This FriendBuy review is meant to help you choose the right automated referral program software for your business. We have no affiliation with FriendBuy.
We recently implemented FriendBuy into a client’s marketing workflow to create a new referral sales channel for them. FriendBuy is a third-party referral platform that’s used by prominent online businesses such as Dollar Shave Club and BirchBox.
FriendBuy Stripe Integration
One of the things we love about FriendBuy’s Stripe integration is the ability to discount a product or service price for a referral partner who is also a customer, based on the quantity of referrals the partner sends.
When you attract referral partners to your program, most of them will come from your pool of current customers. One of the rules of successful viral marketing is to “give them more of what you offer” in exchange for referrals.
In the case of a subscription, however, this often isn’t possible — a single user of your video course series, for example, doesn’t have a need for a second free login to that course. So you’re left with offering them money or some other benefit as a referral incentive.
FriendBuy allows you to discount the Stripe charge on your customer’s subscription each time they give you a referral. This provides a financial discount on the referrer’s current subscription payments. FriendBuy will tally up the referrals you get from a customer, then credit their virtual account and tell Stripe to temporarily hold off billing them the full amount for another month. Pretty slick.
FriendBuy Referral Rewards
One of the biggest challenges with referral programs is determining which referral rewards work best for your customers.
The reason somebody makes a referral is often more personal than financial. When you offer current customers money in exchange for a referral, a certain percentage of them will find it distasteful. If you offer only financial rewards when that’s not what drives a referral, then your referral program is unlikely to gather steam.
It may also be difficult to offer referral fees significant enough to be meaningful. If you offer a one-time $19 referral fee (100% of a monthly $19 subscription) that’s less meaningful than the personal value of introducing a friend to a product or service you like. If you offered a 3 month free subscription for 3 referrals, or a free concert ticket to see my favorite artist, these rewards could be meaningful. But you need a system that can offer these type of rewards seamlessly.
FriendBuy is super flexible with different reward types. You can offer referral dollars (commissions), points, gift cards, coupons, Amazon rewards and mix & match packages. You create referral programs and track points when the person referred takes a required action like buying or signing up.
Automatically Allocating FriendBuy Referral Points
Once somebody earns referral points, Friendbuy can then automate how to allocate the points. For example:
- Take a discount off a recurring subscription (with Stripe integration)
- Give a gift card
- Send a coupon code
- Give access to an online course
- Give Amazon rewards
- Integrate to other reward platforms (hotel, golf, health rewards…)
- Whatever else you can dream up…
FriendBuy lets you change the reward variables in really cool ways, too. Let’s say you want to give a 50% subscription credit for 3 months. Or you want to give 1 referral credit at increments of 3 referrals. You can reduce the price of an existing subscription temporarily when a referral reward threshold is reached. You can also tell Stripe to take off a set amount ($5 or $150 or whatever) for a set time period.
Using these approaches allows you to build a group of referral partners who are incentivized with a socially acceptable referral program that is adjustable and reflects your unique business and customer needs (i.e. fits your brand).
All referral rewards are based on “closed deals” like signing up to see a video, making an appointment, buying a product through the shopping cart, etc.
No-Account Referrals: Referral Partners Don’t Have to Create an Account Before Sending Referrals
One of the major complaints we hear from clients that want to implement referral programs is the referral partner must first set up an account before getting rewarded for making referrals. This two-step process creates a major barrier to on-boarding referral partners.
With FriendBuy referral partners don’t have to create an account before sharing your offer, and they can still get credit based only on their email. This means the referrer does not have to set up an account first, then refer, then get credit. They just enter their email and the referral’s info into the FriendBuy widget and they get credit (assuming the referral buys or signs up).
This is 100% better than an old-school affiliate program, because you can insert a “share with a friend” step right in the middle of the buying process before or after payment.
We estimate this no-account referral feature increases the number of referral partners by 5-10X!
You still need to match the referrer’s email with a customer, but that happens in the back end. This is called “open access sharing” and it uses a smart pixel + widget + conversion tracker.
Reward Actions at Different Steps in the Sales Process
Let’s say you have a sales process that requires some engagement and indoctrination before most buyers are willing to take the jump. This is common with expensive online professional education programs, for example.
With FriendBuy, you can reward the referral partner whenever somebody they referred signs up to see an introductory video or webinar.
You can then reward the partner again if the prospect buys the product or service.
This two-tier reward program encourages referral partners to send more traffic, because they get rewarded on the first opt-in. If the person they referred buys, it’s a bonus.
Or you can award your referral partners with an uber-VIP flight to the Bahamas if they attract 10 new customers that subsequently become new referral partners.
Implementing these things gets pretty techie fast, but for the right marketing automation team with the right skills, FriendBuy is an extremely powerful toolkit that can transform your businesses success.
FriendBuy Installs Directly on Your Website
FriendBuy installs natively on your own website. There are no “landing pages” for FriendBuy — it’s just a widget on your site.
Your URL is therefore www.mysite.com NOT mysite.friendbuy.com. Google loves this so your SEO doesn’t get crushed by having links to a third-party affiliate management system.
FriendBuy Reports, API, Installation, Account Management, etc.
You can setup a password-protected My Account area with referral reports for your different referral partners. This is a widget you plug into a password-protected area you create on your site for your referral partners (you can do this on a WordPress site with WPMember, WishList Member, etc.)
FriendBuy has an open API so it can be connected to different systems. We’ve set it up with Infusionsoft, Stripe and Zapier. MailChimp, Salesforce, Gravity Forms and other marketing tools are no problem to integrate.
Enterprise clients with >$50k per month in revenue get a dedicated account manager, installation and A/B testing.
Installation can take 5-10 days for larger enterprise clients. Shorter for DIY packages.
Our FriendBuy Review in a Nutshell
As far as referral reward platforms go, FriendBuy is significantly better than most. It blows traditional affiliate platforms out of the water and gives your business awesome new brand-congruent referral program capabilities. The platform requires technical API skills to set up properly.
We hope this Friendbuy review helps you decide on the right automated referral marketing platform for your business.