come with pre-made templates or can I upload my own image/logo to be featured on our referral landing site?   

What level of customization is included in your service (i.e., design, text)?

* Decision making tools – What decision making tools are offered by this referral platform ? Can you create a multi-level contest where customers get rewarded when they refer others who also go on to make purchases themselves down the road? 

Do any type of contests or sweepstakes come as part of using their system as well as what referral marketing software?

* Reporting and Analytics – What type of referral reports can I view with this referral platform ? Is there a dashboard where I can see what channels customers are engaging from, who the top referrers in my network are or when was the last time someone referred new customers to me through your referral system.

What kind of referral analytics data is included with their service (i.e., channel integration)?

How often does it update? Do you have any integrations that will allow for customizable reporting features such as Google Analytics & other CRM platforms like Salesforce etc.?     

* Referral Emails – Does this referral platform offer email templates that promote referrals and motivate people to your referral program and send along friends to make a purchase?

Does referral software allow you to set up referral email templates that will get sent out automatically when someone has referred someone else through the referral program.

* Referral Marketing Culture – Does this referral platform have any social sharing features? Can they integrate easily with other systems I use like CRM, eCommerce and analytics tools ? What are some of their key success stories for previous customers who implemented referral marketing using this product or service in the past? Who uses it currently on my behalf as well as how can others spread awareness about our referral campaign if we decide to choose them over another option available on the market right now?

Four-step checklist for picking the perfect referral marketing software

Now that you know what types of a customer referral program there are available, it’s time to start shopping. Here are four tips on what you should look for while looking for the best referral programs out there:

Price Range – Most companies offer several different price ranges depending on how much automated work they do and how many features they provide. You’ll want to make sure their prices fit within your budget so that you won’t need to hire extra employees just to keep up with campaign tasks.

Technology Compatibility – While most referrals will be done through email or social media these days, some people still prefer phone calls over anything else (while others may use text messages instead). You’ll want to find a referral platform that can integrate with your current technology, including the phone system, so that you can incorporate and use various techniques, like email marketing, SMS marketing, social media and so on . Customer Service – A good referral tracking software company will have representatives available 24/7.

Services Offered – Some companies specialize in certain personalized referral campaigns more than others. If you don’t want to deal with customer service or other aspects of referral management then it’s best to go for a referral program designed specifically for what you need.

Time Commitment Required – Depending on how automated the types of your referral marketing campaigns are, you could be spending anywhere from under ten minutes per day all the way up to several hours every single day depending on how complex your personalized referral campaigns are and which features they offer.

Evaluating Referral Platforms against One Another 

Now that we’ve discussed some basic referral platform requirements and what referral platforms are out there, it’s time to compare different types of referral marketing programs against one another.

Just like choosing a college major or an apartment complex, the best and most effective referral program for you might not be perfect for someone else.

For this reason, you’ll need to find one that meets your specific needs. Examples could include driving customer acquisition, incorporating word of mouth type of marketing, promoting brand awareness or offering having your own referral program or affiliate program to customize and tailor.

Data Amount – The amount of data available depends on how much automation they offer. You can get great results with manual campaigns but automated ones will provide more precise statistics about who is sharing content and when which means better insights into each customer interaction.

Marketing Focus – Some referral marketing solutions have multiple focuses including social media management tools while others are designed specifically for referrals only (for example by focusing exclusively on email).

Ease-of-Use – Referral program software is designed to make campaigns easier for businesses of all sizes when choosing the right marketing channels to promote their businesses through. You may need training or professional help if you aren’t familiar with technology, but once you understand how to run referral programs, it should be much simpler to manage them on your own.

Cost – Referral platform prices vary widely based on the service provided and other factors. Some companies have monthly fees that include everything while others charge per referral or use a pay-as-you go model where customers only pay when they want more features added

Time Commitment – While referral program software will take away some tasks from business owners so that they can focus their efforts elsewhere, most still require at least ten minutes each day in order to set up new referral content, check analytics reports, and manage customer interactions.

The referral platform you choose will depend on your unique needs and goals, so it’s important not to rush the process, especially if referral software is a new concept for your company.

Don’t forget that referral platforms are designed to work together with social media management tools or other referral programs in order to get better results from all of your efforts!

Services Offered – Some companies specialize in certain types of referrals more than others. If you don’t want to deal with customer service or other aspects of referral management, then it’s best to go for a referral program designed specifically for what you need.

Over to you

We hope that our guide will help you pick the best referral marketing software for your needs. Finding the best referral marketing tools in the sea full of average and below-the-average solutions can be time consuming, which is why this article should make it a bit less challenging for you. Genius referrals are at your fingerprints – you just need to learn how to spot them.

Do you know any referral marketing programs worth recommending, based on your experience? Let us know in the comments below!

You can also check what EarlyParrot gets up its sleeves – we have a lot of features for you to check out.

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