Playworks Launches a Referral Program with Amplifinity Referral Software

Amplifinity, a leader in referral program software, today announced the launch of a Playworks customer referral program.

Playworks, a widely recognized non-profit organization dedicated to bringing out the best in every kid through play, has an ambitious goal to ensure that 3.5 million students in 7,000 schools experience safe and healthy play every day by 2020. Playworks, which partners with schools to improve student outcomes at recess and throughout the school day, was looking for a dynamic new initiative to increase awareness and expand the reach of their programs to more schools.

Through the Playworks referral program, Playworks can extend their deep partnership with school customers by offering them the ability to refer from a personalized homepage, real-time referral status updates and email notification when a referral status changes. On the marketing side, Playworks can now engage customer referral partners in a more meaningful way with access to individual data, detailed analytics, and insightful reports to optimize the program.

“We’re happy that we can now offer our partners an easy way to make referrals to help create a movement of educators who start with recess to help students become more successful in the classroom and more responsible on and off the playground,” says Tonya Antonucci, CMO of Playworks. “Having the ability to offer rewards for partner advocacy of Playworks lets us communicate how much we appreciate these efforts.”

The Playworks referral program is now live and available for principal, teachers, and district partners who wish to help other children benefit from Playworks’ services and free tools. To help new schools get involved, Playworks is offering a special reward to both new partners and their advocates.

“Playworks was already experiencing the benefits of referrals from one school to another,” commented Larry Angeli, CEO of Amplifinity. “They just needed a way to increase the referrals they were already seeing and turn it into a scalable channel. That’s where Amplifinity came in.”

When Playworks started the process of deciding how to go about running a referral program they came up against challenges similar to many of Amplifinity’s business customers.

“We didn’t have the resources to build a referral program ourselves,” noted Tonya. “The ability to integrate into Salesforce was crucial to customer engagement, and we needed a referral program that was able to easily do it for us.”

Amplifinity’s partnership with Salesforce and automated referral program was able to take the burden off Playworks, which will enable them to focus on making the referral program a success.

“From Amplifinity’s deep connection to Salesforce, to easy referral tools for advocates, to the ability to customize emails that communicate our brand messaging, we were really excited about Amplifinity and felt like it was a good match, which made us say yes,” said Tonya. “Our hope is that Amplifinity’s referral program software will help build a movement so that one day, every elementary school in the country will reap the benefits of a safe and healthy recess throughout the school day, either as Playworks partners or with the free tools we provide.”

The Amplifinity, Playworks partnership is part of Amplifinity’s Pledge 1% commitment. As of now, Amplifinity has donated a referral program and $5 dollars from every demo given at a Salesforce event, totaling $4,105 to Playworks.

About Amplifinity
Amplifinity referral marketing software generates revenue growth for sales-driven companies. Amplifinity turns customer, partner and employee advocacy into high-quality leads by integrating referrals into marketing and sales processes. Enterprise companies trust Amplifinity to enable high-quality acquisition while providing an engaging experience for their advocates. http://www.amplifinity.com

About Playworks
Playworks is changing school culture by leveraging the power of safe, fun, and healthy play at school every day. Playworks provide services for elementary schools and youth-serving organizations around the country to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. Today, Playworks is the leading national nonprofit leveraging the power of play to transform children’s social and emotional health. Playworks currently serves more than 1,300 schools across the United States and reaches more than 700,000 students directly and through professional training services. http://www.playworks.org/

About Pledge 1%
Pledge 1% is an effort spearheaded by Atlassian, Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado, Rally for Impact, Salesforce.org and Tides to accelerate their shared vision of integrating philanthropy into businesses around the world. Pledge 1% encourages and challenges individuals and companies to pledge 1% of equity, product and employee time for their communities, thereby leveraging a small portion of future success to have a huge impact on tomorrow. Pledge 1% offers companies turnkey tools and best practices, making it accessible for any company to incorporate philanthropy into their business model. To learn more or to take the pledge, please visit http://www.pledge1percent.org/.

