2 Creative Ways To Fire Up Your Customer Referral Program


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Compared to flashier marketing tactics, referral marketing programs might seem pretty straightforward. Just ask your customers for a referral, cross your fingers and hope a few high-quality leads trickle in.

But the truth is, some of the best customer referral campaigns are innovative and creative.

We recently interviewed Danielle Camara, Senior Customer Marketing Manager at Marketo, and Michael Beahm, Customer Advocate Marketing Manager at Blackbaud, about two referral marketing campaigns they created that were both out-of-the-box and undeniably effective.

Watch the webinar recording below to learn Danielle and Michael’s strategies for spicing up your referral marketing campaigns and generating more quality customer referrals.

1. Marketo: Proactive Customer Referrals

When customers get asked for referrals, they often have a hard time coming up with someone off the top of their head.

But Marketo has found a way around that. Danielle’s team goes through a list of each customer’s social media connections and selects an individual they think fits the Marketo customer profile. Then, they ask the customer if they would be willing to make a specific introduction to that contact. “So leads get served on a silver platter, for both us and the customer,” says Danielle.

The beauty of this targeted approach is that it’s much more likely to result in a useful conversion than if the customer had just picked a few names at random. “I spent two hours on just one of my connections, and got over twelve targeted accounts,” Danielle said. Once that customer had agreed to broker an intro, the outbound sales rep sent an email to the target account, cc-ing the customer—and the customer encouraged the target account to talk to the rep.

Lesson learned? Make it easy and improve your conversations with referrals by proactively asking for introductions.

2. Blackbaud: 30 For 30 Referral Campaign

In the summer of 2015, Michael set up a very risky—but unique—referral campaign. “I invited our Blackbaud Champions to try and get 30 referrals in 30 days because I was turning 30.” Michael positioned the campaign as a way for all of Blackbaud’s customers to work together towards a common goal. He set a transparent objective and made his personal motivations clear. He told them, “It would make me really happy because it’s my job.”

The result? “We ended up getting thirty referrals in six days,” says Michael. “It was one of the most successful referral campaigns that we’ve done, because it was personal. It had that human element to it, and wasn’t a robotic ask.”

But it was the relationship Michael had been building with his customers beforehand that really made the campaign successful. Six months prior to the campaign launch, Michael engaged customers by sharing useful content, helping them improve their careers and adding value through their Blackbaud Champions’ advocate marketing program. “So when I came in with this fun referral campaign, they were more than happy to help out.”

Lesson learned? Delight your customers and build a personal relationship with them before asking them for referrals.

Learn how to create an effective and engaging referral marketing program

This how-to guide has everything you need to know to about taking your referral process from desperate and awkward to downright irresistible. In this eBook, you’ll learn:

  • The real reasons your customers just aren’t that into giving you referrals
  • How to nurture your customers using advocate marketing—before you ask for a referral
  • Creative ideas for inspiring your advocates to send you new referrals 

Download now


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