Automation is a practice that can make anything easier. After all, when you don’t have to do things manually, a business can take care of itself. Your referral marketing program is no different. By setting key aspects in place, you can make sure your brand is moving forward, all while your referral program continues to thrive on its own thanks to referral marketing automation.
Learn how you can automate your own referral program as a budding business owner. Automate key tools like email marketing, templates, referral messaging, and more, to lead to a thriving customer acquisition channel and continued customer loyalty. Today, we’ll break down the benefits of referral automation, along with can’t-miss referral automation tips (including how to choose the best referral software).
Why automate a referral program?
There are many perks to automating a referral program, including increased customer acquisition. From simply freeing up time so you can focus on other things, to creating a more streamlined process, automating your customer referral program can bring in business growth and take responsibilities off of your plate.
With an automated program, you can easily track new and happy customers and learn who referred them (and therefore who gets the rewards). Don’t waste time doing this manually, as an automated program lets you instantly have access to who did what at your fingertips.
Meanwhile, customers can earn rewards for their referrals without your manual involvement. Don’t send out rewards – let the program handle it on your behalf.
Other tasks are also streamlined with the help of referral automation. For instance, registration and promotion aspects of your referral marketing, through a landing page and beyond, are simplified. There’s no need to keep track on your own – allow the infrastructure to guide customers along through each step of the process.
What parts of your referral program should you automate?
Next, it’s time to consider exactly which aspects of your program should be automated. There are many steps that have the ability to become automated. For instance, social media, reminding customers to refer, rewards, etc.
Consider what tasks may take up the most time or are the hardest to keep track of. You may also want to look at areas that are industry-specific, and how you can tailor them to make them easier with your referral program. Look at outreach, pricing, and referrer retention, as well as the effectiveness of your sales team for your business. When paired with brand ambassadors or influencers, and an automated loyalty program, your effectiveness can soar.
Promoting your referral program
Work with your email service provider to automate referral campaign email promotions as a marketing strategy. This is one more way you can get the word out about your referral program, but without having to do the work yourself. This is a great way to inform customers about your referral system, to remind them to reach out to others, and to capture new customers as they come in. You can use multiple email message types in order to create the right message for each scenario.
You can also use various social media platforms to automate posts, including those that promote your referral programs. Schedule posts in the social media platform itself, or use a scheduling service that allows you to send out messages at a later time and/or date. You can also review the stats in weeks to come so you can see what types of posts get the most engagement. That can also allow you tailor future posts to what your audience likes best.
Automated pop-ups are another way to promote your referral program. You can build them right into your website so users will be notified when they go to your site. Or add a certain trigger, so customers get the popup when heading to a certain page, after taking a certain action, etc.
Finally, consider automated reminders in your current customers’ account. That way, when they log into your site or app, they are asked to refer a friend. This is a great way to keep your referral program top of mind, and to remind them of what can be earned when spreading the word about your company.
Adding advocates to your program, so they don’t need to sign up
Another way to automate your program is to sign up customers for your referral program as soon as they buy or sign up for another action. This leaves less work on the customers’ end, and it ensures that they are enrolled in your program. No need to sign up or add an extra step. With an automated program, they’re added already.
This auto-add can be done when a customer:
- Completes a purchase
- Signs up for an email (by integrating with email service providers)
- Fills out a contact form
- Creates a user account with your brand
Tracking leads and sales that come from referrals
Now it’s time to look at new leads and where they came from. This works in your favor in a few different ways. One, it allows you to better understand the customer themselves. Learn their habits, what motivates them, and who they are most likely to refer as a new customer.
Two, you can hand out rewards with an automated referral system that keeps track of how much a customer has earned overtime, their current progress towards rewards, and who all they’ve brought in. They can go back and look at any time, and you don’t have to worry about keeping up to date with their earned stats.
You can also use this data to work backwards and trace leads back to the person who referred them.
All of this tracking can be automated easily with the right referral program software tool.
Move information from your referral program into other tools with ease, too. Use this for sales tools, ecommerce platforms, or a CRM. Easy peasy.
Sending rewards to advocates and referrals
You can also use the automation program to send out your referral rewards. Forget keeping track of who earned what the hard way, and let the automated program handle that on your behalf. This will allow you to ensure that customers earn their rewards and receive them in a timely manner.
Automated referral software can take the guesswork out of doling out referral prizes and keeping track of referrals. Consider this simple addition to ease tasks off of your plate and streamline the entire process.
Reminding customers about your referral program
Another perk of automated referral programs is to remind customers about the program. This can get them excited about referring others and inform them on how to use the program. Simple reminders – especially when they are automated, and therefore, require no time to send out or schedule – can greatly increase program participation.
Choosing a referral program software for automation
There are a few things to consider when looking at your referral program options and how to automate the process.
When deciding on a referral software program for referral automation, be sure to find out:
● Whether it has an API, for smooth integration with other systems. How can you integrate items? Find out if they’re compatible before you commit with any program.
● What other software programs it easily integrates with, to see if it aligns with your existing sales process and business type. You don’t want to be too far into the process only to find out your programs don’t mesh. Do your research on the front end to avoid that fate.
● In what ways the program tracks and updates referrals. How does it work and how can you use it to your favor?
● Whether the program can handle multi-step sales processes (if applicable). Multi-step sales processes are common for B2Bs. If you have a sales process that takes place over several steps, it’s best to work through this early on to better understand what you’re dealing with through your automated referrals.
● How you can manage, segment, and track contacts that the program collects. Again, this is about learning your software and using it to your best advantage. Learn how to segment your data so you can use it later on.
● In what ways the program automates reward fulfillment. How will rewards be handed out? What’s needed on your end? And how can you make the process as easy as possible?
● What customer support is available to help you set up the automations (a dedicated customer success manager is best). Consider your own customer management team and how they can best service your customer through this program.
To learn more about choosing the best referral program software for automation, take a look at this epic list.
Tools to automate your referral program
It’s now time to consider what other software you’ll integrate your referral platform with in order to automate your referral program. Understanding the platforms at hand will allow you to get the best out of what’s available and to better use them in your favor.
Foundational workflow automation tools pair with referral software, including Zapier, OneSaas, PieSync, and Automate.io. Check out the tools’ websites to see which apps they work with, and if they will best suit your referral needs.
You should also pay attention to the tools that your chosen referral software integrates with to let you automate processes of word-of-mouth marketing. Or, if you’re deciding between two (or more) software programs, do this with each in order to make the best decision going forward (both for you and your customer base).
There are many perks to automating your referral program and key aspects of its mechanics. Doing so can lead to more referrals, with less work by you and your company.