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Build Leads and Conversions with a Referral Programme for your Marketing Agency

By Victoria Lee
November 30, 2021

Do you have a referral programme for your marketing agency? 

Even though marketing or social media agencies are considered social media experts, there are still times when it’s a challenge to find new clients and leads.

Have you considered a referral programme for your marketing agency?

83% of people say they trust the recommendations of friends and family above other sources. In addition, 78% of marketers say they rate referrals as a top source of quality leads.

It’s easy to see how your marketing agency has the opportunity to build leads and conversions with a referral programme for your clients. 

Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Your social media marketing agency is first a B2B business, then a marketing agency. For this, you need the right B2B digital marketing strategy. Your digital marketing strategy will define your digital presence. 

As a business, an agency’s B2B digital marketing strategy can include:

  • A website
  • Email Marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing 
  • Paid ads
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • A referral or affiliate program 

While B2B marketers can use all of these strategies for their success in marketing, two stand out as requiring low effort, having a high ROI, and working well together for agencies:

  1.  B2B social media marketing
  2. Agency referral programmes (also known as agency affiliate programmes)
Free Social Media Plan

B2B Social Media Strategy 

Having the right B2B social media strategy goes beyond keeping up with your competition. It also helps increase sales, brand awareness, audience engagement and with boosting your overall online presence.

In addition:

To reach their clients, social media agencies need a robust B2B social media strategy that targets key social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Four important B2B social media marketing strategy goals are:

  1. Lead generation 
  2. Brand awareness
  3. Conversions (with both new and existing customers)
  4. Building brand trust and credibility through customer reviews and referrals

Build a Social Media Marketing Agency Referral Programme

Referral Programme for your Marketing Agency - Image 1

When a potential client wants a service, where do they turn to?

9 out of 10 clients will most likely ask a friend, family, or peers for a recommendation. Many people (especially millennials) won’t try a product without the approval of their family or friends, or before checking online customer reviews.

Referral happens when a person recommends a provider or business to another person. It can occur through word of mouth, through an online recommendation, or via a product or service review. 

What is a Referral Programme?

A referral program brings your business or agency brand new leads and clients through personal recommendations from your existing customers.

In exchange for your clients’ efforts, your referral programme will offer them a reward, such as credit, cashback, discounts, etc.

Benefits of a Referral Programme for your Marketing Agency

As we’ve discussed, referrals are a high ROI, low-effort, high-value marketing tactic to acquire new clients because they require almost no financial investment, but generate valuable, warm leads.  

Here are the main benefits of having a referral programme: 

Word of mouth is a great way to get customers

Referrals can bring clients from contacts in the same field who are highly qualified leads. Word of mouth referral reflects a high degree of trust, which improves the quality of leads. 

Referrals naturally promote your business

Referrals encourage clients to share your business organically.

About 83% of clients are willing to refer a friend, family, or colleague after a positive experience, but only 29% do. With attractive rewards, a good referral program can motivate your clients to action.

Build brand trust with a referral programme

Referrals build trust in your services. People trust the opinions and recommendations of those they respect, such as colleagues, friends, and family.

When a customer refers your business to friends, the referred lead will tend to trust you more than if they’d found your service on their own. 

Referral programmes invite your clients to feel more involved in your business

If you want your clients to have a deeper connection with your brand, inviting them to join your agency’s referral program is a great place to start.

Clients are always happy to share a great service with others. Referrals with rewards give clients an added bonus and incentive, on top of the feel-good factor of suggesting a problem-solving business solution to a friend or connection.

Referrals have a high Return on Investment (ROI)

Referred leads generate 25% higher profit margins than leads acquired by other channels. So, offering incentives link cashback, store credit, points, free items, and other rewards is a small price to pay for the leads, sales, profits, and trust you generate from client referrals.

Referrals can earn you passive income 

You can earn an extra revenue stream for your business by joining other referral and affiliate programs. You can do this by referring certain tools, services, or products to your clients to use in their day-to-day activities.

Tips for Creating a Referral Programme for Your Agency

It’s important to design a referral program that converts.  A good referral programme should have the following elements: 

A Catchy Headline

Use a catchy referral headline to get clients’ attention. The headline introduces your business, offer, and why the client should refer your business.

