Setting up a Recommendation Program (+inspirations and tools)

User recommendations can be an extremely powerful tool to increase your customer base: zero or low cost of acquisition and virality

Setting up a Recommendation Program (+inspirations and tools)
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How to do this Growth Hack and what can it do for you?

The recommendation is essential to the growth of a business. Customers trust the word of their peers who have recommended a product or service to them.

A referral program is simply the implementation of a system that encourages current or previous customers to inform others (customers or prospects) that your services are worth using. There are 2 types:

  • One-way recommendation. This technique requires existing users to recommend the product/service to friends and acquaintances in exchange for some benefit.
  • Two-way sponsorship technique. The two-way sponsorship technique offers advantages to both the referrer and the referee. This two-way recommendation technique is almost always more effective.
One study conducted by the University of California has shown that loyalty programs, when properly implemented, lead to a 178% increase in loyal customers!
Growth Hack - Programmes de fidélité

Expected results of this Growth Hack

  • Type of marketing tactic: High volume based on the number of users of your SaaS application
  • Expected results: Increase in your awareness, acquisition metrics and conversion speed through your funnel

Why use this Growth Hack?

It is simple to launch and requires little intervention on your part: once the system is in place, you receive new customers through existing customers.

When your customers are small businesses, they are more likely to participate because they are always looking to optimize their costs.

Customers referred by trusted sources have a retention rate of 37% higher to that of the average buyer. In other words, users who are recommended by loyal customers tend to to become loyal customers as well.

With referral software, your business will have an additional opportunity to reward your customers. For example, for referring 5 friends, you can offer a month of free service to customers.

Today, some of the most popular brands use referral marketing.

The main objective is to avoid unnecessary complexity and to ensure that results arrive quickly.

How do you do this Growth Hack?

  • Make it clear that your referral program is simple, that everything is honest, and that your customers have a lot to gain
  • Determine the best time, during the customer stage, to ask them to recommend you
  • Other services that offer a ready-to-use solution for your recommendation system such as ReferralCandy.
  • Send a personal thank you message to each customer to express your enthusiasm and appreciation for their recommendation
  • Optional: If you are a e-commerce business, send a message written and signed by yourself to your customers: a trick that will have a great effect and that will encourage your customers to recommend you even more.

Examples of referral programs:

1 - Canva

Programme de recommandation - Canva

Canva is a graphic design platform that makes it easy for anyone to design high-quality posters, social media graphics, presentations, and more.

Referral program: Refer a friend on Canva and receive credit to exchange for an item Canva Premium like a photo, icon, or illustration only available in paid subscriptions.

What I like:

  • Rewarding users with free Premium items boosts engagement and gives users a reason to come back to use the app again, and can encourage a user to upgrade to a paid subscription if it finds significant value in the exclusive items.
  • The widget of referral program of Canva is often displayed as soon as you have finished exporting a design to your computer, allowing you to take advantage of those moments when the customer is “happy” and where he's more likely to want to share a product with a friend.

2 - Dropbox

Programme de recommandation - Dropbox

Dropbox is a file hosting service for individuals and businesses that also offers tools for businesses to collaborate and streamline workflows.

Referral program: Refer a friend to Dropbox and both of you will gain 500MB of additional storage. Keep sponsoring to win up to 16GB of free storage.

What I like:

  • Dropbox was one of the first to reward referrals with a currency that had no direct value. Rewarding a user with additional storage space increases their commitment to the application and cIt is a benefit that cannot be transferred anywhere else.
  • It's hard to come up with a list of the best SaaS referral programs without mentioning Dropbox. This SaaS company is famous for achieving 3900% growth in 15 months thanks to its customer referral program, which demonstrates how powerful this program can be for brands with a solid product and an enthusiastic customer base.

3 - Airtable

Programme de recommandation - Airtable

Airtable is a cloud collaboration tool that combines “the power of a database with the familiarity of a spreadsheet”, allowing teams of all sizes to manage and plan projects.

Referral program: Refer Airtable to a friend and receive a $10 credit for any paid Airtable plan.

