July 4, 2018

A Crash Course In Referral Marketing In Under 600 Words

Hi. Simon here, I lead the Client Success Team at Mention Me. We’re a referral marketing technology platform and we’ve helped over 300 businesses be successful at refer-a-friend. When Figaro Digital asked me to pen this article I thought I’d make it a crash course in everything I know about referral… in just 600 words. Ready, set, go!

Here at Mention Me we talk a lot about the 3 P’s of referral marketing. Practicalities, Psychology, and Promotion are all major contributors to the success of a refer-a-friend programme.

  • Practicalities are the business elements external to your referral programme. This includes things like your target demographic, your customers’ satisfaction, and your purchase frequency.  These affect how likely your customers are to share, the channels they will use and when new customers will shop with you.
  • Psychology is where you take into account how a customer would feel about referring your brand; would sharing you make them look good to their friends? This is all about social capital.  Introducing a reward or incentive for sharing acts as a spark, but without social capital the fire will not catch!
  • Promotion, finally, is about where and when you ask your customers to share. The best point to ask for a recommendation is near an experience where they have been delighted by you, but don’t have to interrupt doing something else. We recommend the order confirmation page as a good place to start.

Your target audiences’ decision over whether or not to share a referral offer, is heavily influenced by one key asset: your referral offer promotion page. Specifically, its contents and design. This is where AB testing can be invaluable. We’ve learned that tiny tweaks to the way an offer is described or presented can make huge differences to its effectiveness.

Referral involves a longer conversion funnel, spanning two different people, so AB testing needs to be able to give consistency of experience to enable tests to run over long periods of time.  We call this cohort based AB testing and it’s built into our platform.  This is what enables us to measure the conversion effectiveness of a £10 off reward compared with 10%; or free delivery with a free gift. Your audience will respond differently to each offer and it all relates back to the relationship they have with your brand and product.

Another thing to know about referral marketing, if you are just getting started, is that it’s important to capture word of mouth along with your standard sharing methods of social media, email and links. Across my clients I see about 30% of newly introduced customers from refer-a-friend coming from word of mouth.

Last thing, which tends to get overlooked, is all the technical bits under the hood. This extends from having a well-considered approach to GDPR to configurable controls to restrict abuse of the scheme.  Many in-house tech teams who try to tackle creating their own referral platform underestimate this area.

I know I’m biased, but this where I’d recommend considering a specialist platform. A specialist platform brings the expertise on how to get your programme set up for success along with the technical know-how to keep it running like a well-oiled machine.


Simon Dring will be speaking about how to make referral awesome at your business at the Figaro Digital Summer Conference on July 12. For more information see the full agenda here.