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In a word: fatigue. With every click and every tap, consumers feel bombarded by low-relevance, low-value ads that they actively mistrust, ignore, or (thanks to ad-blockers) never see.
Even industry leaders are in a cross-channel performance rut – and they can’t optimise their way out. Something bigger needs to change.
To cut through the noise and win back consumer trust, you need a new channel that’s both highly relevant and intrinsically trustworthy.
It’s the next evolution of referral marketing – and the high-performance channel your other channels need to get their mojo back.
Read our eBook: “A Beginner’s Guide to Referral Engineering®”
A single brand recommendation from a person we trust means more to us than a dozen digital adverts.
What’s more, people love to recommend their favourite brands to the people they’re closest to.
Tap into it, and you can connect with consumers – especially those that advertising no longer reaches – and get closer to the customers you already have.
But how do you ensure your customers are recommending your brand to their friends – and that their friends actually take them up on those recommendations?
The answer is referral marketing (but not as you know it).
Referral is an incredibly powerful force. If you can harness and engineer that force, you can:
But hold on: if referral is so powerful, why isn’t every business reaping these rewards?
* Based on top-performing clients, such as Glasses Direct.
** On average
*** Referred customers are 5x more likely to refer others
Their creators tend to underestimate the complexity and variety of the social relationships they’re trying to tap into – and the delicacy needed to drive recommendations between individuals without it feeling exploitative.
Underestimating what’s involved in getting referral right creates a disastrous domino effect, inevitably leading to the total collapse of referral marketing efforts.
It normally goes something like this:
Marketers see referral marketing as an ad-hoc add-on. They think they can plug it into their marketing stack, switch it on, let it run and watch the referrals pour in...
So they use "one-size-fits-all" referral widgets – which don't actually fit anyone (brands, marketers or customers)...
And run their referral marketing efforts with only a limited understanding of how to get the most from referral…
Which means they not only fail to see any real ROI, they never gather any insights into the human connections that would drive referral engagement...
The result? Mediocre referral programmes that disappoint customers and deliver limited referrals that are near-impossible to track.
A systematic, standalone and data-driven approach is needed. One that treats referral marketing as the essential and specialised discipline it is.
What marketers need is precisely what we’ve developed. We call it Referral Engineering®.
As the experts in Referral Engineering®, we’ll work with you to design and deliver rigorous and data-driven referral programmes tailored specifically to your audience, your industry, your needs and your goals.
And because they’re specific, our Referral Engineering® programmes (unlike referral widgets and DIY-referral programmes) actually work.
You need Referral Experts to translate these dynamics into specific Referral Moments in the customer lifecycle. (These moments depend on – among other things – each customer’s Propensity to Refer® and Referral Readiness.)
Referral Experts build high-performance referral programmes and continuously optimise them for different goals (like revenue growth, profit, product type, customer type) in a process called Referral Optimisation.
One of the most powerful optimisation tools in a Referral Expert’s arsenal is A/B testing by cohort.
Propensity to Refer® and Referral Readiness differ widely between customers, depending on their demographic and stage in the customer lifecycle.
That makes simple A/B testing too blunt an instrument for optimising referral. For the best results, you need to segment your audience into “cohorts” and run strategic A/B tests for each one.
This process depends on and produces Referral Intelligence®: data-based insights into your customers that can be fed back into your referral programme – and other marketing channels – to improve them.
At the customer end, our Name Share® mechanism enables a friction-free, exploit-proof referral experience that taps into everyday conversations to drive even better results.
Whatever metric you want to boost, whether it’s growth, acquisitions or loyalty, with our Referral Experts you can adapt your programme to achieve your specific goal.
Read The Big Book of Referral Engineering® Applications.
We’ve created precision-engineered referral programmes for over 450 brands (and counting), accelerating growth, enhancing customer relationships and generating some pretty fantastic case study stories along the way…
Read about some of our most successful referral programmes here.Discover the case studies
“The customers we acquire through referral have a significantly higher lifetime value than those acquired through paid social and paid search. As well as acquiring new customers, referral fits so well with the nature of what sending flowers is all about: shared experiences. It allows us to turn that into a sustainable marketing channel, backed by analytics and data. Since 2014, we’ve driven referrals worth more than £6.5m.”
Head of UK Marketing, Bloom & Wild
“Since switching from in-house referral to Mention Me, we’re now acquiring 4x more of our customers through this channel. As well as constantly testing elements of our programme to optimise performance, we now serve customers a smoother and more sophisticated journey that offers more ways to share Oddbox with friends. Already, more than half of our referrals convert into new customers. It’s safe to say we’ve switched our in-house referral programme off for good.”
Acquisition Manager, Oddbox
“Experimenting with A/B tests has given us valuable insight into our customers and promoting referral has been a great way to reiterate our brand’s message. We can’t wait to see what referral helps us to achieve next!”
CRM Manager, PrettyLittleThing
With our Referral Engineering®, brands typically increase new customer acquisition by 8%. (But this can increase to over 30% with our cutting-edge A/B testing by cohort capabilities.)
Our unique Name Share® feature typically accounts for 34% of all referrals.
And we can get you up and running in no time. Our clients typically go live within 30 days and see results fast.