Each growing business will eventually come to the point where they understand how important a website referral program will be to their bottom line. At that time, the decision may come down to whether you want your own IT team managing the website element of your referral program, or whether you want to use an outside source, software or service to fill this need.
What Are Website Referral Programs?
Many websites such as ecommerce shops utilize their own custom created website referral programs by integrating their storefront in with other helpful online elements such as blogs, shopping carts and news. This is in effort to encourage information sharing in hopes that when a reader shares their blog, news or one of their products, that a viewer on the reader’s network will take interest, and come for a visit themselves. This scenario is the natural course of events as far as incidental social sharing goes. With a website referral program, users are attempting to trigger views to the business website, instead of just passively causing them.
Building a great website referral program for your business only requires a few critical elements and efforts.
Provide a Service Beyond
Provide a service beyond what is expected of your business. Are you running an e-Bakery? While offering your pastries and cakes, also offer visitors to your website a free PDF with tips and tricks for baking, focus on providing industry news on your blog and use your Twitter and Facebook accounts to reach out and answer questions in your area of expertise. Following the above or similar suggestions will brand your business as a helpful, informative, or educational one, on top of the fact that you sell the world’s best pastries and cakes. This opens up your demographics considerably when targeting audiences, too.
Provide a Reward to Sharers
Whenever someone does refer a new customer who makes a purchase, make sure the referrer gains a significant reward. It is up to the business owner to decide whether or not there will be scalable rewards, but rewards there should definitely be. It cost very little to set up a proper API for tracking who is sharing you, but it can be easily done with an outsourced contractor at an affordable cost. This is an investment well worth the money if you plan to utilize social media in your marketing strategy.
Aesthetics Mean Everything
Your website should be easy to look at and easy to use. Without those two elements you won’t even get past the front gate with most consumers. They can find an easier to manage system elsewhere that offers the same products or services as you do. Believe it or not, many customers are liable to choose an easy-to-use website over a product with a better price. While any helpful website builder knows how to avoid adding annoying scripts or popup to your site, there are many forms of ‘advertising’ that will encourage you to add those pop ups, pop unders and closing scripts to your site for some small or even erroneous benefit. Do not apply them. Keep it clean and easy!
Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture and Referral Marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture and Referral relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
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