How to Improve Referral Program Performance with Jay Gibb from CloudSponge

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In a follow-up to our previous podcast on how to set up referral programmes, Trevor talked to Jay Gibb from CloudSponge about how to improve the performance of referral programmes.

What is a referral scheme for eCommerce?

If your service is good, word-of-mouth marketing will already be happening for your store. A referral scheme encourages this behaviour by incentivising your customer to sell your brand to their friends. An existing customer will click on a link, send a referral code to their friends, and receive something, e.g. discount on a future purchase, a gift or a payment.

What are the reasons why referral schemes perform badly

Referral programmes fail to take off for a number of reasons.

Not publicising the programme enough. 

If you do not tell your customers about your referral programme, they won’t sign up! Common mistakes include:

  • Requiring a login to participate
  • Hiding deep in your menu structure
  • Not including it in receipts and invoices
  • Not including info in footer and header

Not using double-sided rewards

Whilst some people want to get a reward for making a referral, others value being the hero that sent an offer to their friends. Doubled-sided referral programmes cater for both customer types.

Making people type in email addresses

If you make users type in email addresses, they will get bored quickly. Users only have so much patience to enter a comma-separated list of emails, especially on a mobile device.

Using a solution like Jay’s company Cloudsponge, customers can import contacts directly from their email solution, e.g. Gmail. They can sign in directly to their email account and easily add multiple contacts. Cloudsponge has found by using this solution, referral schemes can double or triple referrals.



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