[Case Study] Dollar Flight Club: Creating an engaging ambassador program for 1 million people

April 18, 2020

Dollar Flight Club finds amazing flight deals for 1 Million people around the world. In this interview, Jesse Neugarten, Dollar Flight Club's founder, explains how they used ReferralHero to create an ambassador program and increase the number of customers by 13%.

Hi Jesse, can you give me a quick overview of The Dollar Flight Club?

Dollar Flight Club aggregates flight pricing data to look for outliers, helping you find the most amazing flight deals without having to do any of the work (goodbye to the times of constantly monitoring Google Flights).

Dollar Flight Club specifically looks for international flights leaving your airport that have an average savings of over $500 USD. Once we find a great deal, we contact you via email or app notification to let you know, so you can grab your tickets before they’re gone.

The company has been in business for just over two years and has a remote team of seven employees. Over the past two years, close to 1 million people have signed up to receive our deals.

Why did you decide to run a referral program?

World of mouth growth is the best and most cost effective type of growth out there if you can figure how to work it for your brand.  If your friend tells you to try something you’re much more likely to sign up in comparison to if you just see a standard Facebook ad. It’s just that simple. 

The combination of referrals and social media awareness makes it a no-brainer to use your current engaged audience to acquire new customers at a low CAC. That’s why we decided to organize a referral program and ReferralHero was the best fit after trying a few solutions.

What were you looking for in a solution?

We needed a solution that was simple to set up, but provided us with the advanced tools we needed to track referrals all the way through the funnel. Our engineering team is quite busy on other product focused initiatives, so it was imperative that the solution did not require much time from our engineers and could be set up quickly.

The support team at ReferralHero is outstanding and helped us at every step to make sure we got set up properly.

Why did you choose ReferralHero?

We found ReferralHero via Google Search. They have some outstanding and actionable content that I came across when searching for referral programs. More specifically, I came across the article they wrote about The Hustle and it felt ReferralHero could be the right fit for us. 

Ultimately, we decided to move forward with ReferralHero for 3 main reasons:

  • Great support
    The support team at ReferralHero is outstanding. Whenever we had questions or problems, the CEO himself would be there to help us. That’s quite unique to get that level of support anywhere and we were impressed.
  • Simple set up
    Once we were able to get tracking set up, the actual campaign set up took a few minutes. ReferralHero makes it easy to build your campaign by taking you through a series of questions and inputs. You can get things set up in a few minutes.
  • Unique Features
    Customizable messages for each social platform was great. It allows you to be more specific in your messaging for different platforms, which we didn’t find as nicely put together anywhere else. 

How much time did it take to plan and execute your referral campaign?

ReferralHero made it very simple to set up our campaign. All we had to do was make sure tracking was working and then decide on prizes. The rest of the set up was taken care of quickly.

Rewards: Selecting our rewards took some brainstorming on our end and collaboration with the ReferralHero team to make sure we picked the right rewards that would resonate with our users. This took a few days to think through.

User Flow/Copy:: The email sequence and user flow design took just about one day to put together. We had to make sure it aligned with our general email strategy. 

Landing Page: The landing page is one of the most important factors when building your campaign since it’s where you convince people to sign up for your program. We made sure to work with our designer to optimize the page for higher conversion rates. This took roughly two days to come to a final product. 

Tracking: Getting the tracking set up was the biggest part of planning the campaign. You’ll need to get some time from your engineering team, but all they need to do is add a few tracking scripts.

ReferralHero has tons of great content as well that gives you ideas around campaign types, prize ideas, and much more which helped us greatly. In general, the ReferralHero team helped us every step of the way. As I mentioned, they have phenomenal support that you won’t find elsewhere. 

What is your prize/reward and how did you come to decide on this prize?

We give a 1-year Free Premium Membership to Dollar Flight Club to anyone who invites 5 friends who start a free trial. We chose this prize because it’s highly relevant to our audience of travelers and it’s something we can offer that is simple to provide and creates more buzz around our product.

What advice would you give to someone selecting a reward?

I would say to pick a reward that:

  1. Is something your users are interested in and would actually use.
  2. Builds awareness around the product that you are selling to customers. For example, we give away our Premium Membership, which is great because when people use it and love it, they tell their friends about it even more.
  3. Pick a prize that doesn't take tons of bandwidth to put together. For us, it’s easy to give away Premium Memberships for referrals as opposed to hats or sunglasses which would be more expensive and take time to send out. With a small team, giving away your product is best. 

What was the goal of your campaign?

Our goal was to grow our email list and convert those subscribers to paying customers

For every 100 people who sign up to our newsletter from the referral campaign, we get roughly 13 new customers.

How has ReferralHero helped you achieve your goal?

ReferralHero has allowed us to build a referral program that aligns with our goals as a company. For example, one of our main KPIs is free trial signups. With ReferralHero’s Tracking Pixel, we can attribute referrals to trial signups rather than just email entries which is great. Not many other services allow you to do that so seamlessly. 

How did you promote the referral program to your users/customers?

Dollar Flight Club alerts customers via a daily email with the cheapest international flight deal from their home airports. In every email that goes out, we have a hook to our referral program as seen below:

We use ReferralHero’s one-click sign up feature to allow users to easily share with friends. This is where we do 99% of our promotion for the program.

What do you think helped push the referrals?

The three factors that pushed referrals were the prizing we selected, ReferralHero’s good looking forms and the follow-up email sequence that you can set up in a few minutes with ReferralHero. You can’t expect people to share anything unless you remind them to and give them a prize they want and is relevant to your product

By using ReferralHero can you measure any increases in revenue or growth?

Yes! With ReferralHero we have been able to attribute real trial signups and real revenue from our referral program. We know that for every 100 people who sign up to our newsletter from the referral campaign, we get roughly 13 new paying members.

We are able to track these results inside the ReferralHero dashboard. It has everything we need to get a 30,000 ft view of how our referral program is driving traffic, trial signups, and revenue. 

How has your perception of the product changed since you've become a customer?

After we got tracking set up, we had the ability to use ReferralHero for not only for our ambassador program but for other viral contests as well. Our perception of the product changed in that we understood that ReferralHero was much more than just an ambassador program product. We now use ReferralHero for referral contests where we give away free flights to our audience by partnering with numerous brands. 

You can’t expect people to share anything unless you remind them to and give them a prize they want and is relevant to your product.

What features did you like most about ReferralHero? Why?

Our favorite feature is the follow-up email sequence that ReferralHero allows to be super customizable. I would say that using that feature boosts referral rates 10x because it allows us to personalize our outreach and follow up to referral signups.

We focus on the Welcome Email to engage new signups, the Follow-Up email to remind people to share, and the milestone email to keep them sharing when they hit certain goals.

If you didn’t use ReferralHero, what would the alternative look like?

The alternative would be much more time consuming to set up and use. In addition, most alternatives are very expensive and aren’t as easy to use as ReferralHero. For us, as a team of 7, we don’t have the bandwidth to deal with taking hours to set up these referral contest, but with ReferralHero it’s simple.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about using ReferralHero?

You have nothing to lose by trying them out for free to start. You can set up a complete referral program very quickly that can drive quality referrals for your brand. You won’t find customer support like they have anywhere else.

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