So, you’ve got your referral program in place – good job! Now all you have to do is sit back and let those referrals roll in, right?
Well… not exactly. We’ve all heard the line “if you build it they will come”, but in the case of referrals, there’s no time to waste waiting around. You’ve built a program for bringing in new players organically; now it’s time to tell people about it.
In this post, we’ll explore some of the ways in which you can not only make players aware of your referral program but show that inviting friends is an enticing and rewarding thing to do.
There are plenty of ways to do this, some of which take place inside your game and some of which are external methods using supporting platforms like social media. This post will focus on those external ones as they require a little less resource than in-game methods that might need you to push an app update. We’ll address the internal ones in another post.
Update your patch notes
This is one of the most straightforward ways to get a message across to your players – in the patch notes on the App Store or Google Play. You’re probably used to having a “What’s New” entry whenever you push a new feature in your game. And guess what! Your new referral program is a new feature, so update your patch notes to tell players about it.
We’ve previously looked at some best practices for copywriting in your game, but you should try and be creative with your new patch note text while also being super-clear about how your referral program works – and what the reward will be for your players. This is your chance to sell the idea as well as announcing it.
Social media announcements
Those communities you’ve spent time building on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, wherever? Now’s the time to talk to them!
Again, this is a chance to get creative and present your referral program as something that benefits your players. They invite a friend; they get a reward. Assuming you’ve made your rewards desirable, that should be an easy sell.
One of the advantages of using your social platforms is that you can get some feedback on the referral program itself. Are people complaining that the rewards are too stingy? Consider tweaking it in the future. Does it seem like some players don’t grasp what they need to do? Revisit your wording and see if it can be clearer.
Of course, that level of user feedback should be weighed against the real-time insights you’ll get from using the Megacool dashboard to power your referrals. But it’s still useful feedback – and having a dialogue with players can help build trust and engagement.
You may already be sending newsletters to your players when you’ve got something you want to tell them – and this is no different. If you’ve gathered email addresses of your players (and got their opt-in for marketing, of course), then a newsletter can be a highly effective way of communicating with them.
Not only is a newsletter personalized to each player, but it’s also not a platform that’s competing for a reader’s attention in the way that social media will be. One email, addressed to each player, landing in their inbox. You’ve got their attention, and now you can tell them all about your great new referral program and how they can get their hands on those sweet in-game rewards.
A newsletter also gives you scope to go into a little more detail about how the program works, whereas social media and patch notes will need you to be a bit short-and-sweet to keep your reader’s attention. We wrote about the power of newsletters, and their increasing relevancy, in our summary of gaming growth trends.
Finally, your website – either for your company, or the individual game – should always be kept up to date with the latest news about your game.
As with newsletters, this is an ideal platform to lay out details of your referral program. You can even point players towards this from social media if they’re having problems grasping how the program works – although if that’s the case, you should probably look at making the program more straightforward too.
These four steps should be the minimum you do to promote your in-app referral program to your players. They’re easily created and pushed live, and allow you to reach players directly in the case of newsletters and social media posts. All of them should go some way to helping you get the most out of your referral program in the form of boosting your acquisition, revenue, and retention.