Wow, with a title like that you know you’re in for a treat!
On the never-ending quest to learn and share about how tech companies are growing, we were lucky enough to sit down with David Chen – CEO of Strikingly. Their company provides an easy way for customers to build a mobile-optimized website. No code or design needed.
In our conversation, David explained to me exactly what Dancing Cats, Loving Customers and Strikingly have in common.Hint: It’s growth!
David Chen and his team have been working on encouraging word of mouth referrals for their platform for the past few months. David shared with me what they’ve learned and how they think it could help others.
Why did you think a referral program would be good for Strikingly?
Most of our referrals actually come from word of mouth.
It’s the nature of our product. When a person looks at a website of one of our customers, on the spot they would be like “hey I love your website how did you build it”. Our customers say, “just use this tool called Strikingly.”
That’s more of the natural way. They weren’t saying, “just hold on I’m going to email you this link through a referral system later.” They would just tell you that it’s Strikingly.
Where did you get the inspiration for your referral program?
We started off by looking at the Dropbox referral page.
Dropbox grew with a referral program and that’s the nature of their business. The nature of their business is sharing, you share stuff with people.
You recently changed your referral program. Why is that?
We had an okay percentage of people coming in (to the referral page), but we still saw a lot of people go into that page and not refer people. The reason is not everyone actually needed to have a Pro plan.
That was just the nature of the usage. A lot of people will come and use Strikingly temporarily. Also, our free offer is pretty good and not all of our users need to upgrade.
The incentive was not necessarily inline with what every user wanted to have. It was good for the paying users, but many of the free users who hit that page actually bounced because they didn’t see as much value.
So we did something different. We looked at what our users needed most. And that was a learning curve for us.
We didn’t think our users would use that many pages when we started. We thought they would use it for a couple things and that would be enough. Eventually, we realized that users would need more pages.
So the limit that is imposed on everyone of our users, not just the paid users, is pages. So we decided to use pages as the reward in the referral program.
That one change actually increased our referral rate by about 50%. So that was anyone who liked on Facebook, Tweeted, or sent any type of invite.
So tell me, what’s with the dancing cat?
The cat was very awesome!
That was actually just out of the blue. We were thinking of putting a beautiful girl on the page. We thought, “lets put a pretty face on the page and see if that helps. “And then we were like, “it is definitely very weird if you just put a girl on the page. You know everyone would look at it and say, come on.”
So we decided to do it the other way. We said lets put something fun, something we like to see ourselves. And… we like to see cat pictures on 9gag, so we thought that might be fun, lets try it out.
That one small trick increased our referral rate by about 200% just on that page.
The bounce rate was way lower because of the cat thing. We have seen people continuously come back and refer people just to get to that page to see the cat dance.
There is a level of humanity there that makes people feel closer to your product and makes it easier for people to make a referral of your product.