Today we talk with Amira Valliani of Glow the makers of refer.fm a tool where you get to pick your own rewards, and you get a landing page where people can get their own unique link and refer.fm tracks the number of people they refer to your podcast.
You get notified with the name and email person of the "super fan" who wants to refer their friends (they are stored in a spreadsheet making it easy to import into your system) and when they reach a goal you are notified.
You can see Dave's page for the School of Podcasting at
Please note after talking with Amira, I have reduced the number of referrals to gain my rewards (I was way too ambitious) which is one of the great things is you can adjust your rewards at any time.
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Dave Jackson: [00:00:00] Amir. Thanks for coming on the show. She is from referred.fm. Thanks for joining us. walk us through what is it? Let's start off with what inspired it.
Amira Valliani: [00:00:10] Yeah. so our business is called glow and glow is a business. let's start off making it easy for podcasters to build membership programs, and get paid to podcast.
And as we started talking to more and more podcasters, what we found is that. Every podcast or didn't just need ways to get paid directly, but there's a need for so many more tools that exist in basically every other media and every other industry out there. That's just never made it over to podcasts.
When we said, we, with our core business at glow made it easy for podcasts to get paid, which is something that every other industry has. What other tools can we build for podcasters to help them grow and monetize their businesses? And the number one requests that we get from pod-casters is to help them grow their audience.
And so we sat back and we said, all right, we think we could help build some tools that help podcasters grow their audience. and I'm actually a big fan of the morning brew newsletter, and they're really good about in every newsletter plugging their referral program. And so I started investigating it and I found out that morning brew has grown like 15 X, mostly driven by the referral program.
I said, podcasts are grown by word of mouth. Like why don't podcasts just have referral programs? And, we said, could we build this for podcasts? And I talked to my engineers and they said, yeah, we could totally build this for podcasts. and that was a couple months ago. And here we are today was a new drop from glow, which is refer a medic a way to help build a referral program for your podcast.
Dave Jackson: [00:01:36] Obviously the podcaster benefits because your audience is now being the, The sales team, for lack of a better phrase, they're out there sharing the word about this. So hopefully they'll get some more listeners what's in it for the person that refers them.
Amira Valliani: [00:01:51] So it's up to the podcaster, but you can set incentives for your listeners.
so we've seen incentive to be set at everything from cold hard cash. So refer five friends to the podcast and you'll give him $5 to eliminate issue t-shirt or mug from the podcast. To an opportunity to be able to get a live audience, with, with you the host, too, I think we have someone, offering hand-drawn postcards of Chinese leaders for a podcast that's about China.
the incentives can be set up to whatever you want and something that is meaningful to the podcast, but the listeners are super excited, share your show. And, the incentive is a sweetener. It's something that really fuels them to be able to share something that they're already excited about sharing.
Dave Jackson: [00:02:33] It's Hey, wow. I get to help my friend, the podcaster. And on top of it, whatever, I'm going to get a free t-shirt. And that, especially if that's like limited edition, it's a badge of honor that, Hey, I did the work, I've got the t-shirt. I referred five people, et cetera. So if we could pretend we can get back together in public and you've got the cool, I referred five people with t-shirt.
It's a cool little badge of honor. So right now, as I record this it's December, 2020, and this is fairly new. How long have you been in your beta program?
Amira Valliani: [00:03:05] So we spun up a for amatic in the first week of October. and then it was just three podcasters that we talk to in hand emails now. And then we officially spun out the beta program about, three weeks ago.
So it's been a few weeks since we started, opening up our wait list and getting new podcasters and the general public onboard. And it's been awesome to see the response.
Dave Jackson: [00:03:26] Walk us through. I sign up and, currently right now it's $20 a month, but for me, if I can get, grow my audience in again, pour gas on word of mouth, that's going to be more than worth it.
And so somebody signs up what happens from
Amira Valliani: [00:03:42] there. Yeah, so you sign up, so you go to refer.fm, sign up and drop your email address. And what we'll do is we'll respond to you and we'll say, thanks so much for signing up there for a medic waitlist. Here's some information we need from you in order to get started.
And we're going to ask you some simple information. It's the name of your podcast, your RSS feed, your album art. And then the most important thing that we're going to ask you for is what you want your awards to be. You submit that to us. And, depending on how the weightless queue is looking, we'll spin up a page for you for your full program and send it right back, for you to check out and to be able to take her for a program to spin.
You'll be able to see what the page looks like for you as a refer, you'll be able to see what you know, referred listeners. We'll see, be able to offer any edits that you want. And then when you feel good about it, you send it to us. And we, we'll go ahead and finalize your page for you after you submit, some credit card information for a two week free trial.
