Why your referral marketing recipe needs to include CAN SPAM

How well does your referral program walk the CAN SPAM line?

Let’s be honest, most people detest spam in both the digital and the supposedly food based form. That’s why it was inevitable that the Federal Trade Commission passed the CAN SPAM Act in 2003. And while the allegedly edible spam might be scary, the CAN SPAM Act is not something that you should shrink from. In fact, knowing the ins and outs of the CAN SPAM Act is an essential part of creating a successful referral program.

After all, consumers get assaulted by an only growing number of unsolicited emails daily. But do you know how to differentiate your referral program recruitment emails from spam?

By keeping your emails compliant with the CAN SPAM Act you can easily differentiate your referral program emails from spam. Here are six basic guidelines created by the CAN SPAM Act to stick by.

  1. Don’t use untrue or misleading subject lines and headers.
  2. Identify the message as an ad.
  3. Tell the receiver where you’re located.
  4. Offer an opt out link in a visible format for future emails.
  5. Promptly respect opt out requests and complete them within 10 business days.
  6. Watch carefully what 3rd parties are doing on your behalf because you are liable.

But to create a successful referral program you need to go beyond the basics. Remember, if you comply too much with the CAN SPAM Act you will end up limiting your referral marketing program’s success, but if you don’t comply enough, spam will end up becoming your referral email’s future.

Discover how to walk the CAN SPAM line and ensure your referral programs success with the infographic Why CAN SPAM is key to for referral marketing:

Can_Spam_Infographic (1)




Become disruptively SaaS-y by developing customer referral programs

Challenges that face SaaS companies

By golly, you’ve got it! You’ve created a great SaaS product. But does that mean you’re set up to be disruptively SaaS-y? Not by a long shot.

Software as a Service (SaaS) has caused a great deal of hullabaloo in the past years which has led to some innovative businesses, but also some stiff competition with the marketing technology landscape pointing  to around 2,000 SaaS vendors to compete with and distinguish yourself from. This is double the number of vendors in 2014 and is only projected to continue to rise.

Besides SaaS having reduced onboarding time, low entry costs, and the ability to integrate and scale the technology, the motivation behind the rush toward SaaS are the inspirational success stories of businesses like Uber and Dropbox.

The success of these two SaaS business were based off their ability to bypass the three main challenges SaaS businesses face after launch:

  • Customer Acquisition
  • High Churn Rates
  • Continued Customer Growth

But how were they able to do this you ask? By capitalizing on their customer’s experience, or in other words, by using the power of customer referrals.

Uber’s referral program

To begin with, Uber has a great service that at the time of its launch only had the potential to be a disruptive force. But consumers and businesses alike can be wary of new products. This is why Uber acquired their first customers through sponsorship of events by providing free rides to attendees with the intention of capitalizing on the happy customer’s experience.

After that, a great deal of Uber’s success came by word of mouth from satisfied customers.  With this as the driving force of Uber, they were able to:

  • Obtain high customer acquisitions by capitalizing on the trust of already formed relationships
  • Avoid high churn rates by obtaining quality customers from referrals
  • Spread the word and grow their business quickly and inexpensively

Uber understood that the success of a service or product to not primarily dependent on its superiority, but the amount of market shares you can amass the fastest. Word of mouth referrals allowed Uber to win the race against other SaaS vendors and put their competition in a difficult position to succeed.

Of course, this was even before SaaS companies had the option of developing customer referral programs like Amplifinity.

Now imagine if Uber had referral marketing automation software that allowed them to have optimized their referral process when starting out. With studies now showing that:

  • 83% of happy customers are ready to refer but only 29% actually do

Uber would have had even greater startup results than only using word of mouth. Currently, they have developed their own in-house referral program.

5 referral marketing automation features that will improve on Uber’s Results

Uber is an amazing success story. But word of mouth referrals has its pros and cons.


  • Low cost
  • Increase credibility


  • Lack of control
  • Extremely difficult to evaluate results

However, Gartner points out that developing customer referral programs that are automated still grants you decreased lead cost but with a, “High volume of excellent low cost leads.” In fact, Amplifinity’s SaaS customers have seen an average conversion of referrals leads to purchase of 37%.

Below are 5 exciting features that highlight the benefits of developing SaaS customer referral programs with automation compared to word of mouth marketing.

