After several experiences in Startup Growth Marketing, it is obvious to recognize that virality programs are often an extremely powerful channel to generate “healthy” acquisition. As traditional channels – natural referencing (SEO), paid advertising on Facebook or Google – are increasingly saturated, it is vital for companies to find more ingenious ways to rely on more sustainable growth. Here are some tips for you to make the most of this channel…


1. You need a good product

It is natural that satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your product or service to a friend.

Training & Co'm

If you’re solving a big problem with your customers, they might be talking about it around them. Virality is only possible if your product is good enough, so analyze your loyalty metrics first. A figure to remember: 83% of satisfied customers would be able to share the solution.

2. Use multiple channels

Emailing is often a relevant channel when it is used well. Select your most engaged users and send them a personalized and relevant email! Are these your most profitable customers? Thank them: why not offer them a special offer if they bring you an additional customer?

However, you need to understand when is the right time to start your campaign. The best time is when customers experience their “Aha moment”.

Aside from your existing customers, you can use retargeting as a method to capture the email addresses of people who have visited your store and left without making a purchase.

If you use social media for your business the right way, you’re probably avoiding spamming your fans with heavy promotions. People use social media because they like to react and engage with content.

It is almost impossible to get high engagement in biological positions that directly promote your referral program. That is not to say that you cannot use social media to get people involved.

The secret lies in entering their email addresses. For example, you can launch a Facebook gift campaign, ask people to like and comment, and then direct them to a home page for the gift.

As with social media, content marketing is not a way to directly promote your virality program. Instead of trying to promote your recommendation directly through your content, why not ask other companies that have the same target as yours to promote your recommendation program. Of course, that implies that you have to pay them for the service it does for you. It is also a way to ensure that partners are motivated enough to do it right.

Using offline practices to boost your referral program is something that only a few people do.

If you run a B2B business, there is a high probability of attending events. Instead of just giving a business card, you can give prospects a scannable card that leads them directly to your sponsorship campaign. The same mindset applies to stickers, leaflets or brochures!

3. The objectives

Here are the 3 types of people you are going to have:

  • Ambassadors;
  • Simple referents;
  • Neutrals.

Ambassadors are considered to have met the recommendation goal at least once or more.

Single referrers are people who, even if they have shared their virality code, have not yet co-opted a new customer.

Finally, neutrals are people who have signed up for your program but have never taken the initiative to share it with their friends.

Your goal is to make sure that neutral people and simple referrals turn to ambassadors, and that those who are already ambassadors continue to spread the word.

Since the neutrals are not very committed, a simple email has very little chance of changing anything. You can add them to your retargeting feed, reminding them that they have to share to get the reward.

For single referrers, you can use automated emails that encourage them to continue sharing. You can share certain data with them, such as the average number of people invited before receiving their first referral reward.

Now for ambassadors: email is your weapon of choice once again. Since these people are your best referrers, you should communicate this feeling of exclusivity to them. Give more as a token of gratitude for the effort they have made for you!

A referral program almost never works “on its own” and often takes a long time. Be ready to optimize, test, and reward!