Right now, the turnaround time, for wait-lists to launch is as little as two days. And so we are able to get people spun up super quickly, as long as we keep getting your information from you. So we're really excited to get people started. Dave the way it would work for you is, and we can plug your referral program right here is you tell your listeners to go to refer to NFM slash school of podcasting.
And, this page pops up where, your listeners can see what you're offering them to share the podcast with their friends. And if someone shares with five friends, you're going to send them a custom thank you video. and if you share with a hundred friends, you get a signed copy of your book, which is pretty cool.
And so they go to this page referred at FM slash school podcasting. they get a unique referral link and that link is just for them. And that's the link that they share with all their friends. Introduce them to the show. And when they share that link with a friend goes to that link and they're taking you to a page where they can learn a little bit about the podcast.
They can see the previous episodes and then they can open up the show in their podcast, player of choice. They can click to open up in Spotify or Apple podcast or overcast or wherever they listen. And once they click to open the show, then we count that referral. And. You Dave or Dave's listener, whoever sent it for the referral program, get a credit.
As soon as that person opens up the show in their podcast player.
Dave Jackson: [00:05:55] Nice. And what kind of information do I know who that referral, do I know who that person is that just subscribed to my shell?
Amira Valliani: [00:06:03] This is the coolest part. So as a podcast, it's really difficult for you to get information about who your listeners are.
we make it possible to refer amatic, to capture the email addresses of everyone who signed up here for, and these people are your super fans. And so you'll get an up-to-date list of all the people who signed up your firs. How many people they've referred to the show and you'll be able to track that anytime people to send them personal.
Thank you. We don't give you the information that people who signed up to listen to the show, the refineries, because that adds more friction to the process, but you do get the email addresses of everyone who signs up for your, for who are like your super fans, which is great.
Dave Jackson: [00:06:37] Super fans. Exactly are very cool.
Cause that way again, the whole point of this is to Dump gas on your super fans so that they go out and do that. So now that I know in my case that Gary Stockton is going to share my link, I can actually send an email to them. Hey, thank you so much for being part of this, launch or whatever you wanna call it, or, this, street team back in the days of being a musician, people that would go out and tell their friends and I'll promote you.
you can say thank you so much. I look forward to. Seeing how many people you can refer, et cetera. And just, start to build that relationship with the people that are out there promoting your shelves. So that's, I love that idea.
Amira Valliani: [00:07:16] Yeah. The idea is like every podcast or should be able to have an ambassador program where you reward the people who are in the front lines of sharing your show and make it easy to do that.
And so we're excited about this way to reward your listeners who are already telling their friends about their show. but now you can. Yeah, give him a perk to do it and incentivize them to share faster.
Dave Jackson: [00:07:35] in my case, as I looked at my one spreadsheet here, Gary Stockton is here and how am I going to know how many people Gary has
Amira Valliani: [00:07:44] referred?
When Gary starts referring people, you'll see a little ticker appear right there in your spreadsheet. So it'll take up to one or two whenever they have a successful referral. and you'll also get an email every time they have a successful referral. So you'll be able to know, whenever someone's, sharing your show with others.
Dave Jackson: [00:08:00] Nice. And then, so let's say Gary refers five people. I'm making him a custom video that says, Hey, thanks so much and et cetera, do we do I have to go in anywhere too? Check that he's received it or is it just, how does the whole payout system work?
Amira Valliani: [00:08:16] Yeah, so paths work two ways. So incentive one is you're offering cold, hard cash.
If that's the case. If you just sat down for cash as your incentive, we'll handle payouts for you, and then just invoice you at the end of the month, along with your sort of, $20. If you're offering something different, like a custom thank you, video or some merge. What we'll do is we'll send you an alert.
Whenever a milestone is reached. for your listener and then you can go ahead and take care of fulfillment. if Gary reaches five listeners and you want to send them a custom video, you'll get an email. As soon as he reaches five listeners letting you know that it's time to send him the custom.
Thank you video.
Dave Jackson: [00:08:50] Nice. I'm sure they're going to be a lot of people. I'm not sure what to use for rewards. What if they start off with. to rewards and then they decide, Oh, you know what? That second one stinks. I shouldn't have done that. Can they change the rewards later? Or how flexible is it?
Amira Valliani: [00:09:05] Totally. You can swap out your awards at any time. and we do a lot of coaching for people who are trying to figure out what kind of rewards to offer. Cause it can be confusing. So you can always change your award and adjust it based on what you're seeing work and not work. but what we recommend is the following.
here's what we see for people who signed up to be refers. It's a bi-modal distribution. So the vast majority of people who sign up to be refers, they share with between zero to two people. And then. The top 10% of shares end up accomplishing 60% of the shares. And so what you want to do is you really want to optimize your program to cater to those sort of two groups of people to get them to share just a little more.