How referral program software helps Playworks increase mindshare

The playground dynamics of our childhoods have carried over into the business world. It can be a little chaotic: companies prospect to customers, create social media campaigns, and hope to get the attention of decision makers. In a lot of ways, they face the same challenges as a child trying to start a game on the playground. But in any setting, there are still only two main motivators for building interest:

  1. You’ve established a solid awareness of your offerings and benefits, causing decision makers to automatically overlook other options.
  2. You have a relationship with a decision maker or someone they trust who can spread awareness of your offerings and vouch for your ability to deliver value.

One organization that understands the challenges of the first motivator is Playworks. Playworks is a nonprofit organization that helps all kids get in the game at recess, through services that increase inclusive, fun, and active play in elementary schools in partnership with principals and teachers.

“We had difficulty getting the attention of potential partners to hear our value proposition,” says Tonya Antonucci, CMO at Playworks. “Principals are busy and don’t have the time to respond to potential partners or vendors. And teachers get so many emails a day they don’t have time to answer them all. Capturing even a small amount of their time was a challenge.”

This is a common issue for many companies that aren’t household names and that use traditional open channels, like email, where they must compete for mindshare.

And with a mission-driven nonprofit like Playworks, the stakes were higher than just growing the business. The harder it was to reach new schools and help them understand their value proposition, the more children missed out on the joy of experiencing safe and healthy play, free from bullying or exclusion.

That leaves the second motivator, a.k.a. referrals or referral program software.

Red-rover, red-rover send more customer referral partnerships over

You’ve heard the expression, seeing is believing. That phrase is at the core of the second motivator.

Tonya noted that, “Principals trust other principals. We’ve found that if school principals are referred to us by peers, they see the immense value of the program and are more than happy to share that value. When we go into the conversation through different channels, we don’t see the same amount of engagement. Principals need a trusted recommendation to see Playworks as a real solution for their schools.”

Cutting through the noise to get noticed is often the biggest challenge in creating new customer partnerships. But through a personal referral a brand gains the ability to cut out channel noise altogether. Playworks observed how referrals could harness the power of customer relationships to capture dramatically more mindshare. This inspired their decision to take referrals to the next level with referral program software.

“We know that principals respond to emails from other principals or teachers,” says Tonya. “A teacher or principal reaching out to share their story is much more meaningful. Because of this, we believe this referral program is going to be successful for us.”

Playworks’ belief in placing in the relationship at the center of their customer partnership outreach made referrals a natural extension of their current strategy. The power of referral program software is its ability to create a trusted and quality interaction from first contact and extended the lifetime value of customer partnership with the business.

“We believe that referrals are a great way for principals and teachers to become part of a movement for play and raise awareness about the difference a Playworks recess makes at their school,” stated Tonya. “With our new referral program, not only do Playworks advocates get to share the power of play with other educators, they also get to share in tangible benefits as well.”

The Playworks referral program, which launches February 23, will give teachers and principals the opportunity to help others implement safe and healthy play in schools and will thank them for their support with a discount off their next service. Furthermore, teachers and principals can help their referrals get in the game with other offers from Playworks.

This type of incentive structure not only increases interest but also shows gratitude to customer for continuing to grow the partnership. Referral program software increases customer partnership by offering added value.

“We know that some teachers or principals might start off referred to our free tools and resources,” says Tonya. “If they then need a higher level of support we will then have the opportunity to engage with them around our professional training services, namely Playworks Pro. We want to have an ongoing relationship with schools we serve. This referral program software is part of that.”

To see if you could increase your mindshare and customer acquisition like Playworks is with referral program software, try the quiz, Are referrals a fit?

