How to Make Your App Go Viral with App Referral Program

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Referral Marketing or word of mouth marketing is 92% more effective than any other form of marketing, and when it comes to mobile apps, App Referral Program is the best marketing strategy to boost your app downloads to next level. In fact, it could be construed as a shortcut tool to built instant customer trust. Considering the most successful apps like Dropbox, Uber, Airbnb, Tez (Now Google Pay) etc, App Referral marketing or word of mouth marketing has turned out to be one of the most important pillars of their business success.

1. Establish a loyal customer base.

Do not apply this strategy as soon as the app is ready, If you want to be successful in your app referral campaign, create a loyal customer base and then target them. You don’t need to target this to your entire customers, rather target users who experienced your must-have features, or who purchased from your app earlier.  Because they are more likely to refer your product to their friends and family.

2. Offer a Win-Win Situation

You may get some referrals to your app with the help of some kind hearts. But most of the people will only interact with the referral program, if they know they are going to get something after a successful referral. Most successful app referral programs implemented double sided referral program. Ie gives offers for both referrer and new user. This strategy gives their active users all incentives to convert their friends and family to app users while giving new users a perfect introduction to the product.

Your Referral Bonus should be very valuable to your users, otherwise, your users are not going to interact with your referral program. It can be something like Discount or Free Access to one of your premium services.

With a staggering 3900% growth rate, Dropbox is surmised to be an all-time referral marketing champ. Dropbox offered both the referrer and the referred a free 500 MB space on every successful referral.

In Entri We are offering one week Free Course Validity for both referrer and the referred. It helped us to increase our customer acquisition rate by 30%.

3. Copy write that take action

Copy write that demonstrate the main benefit to the referrer, for example, use “Earn Free Courses” rather than “Invite Friends” or “Refer Friends”. We A/B tested the same in our app menu and the “Earn Free Courses”, works 21% better than “Invite Friends”.


But In Some cases, altruistic language works more. For eg: Airbnb A/B tested their promotional emails sent by them, to their potential referrers. When analyzing the results of emails sent in self Interested language v/s altruistic language, they found that altruistic emails enjoyed far more success ratio than direct promotional emails. Ie referral invites sounded as gifts rather than promotions.

When you start a new referral campaign, A/B Test different copies and figure out which type of messaging will works better for your audience and keep the best performing one.

4. Provide Better user experience

If you want to build a strong referral program for your product, you should make your referral process very simple and make it easy to discover for your users.  Here are a few things you can do to improve the user experience of your mobile referral program:

  • Make it easy to find with 2 or 3 taps on the touchscreen as possible.

For example in Tez app (Now Google Pay), you can invite friends in 2 taps

In Entri you can refer your friends in 3 taps,

  • Reduce unnecessary friction in the form of mandatory registration, typing email addresses etc.
  • Pre-populate referral messages with sample text and images, while still allowing users to customize invitations
  • Showing the full list of contacts also triggers users to share with more people as they can pick friends they initially didn’t think of.

5. Entice people to invite more

Let the referred user know when his friend joins the app or make payment. So you could send a push notification saying something along the lines of, “A one-week free course validity was just added to your account for a new referral.” These are messages that people want to receive because they’re being notified that they just got a reward. Now, this user will be enticed to keep inviting more people since they know that their referral was validated.

6. Referral Program Promotion

If you want to build a strong referral program for your business, one of the first things you need to focus on is getting in front of as many eyeballs as possible. If you want to increase the referral rate you have to create some sort of buzz around it. You should use every platform at your disposal to create that buzz. Social media posts and paid ads are helpful to promote a referral campaign with. You can also go even further by opting for guest blogs and some paid promotions with marketing companies within your niche.

Final Thoughts

Smart referral program can create the basis of a strong “viral loop” that will help you acquire more customers, keep them longer, and turn them into advocates of your brand. So don’t wait, create a loyal customer base and start a referral program, improve its performance by tracking the results deeply.

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