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Don’t Overlook These 3 Things to Successfully Launch a Small Business Referral and Affiliate Program

By: Parker Davis


Successfully Launch Referral and Affiliate Program

If your small business is looking for ways to grow organically, starting a referral program is a great way to accelerate the momentum you already have with your best customers. It’s a win-win for you and your customers.  You get a new source of quality leads; your customers get a financial reward.

Nexa recently launched a referral and affiliate program of our own. Here are the 3 things we learned along the way.

Don’t be afraid to start small

Shopping around for a software platform gets overwhelming fast. If you’ve started that search, you’ve probably seen some of the larger platforms that offer their own established affiliate networks. You may also notice that many of the options out there are a better fit for B2C business than they are for B2B. However, most offer a free trial so you can find what is going to work best for your business.

We researched dozens of referral platforms and instead of committing to a contract, we opted for a month to month option that allowed us to keep costs low while we built up the program. We also considered manual tracking, but eventually decided we wanted to put in more work initially and have lighter day to day management.

Get sales involved early

While your marketing department should initially set up the program, your sales team needs to be involved to make sure the program runs smoothly.

We let affiliates share our info and ads directly to social media from our app and portal. We’ve learned that when they do, their contacts almost never fill out a form. Instead, they call our sales team. They want to talk to an actual person and find out about our business firsthand. The great news is that this kind of conversation gets right to the chase.

As a result, you need to make sure your sales team is ready! Include a question asking about referrals in their sales script. Once they find out who referred who, they can let you know to track and pay your program participants.

Don’t ‘set it and forget it’

Referral programs are a relatively hands-off way to get new business, but you can’t just set them up and hope for the best. Stay active! Once you get the elements of the programs in place, you need to remind customers to sign up. Our customer success team regularly sends out emails reminding customers about the program, with incentives to get clients to sign up.

We also have a note in every newsletter about the referral programs, and periodically offer sign up bonuses. We email our referral participants every month to remind them the program is active and we’re here to help them build a passive revenue stream.

Move forward with your new referral program

A referral program is a great idea for small businesses. However, you still need to put in some work to make it make sense for you. There’s a lot of advice out there that might not be applicable for you.

Remember, consumers are 4x more likely to make a purchase when they have a referral. Referrals can easily be one of your most cost-effective lead sources.

Learn from us; start small if that’s what makes the most sense, get your sales team on board, and stay active. Your customers will appreciate your effort, and you’ll get more business.

Published: December 10, 2019

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Parker Davis

Parker Davis is the CEO of Nexa, a leader in the virtual receptionist and technology enabled answering services industry. He believes that the application of data analytics, investment in technology, and fostering a positive company culture together create highly efficient and scalable growth companies. In 2016, Nexa achieved record revenues while also being awarded the Top Companies to Work For in Arizona award. Parker is also the Managing Partner of Annison Capital Partners, LLC, a private investment partnership. Follow him on Twitter @callnexa and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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