Secrets to Improving Referral Marketing: Netflix

Mystery company #3 is Netflix!


Who are they?

As well as offering mail-order DVD rentals in the United States, Netflix is an online subscription service for watching movies and TV shows. Members pay a flat monthly fee to access unlimited movies and TV episodes streamed over the Internet to TVs, PCs, and more.

Why are they cool?

Netflix allows movie and TV fanatics to access content when and where they want it. It’s cheap, it’s simple, and works for everyone in the family – watch on your iPhone or iPad, your TV, use the Wii or the XBOX to deliver the programming … it’s so easy!

A look at their referral program:

The Netflix Tell a Friend program is traditional referral program with the neat additional option to share via Facebook and Twitter.

What would we change?


  • We think the referral program should be publicly viewable – as it is with GoToMeeting as noted in Monday’s blog post – currently it’s only accessible to members, which means non-customer referrals are being missed
  • For posting through Facebook, members should have the option to share info about Netflix not only via Wall Posts, but on a 1:1 basis as well. Most of us want to tell friends who really would be interested – and not spam everyone if we don’t think everyone needs to hear about it.
  • Implement an integrated referral process where referrers can connect to their email and social network accounts rather than having a traditional web form where manual entries are required. Who knows anyone’s email address anymore? If it were integrated with popular channels it would be super-easy for friends to talk to friends.
  • A pre-formatted HTML message with a preview option would be nice; as would a statement of activity so you can keep track of who you’ve referred
  • Offer a unique reward– the current offer of a 30 day free trial to the referee is available to all prospective customers who sign-up, regardless of whether they were referred by an existing member!
  • Don’t forget to thank your customer for the referral! They’ll make more of them if you do.

We think it’s pretty important that Netflix implement a social-media based recommendation program since movies are one of the most highly discussed topics among friends, family members, and contacts. Why not make it easy for me to tell everyone right when I finish watching a great movie?

It would be even cooler if users could earn badges or achievements for making recommendations. What’s better than a bit of friendly competition?

Are you familiar with the Netflix Tell a Friend program? How often do you recommend movies or television programs to your friends, family, or online networks?

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