So we recommend setting one reward at something that's low, probably between one to three. referrals. And that should be something like, maybe shat on the show or some kind of digital good. Maybe you have an ebook that you want to offer. or an exclusive episode of, of the show. Just something that gives them like a little sweetener to encourage them to share, which is that one friend, and really make sure that they followed through on opening it.
And that's your referral targeted at that sort of low hanging fruit shares, people who sign up just because they love the show and want to figure out new ways to share it. And then you have your super shares. And these are people who are super motivated by the reward. They love you, but they also like really indulge that sense of competition.
They're going to get excited by it. And for those people, we end up setting, we recommend setting a benchmark of somewhere around 10 to 15 referrals or something. That's just Really cool and interesting. you, I mentioned we had a show or that we work with that is about China. and his, that host reward was, if you refer the show to 10 friends, he'll draw you a hand-drawn postcard of your favorite Chinese leader.
And so we talked to his listeners who are the super shares, and they were just super motivated by the idea of getting that postcard. And you seem really awesome to that, but really unique. And so when you think about your awards, think about. Catering to that biomedical modal distributions like the low hanging fruit shares and then the super shares and think of something just like really sweet and unique to your shelf and super shares, like a carrot that is just really interesting and fun,
Dave Jackson: [00:11:12] super creative or things are.
And I go, that's different. Although the hand drawing Chinese leader, I don't know, we're going to get more, unique than that. Any other rewards that you've seen that have caught your eye?
Amira Valliani: [00:11:24] yeah. So I've seen a couple of fun things. One is, you were talking, chatting with someone right now.
That's on, it's, Wait, weight loss podcast and, their award is, a life-size cutout of one of the hosts shirtless, thanking them for being a sharer. some of the other ones that we think are great or access to the opportunity to get like I'm on a zoom call with a host or.
be on the show and participate in one of the shares. Some of that just is exciting and tailored to you. and the other thing that you could do, which is fun is you can make a competitive, so we've seen some people just say, Whoever gets the most shares. we'll get, custom t-shirt or custom piece emerge.
And so I've seen a one host then has to civilize, on Twitter, tell people who's neck and neck with the most number of referrals in order to earn the specialized t-shirts. So you can get really competitive and gamify it.
Dave Jackson: [00:12:12] I like that idea. And then if you wanted to, I think, let me, could I do that like on a monthly
Amira Valliani: [00:12:17] basis?
Dave Jackson: [00:12:20] I can see the date stamp of when they were referred. So yeah, you could say, all right, top refer for, December is Susie Smith or whatever, and then in January you do it again. And that way you're constantly, yeah. Very interesting. So anything else we should know about referring.fm before I let
Amira Valliani: [00:12:39] you go?
Yeah. what we're really excited about is we built, referred out FM to help every podcast or out there grow. And right now at the early stages, one of the reasons that there's a waitlist and we're really making sure that we are working with every podcast or to get started is to make sure that we are providing it support in studying what works for referral programs.
So if you're excited to try it out, we would love to have you, we set the $20 a month threshold. Really to make sure that there's, buy-in from podcasters that are working with us because every podcast that gets started gets a personal email from me and they get assigned a podcast success manager. And so we're gonna do everything we can to make sure for our program is as successful as possible and really turn on this engine of growth for you.
So if you're at all intrigued by trying it out, I really encourage you to check it out. What are the things that we're excited about? It is it works for podcasters of all sizes. and we want you to come on the journey with us. So had refer that FM.
Dave Jackson: [00:13:35] Yeah, for me, it's two things. Number one, like I said, we're giving people tools to take the most effective way to grow your audience and make it easier, make it a fun, they get a game and you get the names and email addresses of your super fans so that you can make them double, super fans or whatever.
You can really start to build that relationship. And that's when I was like, Oh wait, this is cool. And I love the fact that it's not. it's a framework, but it's not like it's up to you, what the rewards are going to be. and God bless podcasters. We are creative people and I expect more interesting things to be used by this tool.
So I'll be interested to see how this goes forward as I start to actually promote it and use it. And, thanks so much for a creating the tool. And thanks for coming on the show to talk about it.
Amira Valliani: [00:14:24] Thanks so much. I'll make one less blood. Go to refer it out. FM slash school podcasting and share school podcasting with your friends.
Dave Jackson: [00:14:31] There we go. Thank you so much.
Amira Valliani: [00:14:33] Take care.