Top Referral & Affiliate Programs and Their Pros & Cons

A great mind map that provides an overview of the different referral programs used by successful companies such as Evernote, Slack, Intercom and Uber.

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Top Referral & Affiliate Programs and Their Pros & Cons by Mind Map: Top Referral & Affiliate Programs and Their Pros & Cons

1. Popular Tools That - Surprisingly - Don't Have Affiliate Programs

1.1. Basecamp

1.2. Asana

1.3. Wunderlist

1.4. Toggl

2. Programs That Target Free & Paid Users

2.1. Evernote

2.1.1. Earn Evernote points by referring friends, your friends get 1 month premium when they sign up

2.1.1.1. Points can be redeemed for various rewards, among them free premium months, but also individual features

2.1.1.2. More complicated than e.g. Trello

2.2. Slack

2.2.1. Share Slack with another team and they'll get a 100$ credit when they sign up. If they upgrade to a paid plan you get 100$ credit as well.

2.2.1.1. Incentivizes the new team to stick with the paid plan from the start

2.2.1.2. If features such as integrations can't be retained in free plan after credit is gone, free users might not be inclined to go for this offer

2.3. Intercom

2.3.1. A ‘3-month free’ reward for both the sender and recipient

2.3.1.1. Targets already paying users as well as trial users

2.3.1.2. referral program placed in the main dashboard experience

2.3.1.3. Relatively simple and straight forward

2.4. Uber

2.4.1. When a new user is referred, both the referrer and the new user get 20$ credit, which basically equals one free ride for both

2.4.1.1. Simple, clear message

2.4.1.2. Easy to share

2.4.1.3. Instant value

3. Programs That Target "Professional Affiliates"

3.1. Skype

3.1.1. People first have to join an affiliate network

3.1.2. Earn 15-25% commission for sales of paid Skype products

3.1.3. Program closed in 2015

3.2. Mindjet

3.2.1. Earn 15% per sale on certain Mindjet products

3.2.2. Not sure if program still active

3.3. Uber

3.3.1. Rider Referrals: Drivers earn cash when inviting new riders. They get paid every time someone takes their first ride

3.3.2. Referral earnings are included on the driver's weekly payment statement

3.4. MindMeister

3.4.1. Get 20% commission (recurring) for paid users you refer

4. Programs That Target Free Users

4.1. Trello

4.1.1. For every person you get to join Trello, we'll give you a free month of Trello Gold, up to 12 months.

4.1.1.1. Simple, straight forward, instant value

4.1.1.2. Gives them a taste of the Pro plan that might eventually get them to sign up for good

4.2. Dropbox

4.2.1. For every friend who joins and installs Dropbox on their computer, we'll give you both 500 MB of bonus space (up to a limit of 16 GB)!

4.2.1.1. Similar to MM bonus map program

4.2.1.2. Extra space can be retained, it's key to usage and enjoyment of the product

4.2.1.3. 35% of daily sign-ups are via the referral program

4.3. Prezi

4.3.1. Invite 3 friends and get 3 months for free if they sign up

4.3.1.1. What happens when the paid subscription runs out is a bit confusing...

4.3.1.2. Sets the bar pretty high

4.3.1.3. Program not visible other than in the user settings

4.4. Airbnb

4.4.1. Invite your friends, get 25$ when they take a trip and 75$ when they rent out their place

4.4.1.1. Targets both hosts and travellers

4.4.1.2. High visibility, mobile optimized, uses new channels such as Whatsapp

4.4.1.3. Referrals drive 900% year-on-year growth for 1st time bookings

4.4.1.4. In South Korea, 30% of their first time bookings come from referrals.

4.4.1.5. It took a 5 person team (with lots of borrowed help!) 3 full months and 30,000 lines of code to do Airbnb’s Referrals 2.0 system.

4.5. MindMeister

4.5.1. Get up to 10 extra free mind maps for inviting your friends, every sign up gets you one map!

4.5.1.1. Simple and straight-forward

4.5.1.2. Free maps are retained forever

4.5.1.3. If free user turns into paid user at some point, he can use his referrals to get cash instead of the free maps

5. Overview

5.1. Referrals can and should be a major part of a company's growth strategy

5.2. Referred users tend to retain better than other users

5.3. Program should be as simple and straight forward as possible

5.4. Sharing should be simple, quick and painless OR very smart (see e.g. Airbnb Referrals 2.0)

5.5. Program should have high visibility. Awareness is key. It needs to be promoted properly WITHIN the product as well as outside

5.5.1. Landing page

5.5.2. Blog post

5.5.3. Help section

5.5.4. In app (e.g. in Account menu dropdown)

5.5.5. Marketing email