A good referral message

This is the text your client will send out to their friend or family. Explain the benefits of the referral and how the client can share it. Design a good message and template it ready to send. This makes taking action quick and easy for the client.

An easy way to share

Make it simple and easy for clients to refer your business through a referral link to share via email, social media, text message, and so on. A one-click referral link, means they can copy, paste and share with ease.

Rewards for referrals

You need to choose the right rewards, ones that are suitable for your clients. Other than your great service, the reward might be the reason that’ll push your client to send other people your way.

Define what the reward will be, who will receive it, and how they will get it. For example, will both the existing customer and the new customer benefit? Rewards could include discounts, free products, store credit or points, donations to charity, and more.

Ask for referrals the right way

This means using the right referral messaging at the right time and with an attractive reward. If the client doesn’t respond after the first request, don’t be scared to ask again!

Use a good referral program software/system

To see your referral programme’s success, you should implement an analytics and tracking system. This might require you to have some kind of referral program software.

With tools like Talon.One or Mention Me, you can get access to features like referral link distribution, built-in analytics, A/B testing, referral tracking, and more. It will also enable you to monitor when a client refers others and whether the referral results in a sale.

Optimise your social media presence

Remember: social media platforms are all about connections and engagements. Using your social media will help you put your clients at the centre of your referral campaign.

It will also encourage interaction and engagement with said clients to build social proof around your service. That’s why it’s critical to optimise your social media presence

Ask for reviews

A referral doesn’t end when the new client makes a purchase or refers another client. You also need to make full use of reviews and testimonials to boost your referral programme. Reviews are key components of the referral program as a whole.

Referral Programme for your Marketing Agency - Image 2

Examples of Some Referral Programs to Inspire You

If you’re starting your referral program, seeing some examples and success stories can inspire you. 

You can also check out our own Referral Programme – refer your friends and colleagues to 100 Pound Social and receive 10% of each payment they make to us over their first 6 months! 

Here are a few of our favourite referral programmes and referral tools to inspire you:

  • SPP offers a built-in affiliate platform as part of their scalable Client Portal Software for agencies. It’s low-hassle for your referring clients, giving them instant access to their referral link without the need to register on a third-party platform.
  • ClickUp offers a commission for every conversion made through your agency’s referral link, and also lets you offer a discount to your community for using project management software, with codes for 30% off the ClickUp Unlimited Plan and 15% off the Business Plan.
  • Google Workspace rewards you for recommending Google Workspace, and services like Gmail, Google Meet, and so on. You can refer up to 200 new users per year, and receive a cash reward.
  • GetResponse offer a 33% commission to agencies for every referral to their versatile marketing platform, which includes marketing automation services and website building.
  • HeyOrca isn’t just a great scheduling software for agencies to use to run client accounts, they have a great referral programme too. You can earn $150 for every new customer you refer.

Tips for a Converting Referral Programme

Referral programs and social media are a perfect match.

Your referral marketing programme encourages happy clients to share their experiences, and social media is where your clients are already sharing everything they love. This is why it’s important to include promotion of your referral programme in your social media strategy.

  • Enable and encourage sharing on the platforms your clients frequent most. For example, as a B2B service-oriented business, focus on LinkedIn, where most B2B clients ‘hang out’ online.
  • Promote your referral programme regularly on social media. Your followers might not be your clients, but they are potential referral agents. A constant presence on social media keeps you in their minds.
  • Optimise your social media profile and promote your referral programme on your bio. Many clients check social media first before proceeding to your website.
  • Offer double-sided rewards for your referral. Let both your client and the referred prospective client gain a reward when they share, or sign up for, your referral programme.
  • Enabled personalised referral messages with the client’s name, display picture, message, or profile photo.
  • Tailor each referral message to fit each platform. The message you post on LinkedIn should not be the same as your post on Facebook or Twitter. Each platform has its own best practices.
  • Optimise your referral programme for mobile. People use mobile phones for almost everything. Your programme should be mobile-friendly for a better user experience. 

Some of the metrics you can track for a niche social media marketing strategy are:

Metric Purpose Indicators 
Engagement rateHow your audience interacts with your campaign and brand.Clicks, likes, shares/retweets, comments
AwarenessHow your audience perceives your brand or campaign and brand.Reach and Impressions
ROIHow much money your campaign, service and brand makes vis-a-vee the money used.Referrals and conversions

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