"Plenty of companies have referral programs," writes Kimberly Smith, "but how many can say theirs converts at about three times the rate of other online marketing campaigns and brings in over 500 new product sales each month?" In a case study at MarketingProfs, Smith explains how Roku—which makes devices that stream Internet content to televisions—achieved these results:

Testing incentives. The company experimented with rewards that ranged from cash and gift cards to charitable contributions. But a free month of Netflix became the sole incentive when surveys revealed that 80% of Roku customers were also enthusiastic Netflix subscribers. After this switch in the referral program, registration rates skyrocketed (from 1,000 per month to 8,000), referrals doubled and product sales increased by five-fold.

Simplifying the registration process. They use a simple form that doesn't scare customers off by asking for more information than they actually need.

Offering a variety of sharing options—including email. "Social media may be the hot channel everyone's looking to for customer recommendations," notes Smith, "but Roku found that more than 70% of its program registrants chose email for referring their friends."

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