July 11, 2015

Inside Contactually's Customer Referral Program


Want to generate more business with little to no cost and without any prospecting?

If the answer is yes (which it likely will be for 99% of people reading this), you and your business could greatly benefit from a customer referral program.

Customer referrals -- sometimes also referred to as word-of-mouth marketing -- can have a major impact on your business:

    • Referrals account for 20-50% of the factors that go into the purchasing decision

    • 1 in 3 people come to a brand through a recommendation

    • Customers who were referred by loyal customers have a 37% higher retention rate

What referrals look like in the real world

Dropbox is the perennial example used when citing successful customer referral programs. Part of Dropbox's success is owed in large part to creating a dual-sided incentive that makes their product much more "sticky."

Back in 2010, Dropbox decided to implement a two-sided referral program -- meaning that both the inviter and invitee receive an incentive. In this case, for every person you referred to Dropbox that signed up, you received extra storage space.

Pretty simple, right? Well, Dropbox's simple solution took them from 100,000 users to over 4 million users in 15 short months. You can learn more about Dropbox's referral program here.

In a more interpersonal example, my colleague, Elizabeth Moore, recently wrote a great post about why referrals are so important, especially in real estate.

The big takeaway, in Elizabeth's words? "In a world where we're constantly being bombarded with ads, marketing emails, and mass social media updates, a genuine 1:1 relationship is the exception."

The important thing about customer referrals is that they are a process, not a task. It takes time and lots of thoughtful preparation to build relationships that lead to referrals.

What do referrals look like at Contactually?

We believe that referrals are not only a great source of growth, but a fantastic way to reward your advocates and solidify your brand. Over the years, we've had a few iterations on our referral program, tweaking it each time to better serve our users.

Two of our most recent updates include a dual-sided incentive and a sleeker Share Page interface. We made these changes to underscore the importance of relationships, to make sharing Contactually mutually beneficial, and to make the introduction more personal.


Currently, we offer a "give $10, get $10" incentive that makes it easier for Contactually users to earn rewards. As a Contactually user, when you refer a friend or colleague to Contactually you give them a free trial plus $10 off their first month when they become a customer. When your invitee claims their free trial, you get $10 off of your next Contactually bill.

With the Share Page redesign, you no longer have to scroll through your entire contact list to send a Contactually referral. Just type in a contact's name or email address and voila! Plus, we've updated the email template with new language that you can easily edit if you want to make your message more personal.

What do you need to start your own referral program?

The most basic thing you need is a simple structure so you know who to ask for referrals and keep track of your outreach.

If you are a Contactually user, you can easily create buckets, templates, and programs to help make getting more referrals an easy part of your daily routine. To learn more, click here.

You can also check out our webinars devoted to growing your referral business here.


    • Customer referral are a very low-cost way to drive growth.

Take the Dropbox example, it cost them nothing to give away more free space and only further invested their current users in their product. Simple tactics like a $5 gift card for every successful referral can work as well.

    • Referrals have a much higher conversion and retention rate since they came from a trusted source.

Think about it. How often does a friend recommend something and you decide to try it out? You'd trust their opinion over a sales rep's any day. When you prompt your customers to recommend your product they are sending a highly qualified introduction for you that is much more likely to convert and you are much more likely to retain down the road.

Want $10 off your next Contactually bill? Share Contactually with your network and receive $10 for every contact that signs up for a free trial.