What I like:

  • Rewarding users who refer you with credit for a paid subscription (instead of just giving a free month) allows those on the free plan to upgrade to the paid version and cash out their reward. If the user sees value in the premium features, they will continue to recommend Airtable to gain more credit, or simply pay the monthly price - in any case, a profitable result for Airtable.

4 - Todoist

Programme de recommandation - Todoist

Todoist is a task management application similar to Evernote or OneNote that allows you to manage personal and professional tasks across multiple devices.

Referral program: Refer a friend to Todoist and win 2 free months of the Pro plan once they become a Pro user.

What I like:

  • Todoist takes a unique approach by only offering a reward to followers when the friend they recommended upgrades to a paid Todoist Pro plan. While this makes it harder to get rewards, it encourages existing customers to make an effort to communicate value to new users in order to convert.
  • Each time a user signs up for a paid plan, Todoist wins another customer to promote the value of the Pro package and maintain the recommendation cycle.

5 - Trello

Programme de recommandation - Trello

Trello is a Kanban-style list creation application for personal and professional productivity.

Referral program: Refer someone on Trello - either by sharing your unique link or by inviting someone to work with you on a Trello board - and win a free month of Trello Gold.

What I like:

  • As is the case with many paid subscriptions to SaaS tools, the benefits of the premium version often only come true when the user has had the opportunity to try out the features for themselves. Since a large number of people sign up for Trello for the sole purpose of using the free version, the fact ofOffering them an easy way to discover the premium experience is the best way to encourage them to convert.
  • Trello Make it rewards that are easily accessible, since all the recommended user needs to do is sign up and verify their email address to win the free month of Trello Gold, which once again increases the conversion potential of other paying users.

6 - Milanote

Programme de recommandation - Milanote

Milanote is an online tool that allows creatives to organize ideas and projects on visual boards with note cards, task lists, images, etc.

Referral program: Refer a friend to Milanote and increase your number of visual boards when they register with your link.

What I like:

  • The referral program widget is placed in the same popup when viewing the upgrade options for your Milanote plan. Not only does this add an extra incentive for users who want more boards but don't want to pay for the subscription, but it can also convince heavy Milanote users that upgrading to a paid plan will suit their needs even better.
  • Rewarding recommendations with additional tables directly increases a user's commitment to Milanote, thus reducing the likelihood that they want to go to another competitor like Miro for example.

7 - Alteryx

Programme de recommandation - Alteryx

Alteryx is a data study and analysis platform that brings simple and powerful information to everyone.

Referral program: Refer a new user and earn up to $215 in rewards - $15 when your friend downloads Alteryx, and $200 more when they buy Alteryx.

What I like:

  • Alteryx has designed a multi-step program to reward affiliates as new referred users progress through the conversion funnel. This approach keeps affiliates and referees motivated throughout the sales cycle longer than usual, especially in B2B environments.
  • Credit earned through a referral can be redeemed for a choice of rewards such as gift cards, gifts, or a charitable donation. Few customer referral programs offer a choice of rewards, but program participation and engagement are bound to increase when rewards appeal to multiple customer segments.

8 - Jobber

Programme de recommandation - Jobber

Jobber is a management platform for small home service businesses, including lawn care, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, plumbing, residential cleaning, etc. Unlike spreadsheets or paper, Jobber allows everything to be tracked in one place and daily operations to be automated.

Referral program: Refer a friend to Jobber and they'll get one free month when they sign up. The referred user is rewarded based on their use of the product: Users will receive one free month of Jobber for each successful referral, and if you are not a user, you will receive a $50 gift card for each successful referral.

What I like:

  • To add a level of personalization and engage all types of affiliates, Jobber rewards them differently depending on how they use the software, or whether they are paying users or not. This distinction can be an important factor in determining the success of a program.
  • The Jobber referral program is based on the principle of “community over competition” and is based on the following message: by recommending another small business to Jobber, you are not letting another business take over, but you are helping to strengthen the community of successful entrepreneurs.
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