Seven Reasons Why You Should Outsource Your Refer-a-Friend Scheme

 

WHY YOU SHOULD OUTSOURCE YOUR REFER-A-FRIEND SCHEME

When looking at Refer-a-Friend or ‘RAF’ schemes, potential clients often ask us: ‘Why should we not just build this ourselves?’

Or, where a brand or retailer has already built a simple invite-a-friend scheme in-house, the question is often: ‘Why should we not just add these features to our existing RAF scheme?’

Well, when a truly great and sophisticated online business like Ocado takes the decision to outsource its referral marketing to Buyapowa, maybe that fact should be enough to answer these questions.

Here is what Thomas Thomaidis, Head of Marketing and Insight for Grocery at Ocado had to say:

"At Ocado we are delighted when our satisfied customers help spread the word about our service. Having run invite-a-friend schemes in the past, we're are excited to test the potential of the Buyapowa platform to generate large scale referrals."

But in case you need more convincing, here are seven reasons why you should outsource your referral marketing software to a 'best-in-class' provider like Buyapowa instead of trying to do it all yourself:

(1) IT'S SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST ASKING CUSTOMERS TO REFER FRIENDS

A successful Refer-a-Friend scheme is a lot more than just asking your customers to refer friends or offering simple ‘voucher for you, voucher for me’ rewards.

After having successfully implemented ‘Customer-get-Customer’, ‘Member-get-Member’ and ‘Subscriber-get-Subscriber’ schemes for over 100 leading brands and retailers, we have learned that to create a high-volume and sustainable customer acquisition channel you need to combine these three key concepts:

  • Personal rewards: to drive referrals by personally rewarding customers for each friend they successfully refer. The more referrals the better the rewards;
  • Gamification: to encourage competition between super referrers using leaderboards and special prizes for those who bring in the most new customers;
  • Communal targets: which benefit the whole group by rewarding everyone equally if a shared referral target is met.

This unique combination of incentives offers something for each type of customer, according to the number of referrals they are willing or able to drive. As an example, by combing these three elements we were able to drive over 70K new customers for a large telecoms brand in less than one month.

(2) ADVANCED FEATURES COST A LOT OF MONEY TO BUILD

To get real value from your Invite-a-Friend scheme you need advanced reporting and analytics to learn what works best for your business, identify your ‘key referrers’ and develop insights that can help across your whole business. Depending on your business needs, you may also need to incorporate a series of advanced features such as:

  • Multiple triggers: to push sales, product samples, app downloads, subscriptions or registrations;
  • Flexible reward delivery: via unique URL, voucher codes, QR codes, loyalty points or physical vouchers; and
  • Multi-channel incentives: allowing the recognition and rewarding of offline as well as online activities if you want to drive traffic in-store.

Very few in-house or simple off-the-shelf solutions offer these features or, to the extent that they do, it is nothing like as sophisticated as Buyapowa’s solution. Having built and incrementally improved a platform that includes all of these elements over the past 4 years, we can tell you that it takes a lot of money and time to create a world-class refer-a-friend platform. So why not just buy the ‘best in class’ ready made solution.

(3) USE YOUR TIME AND MONEY TO DO WHAT YOU DO BEST

There is a good reason so many World Class businesses like Salesforce (CRM), Bazaarvoice (customer reviews), Liveperson (chat), and Responsys (email) exist, even though, given enough time and money, you could probably build a similar service in-house.

Quite simply no business can do everything. Unless you have infinite development resources you probably already have a pretty full product pipeline, so these services allows you to focus your scarce resources on doing what you do best: developing your Unique Selling Proposition and earning money.

The ‘opportunity cost’ principle means that if you do one more thing then something else gets delayed or simply just never gets done. Whereas partnering with Buyapowa allows you supercharge your referral marketing immediately with little or no development work rather than wait for your internal product team to scope, prioritise, build and test your own solution.

And don’t forget the ongoing need to update, debug and modernise your software, for example, each time Facebook or Twitter change their APIs or when a new social network arrives on the scene. Of course, we are constantly looking to improve our platform and keep it up-to-date for all our clients so you automatically benefit from all the improvements we make as long as you have a current licence.

The point is simple: focus your resources on doing what you do best and outsource the rest to the best in class providers like Buyapowa.

(4) YOU SHOULD PARTNER WITH REFER-A-FRIEND EXPERTS

Our platform and best practice advice benefits from our cumulative experience of having run refer-a-friend schemes for over 100 leading businesses across a host of verticals including fashion, cosmetics, groceries, alcoholic beverages, multimedia, telecoms, magazine and press subscriptions, gaming, homewares, books etc. And we are still learning!

So by partnering with us you benefit from all of our experience today rather than trying to work it all out yourself.

(5) IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO JUST GET RAF SCHEMES: PARTNER WITH SOMEONE WHO GETS YOUR BUSINESS!

It’s not enough just have some smart kids build you some nice software. Unless your Refer-a-Friend partner really understands your business, you will be unlikely to reach the full potential of customer referrals. This is one of the reasons that many commercial RAF schemes are limited to ‘one-to-one’ referrals that engage relatively few of your customers.

Whereas at Buyapowa, our team boasts over fifty combined years of experience in senior decision making roles across sectors as diverse as telcos, travel, music, entertainment, retail, fashion, FMCG, publishing and FS, as well as at leading lead generation, price comparison and affiliate businesses. So we think we understand customer acquisition better than most and believe that this experience helps us understand your business better and provide you better insights and suggestions.

(6) TEST AND LEARN

Every company is unique.This means that while the benefit of our accumulated experience is valuable, you also need advanced analytics and testing built in to your Refer-a-Friend scheme to learn what works best for your business. However, very few in-house solutions offer much in the way of testing options. This means that there is typically little or no scope for the marketing team to test or improve your refer-a-friend scheme and decisions are made on hunches. Buyapowa, on the other hand, has a full A/B testing platform so that your team can make any changes they want without any development involvement and base decisions on observed facts.

(7) YOU ARE NOT LOCKED-IN

Deciding to partner with a best in class Refer-a-Friend solution provider is not a one-way street.

Buyapowa provides access to its software in return for an annual software licence. So you are not locked into our solution beyond the current licence period and at any point in the future, should you wish to develop your own solution, you are free to take all that you have learned from working with Buyapowa and build your own.

Of course, once you have worked with us, we hope that you will be convinced by the ongoing value that we provide to happily renew.

IF YOU STILL HAVE DOUBTS?

We understand that you may be reluctant to give up on an existing solution where you have already invested a lot of time and money building and implementing it, particularly if it is working reasonably well.  In these situations, we would welcome running a ‘head to head’ test of Buyapowa and your existing refer-a-friend solution as a proof-or-concept to show you what you are missing by sticking with the status quo. Just ask us and we can arrange something.

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