Becoming an established SaaS company: The referral marketing hack

The SaaS industry has seen astronomical growth in the past few years. In fact, recent marketing forecasts from Microsoft and other research agencies have projected that the spend on SaaS offerings will continue to grow at a 19.4% compound annual growth rate, reaching $141 billion in 2019, according to a recent Forbes article. And while that’s great news, the SaaS ecosystem has become extremely crowded with little elbow room to move around or differentiate.

What does this mean? Customer acquisition has not gotten any easier for the SaaS industry even after considering the large amount of interest. And convincing your target buyers that you’re the only one who can solve their problems isn’t a workable strategy anymore. What is needed is a new and authentic customer acquisition and lead generation strategy to break away from the herd. But sometimes, the most persuasive strategies are old concepts modernized for today’s marketing challenges.

Aristotle’s Modes of Persuasion is an old and well known concept concerning the elements that are used to create a persuasive argument. These elements are Ethos (speaker’s credibility), Pathos (emotional influence) and Logos (logical reason). Now, these seem like pretty simple concepts that are commonly used in sales strategies, but it isn’t the inclusion of them that makes an argument about your brand effective, as opposed to how it’s executed. That’s where referral marketing comes.

Referral marketing is a newer concept that turns current customers, partners and employees into advocates that facilitate a warm introduction between you and people in their network who are in the market for your SaaS product. They are the key to making Aristotle’s Modes of Persuasion successful in the SaaS industry’s current state. Their unique position gives Aristotle’s Modes of Persuasion unusual marketing and selling power.

Applying Aristotle’s Modes Of Persuasion To SaaS Customer Acquisition

Ethos (Credibility)

Credibility is a very important part of selling. But credibility takes time and if you’re a startup, it’s not something that is easily obtained. According to Aristotle, there are three characteristics someone must believe you possess in order to appear credible: Good intention, competence and empathy.

But you can’t just tell your target buyers that you are credible and have them believe it. They need proof. Advocates have experienced your product and can give you the credibility you need to keep your selling persuasive by providing a detailed account of:

  • What it was like to work with you (good intention);
  • How your SaaS product works (competence); and
  • How well you empathize with them and are willing to help correct it (empathy).

Through referral marketing, customers and partners give SaaS startups the credibility they need to differentiate.

Pathos (Emotional influence)

It can be very difficult for SaaS companies to have an emotional influence on buyers, especially B2B SaaS companies. The fact is, it’s very hard to have a target buyer connect any positive emotions to a SaaS company directly. But referral marketing has another way. Your customers and partners already have an established positive emotional connection with their peers. When they refer them to you, they expand the trust and positive feelings encompassing that relationship to include you and your product.

That’s one reason why referral marketing is so powerful and can increase a buyer’s likeliness to purchase by 400% when referred by a friend, according to Nielsen.

Logos (Logic)

Logic is something that can be communicated in many forms. So how does referral marketing add anything special to logic? As Aristotle pointed, logos is not just fact, but the appearance of fact. The truth is that fact has become subjective and, therefore, highly tested by your target buyer before they even come close to accepting the so-called fact. Your target buyers know that every company says they are the best and they have logic to back it up, but that doesn’t mean that they trust that a specific SaaS brand is the best fit for them.

Referral marketing adds substance to a SaaS company’s facts and logic by having it validated by someone who has tested it. Your customers and partners have used your product and know if it stands up to what you claim. They are the best source of substantiating what you’re saying and making your target buyer comfortable enough to commit to a purchase.

Referral Marketing Software Differentiates SaaS Companies

These three different modes of persuasion are a large part of the buying process. Referral marketing software creates a direct channel to prospects that infuse these modes into SaaS businesses. That’s why referral marketing has been shown to have a 35% conversion rate from referral to purchase, according to Amplifinity.

SaaS companies are finding referral marketing to be a natural extension of the subscription service mentality by increasing customer engagement and lifetime value compared to non-referred customers by 16%, according to the Harvard Business Review. 

Decide if referral program software is the right for you. Take the quiz, Are referrals a fit?

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Originally published on Demand Gen Report