  • Automated rewards – Automated reward fulfillment combined with the options of reward choice, and tiered and multi-stage automated reward distribution, allows for easy reward obtainment and seamless advocate nurturing. This increases engagement during a long sales process.
  • Full program transparency – Provide your advocates with their own account that tracks a referral’s progress to completion and allows advocates to have full transparency to keep them up to date and engaged in the process.
  • Attribution If you can’t attribute every referral to an advocate you’ll have leaks in your sales pipeline and unhappy customers. Attribution software allows every referral to be attributed to an advocate to incentivize the advocate and continue to engage them in the referral process for a greater customer lifetime value.
  • Empowerment tools – By offering advocates the opportunity to share referrals with their contacts through engagement options such as, personal URLs, social media, email, and offline you can allow customers to easily advocate for your business in a way that works for them.
  • Sales enablement Sales enablement tools ensure that your sales team is highly productive and successful by allowing them to quickly qualify a lead, engage advocates, track an advocate’s progress, and recruit advocates.

Learn more about how developing customer referral programs can help you become disruptively SaaS-y, and before you know it you’ll be looking at your referral automation program’s ROI and hear yourself saying, “Oh no it didn’t.”

SaaS referral automation


Questions? Email me at JEdmondson@amplifinity.com

Why developing a referral program captures the highest quality leads (and dates)

Aren’t you tired of lead “relationships” that go nowhere? Try developing a referral program

How well do your friends and family know you? If I had to wager on it I’d say pretty well. They likely even have a direct line into what products, services (or even dates) might be good for you. But instead of tapping into the power of already established relationships by developing a referral program you only use technology like marketing automation (or dating sites) to track down a lead (match) who might be looking for what you have to offer.

Don’t get me wrong, technology is an amazing asset, but you have to be critical of the data it’s using to provide you with those leads. While you may capture a large quantity of leads, only part of the time do they end up resulting in highest quality leads.

Research shows that leads generated from referrals convert 4x better than leads coming from other sources.  When considering whether or not developing a referral program is right for your business think about the juxtaposition of a friend suggesting someone to date compared to a dating website matching you up. I know from experience, one works better than the other.


The referred date versus the non-referred date

Fall 2012, I was dating a perfectly nice guy I’d met on a dating site, let’s call him Stan. Like many leads you acquire, he looked wonderful on paper. However, I had no feelings for him. The reality of the situation was, I was looking for a dating demographic that didn’t equal what I wanted to get out of the relationship. After a few weeks of meeting and communicating here and there the relationship fizzled out.

Now during that same period of time one of my dear friends, let’s call her Rose, had started a relationship with someone new and insisted that I should let her set me up with his roommate. Unfortunately, I’m chronically stubborn and refused at first because I didn’t think I needed to be set up. Like many businesses I didn’t understand the value of a referral or developing a referral program.

A week or so passes and I’m on my university campus, sitting under a tree and playing with leaves when a man walks up to me, let’s call him Eric, and asks me, “How can you be so happy just playing with leaves?”

Honestly, I don’t remember how I answered but he ended up sitting down with me and talking. Before he walked away he gave me his number and I gave him mine.

Weeks pass and nothing happens. Stan and I stop seeing each other. Then, sometime in October I get a Facebook friend request from Eric. I accept and he immediately messages me.

“Did you know Rose tried to set us up?”

He was the same guy that I had refused to go out with. Now you should know I’m a very cautious dater. I won’t go out with anyone to a club, let them drive me, or tell them where I live until we’ve been dating a period of time. But when he asked me out for a date I ended up breaking every rule. While this guy seemed nice, it was the fact that my friend told me how good a guy he was which made me trust him. I trusted her so therefore I trusted him. On that first date he came to my house, picked me up, and took me to a club.

We’ve been in a wonderful relationship for almost three years now. I guess you could say he was a quality lead.

The benefits of a new referral program and an old fashion matchmaker

Imagine, what if you could automate that same referral process to get a high number of potential customer to bypass their usual buying habits based off the trust of an already established relationship? By developing a referral program you can.

But it’s not only my experience that supports the value of developing a referral program. Research shows that:

  • Customers are 400% more likely to buy a product when it’s referred by someone they know.
  • 83% of customers are happy to refer a business after a positive experience if asked but . . . only 29% do refer
  • Customers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other type of advertising
  • Referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value

Through developing a referral program your business will build a network of advocates that will optimize the referral process to drastically increase your quality leads with a lower cost per lead than other marketing tactics. Take a quick and easy referral quiz to see if developing a referral program is the right move to get you the high quality leads (or dates) you’ve been searching for.


Questions? Email me at Jedmondson@amplifinity.com

What is brand advocacy?