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Why Your Referral Programme Is Failing and How to Fix It

Why Your Referral Programme Is Failing and How to Fix It
By Niall Maher • Issue #9 • View online
Humanity must seek what is NOT simple and obvious using the simple and obvious. - Musonius Rufus

Why are referrals are so powerful?
They’re a product of human nature.
We like to talk with our friends and family; it’s literally in our DNA!
That is why I have been researching what makes people recommend products or services.
One of the most famous examples of referral marketing is Dropbox.
In just 15 months, Dropbox increased its user base by nearly 4 thousand per cent through a referral system.
They provided better features and functionality with every update while still maintaining an unbeatable price point for what you get!
In my hunt for people effectively doing referral programmes to inspire my designs at Myqu, I stumbled upon a very interesting founder named Josh Ho.
Josh runs a referral business called Referral Rock, so I reached out on Twitter to see if he could offer any advice. He poured the knowledge thick.
So why your referral programme is failing?
One of the things Josh convinced me of is delivering a referral programme that is consistent with your brand.
Most people tend to replicate what worked in the past for other businesses, but the problem is that it’s not that simple.
Referral programmes fail because they don’t align with your business.
What makes sense for your business?
PayPal is a money company, so giving money for referrals made sense.
For an eCommerce business, discounts are bread and butter, but it isn’t so straightforward for other companies (like my own).
The main thing is that it aligns with your business and adds value, not detracts.
Maybe it’s as simple as giving shoutouts to your active contributors to make them feel involved.
For example, Josh talked about his wife’s yoga studio and how she used referrals to get reviews.
Yoga, you do a lot of giving.
My wife likes giving back to the community in our local area. You want to get people to give you reviews. 
Giving them money or giving them a free class almost makes it feel dirty.
What we think is the right thing and what we ended up coming up with was she essentially made a donation on that person’s behalf.
If they give me a review, it doesn’t have to be a positive review or whatever.
She sent that out to her list and instantly it was like that alignment with yoga and fitness and giving back. We’re in a more affluent community. So giving a free class wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t going to move the needle for them, but they did feel like the donations were helping give back.
If you want to learn even more,
I have an entire Podcast episode on how he got started in his journey as a startup founder while also learning valuable lessons regarding marketing strategies for businesses like ours.
Building Referrals and SaaS products with Josh Ho - Startups with Niall Maher | Podcast on Spotify
Or you can find links to all the other players here.
Blog picks
Other news 🚨
I recently applied to the AWS Community Builders and…
Niall Maher
I just got accepted into the AWS Community Builders!

Looking forward to meeting @jasondunn and some of the other awesome people in the community.

#awscommunity https://t.co/lu0NYLy66a
I’m excited to meet some more community builders and get more AWS events with the Codú Community, especially now that I can meet people in the real world again.
That’s all for this week, stay awesome, and I’ll chat to you next week, my beautiful friends! 👋
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Niall Maher

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