5 Apps That Will Boost Customer Referrals

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It’s the customers who sing your praises and tell their friends about you who can also be your best marketers. Customer referrals are gold to people trying to grow their companies.

In a 2016 Harris Poll survey, over 80 percent of respondents said they seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase. But how do you manage these referrals coming your way — both to turn these referrals into actual sales and to reward your loyal customers for bringing business your way? Savvy business owners turn to referral management software to handle both these concerns.

Referral management software enables you to offer incentives to prospective customers, encouraging them to give your business a try. For current customers, you can offer incentives such as discounts and freebies for providing referrals. Referral management software automates the entire process, leaving you free to focus on other tasks.

If you’re looking for ways to boost customer referrals for your business, here are five apps to consider:

1. Ambassador

One of the leaders in the market, Ambassador (@Ambassador) is used by businesses such as HP, Hulu and LogiTech. It's considered an industry leader for consumer brands and B2B companies worldwide. Ambassador is an all-in-one platform that simplifies the process of enrolling, tracking, rewarding and managing the referral process for customers, affiliates, brand ambassadors, influencers and partners. It is best for mature mid-market companies with a large, established customer base to draw upon. Find out more information about Ambassador Referral Software at getambassador.com.

2. Contactually

This CRM platform targets small businesses, realtors, financial advisors and team managers who want to better manage their contacts and strengthen their professional relationships. Contactually (@Contactually) users see an average 42 percent increase in their business using the platform to stay in personal contact with their networks, asking for LinkedIn connections or client referrals. The company counts clients from Google, Netflix and RE/MAX. See contactually.com for more information.

3. Mention Me

This British company specializes in providing clients refer-a-friend programs that supercharge word of mouth for fast and effective referrals for most online businesses. The company has been in business for nearly five years and partners with companies such as Benefit Cosmetics, Cath Kidston and eHarmony. The Mention Me (@mentionmeshare) platform has a unique "name sharing" feature to capture real world conversations that, combined with other social media sharing options, can drive up to 30 percent more referrals. Learn more at mention-me.com.

4. Omnistar Affiliate Software

For businesses looking to create and manage an in-house affiliate program, OSI Affiliate Software (@osiaffiliate) could be right for you. The company has nearly 20 years of experience helping businesses such as Cisco and Ninja Outreach create affiliate programs that expand marketing channels by recruiting other online marketers who access the same target audience. The program also helps SEO ranking because of all the links pointed in your direction. Find out more at omnistaretools.com.

5. Referral Candy

This CRM application works best for e-commerce small businesses that average at least 200 transactions a month. Over 3,000 online stores, including Bluesmart, Reebok and Uniqlo, rely on this e-commerce store plugin to get more word-of-mouth traffic to their sites. Referral Candy’s (@ReferralCandy) app integrates with Amazon Webstore, BigCommerce, Etsy, Shopify and other e-commerce store templates, allowing you to customize rewards and change the look of the widget without the need for developers. Check out referralcandy.com for more information.

No matter which referral management software you choose, for your program to succeed, keep three things in mind:

Location: Make the referral program widget or app easy to find on your website.

Accessibility: Make it easy for anyone to offer a referral, not just logged-in customers.

Promotion: Allow referrals wherever your company's reach extends, including social media, email and mobile apps.

If you pick the right referral management software and keep these helpful tips in mind, you should see a marked increase in customer referrals — resulting in increased revenue for your e-commerce business.

About the Author

Rene Ferran has spent more than 25 years providing quality content to a variety of online and print publications. He spent 15 years as the lead high school sportswriter for the Tri-City Herald, where he honed his deadline writing skills and ability to quickly assess situations to produce clear, concise and compelling copy.

When he's not slumped over a keyboard, you can probably find him officiating a youth sports event or spending time with his wife and two teenage children.