AMAs April 30, 2020

I'm Manuel Frigerio, founder of ReferralHero and co-founder SparkLoop, AKA "the referral marketing guy". Ask me anything!

Manuel Frigerio @manuel_frigerio

I'm Manuel Frigerio, founder of ReferralHero, one of the biggest referral marketing platforms in the world, and co-founder of SparkLoop, the world's first referral tool for newsletters.

In a past life, I've been a freelancer (working with brands like Crukafe and UnicornHunt) and UX Design teacher for Startup Institute.

Today I'm a "full-stack entrepreneur" - I can do coding, design, marketing, sales, copywriting, customer support.
Everything I know, I've learned over the years on the field, self-taught.

I believe you can learn anything, with right mindset and motivation.

Fun fact: I've been employed a grand total of ~6 months in my entire life.

I'll be here at 9am EST on Saturday 1st of August, ask me anything!

  1. 3

    Hi Manuel, I’d like to ask you about the quality of the leads/subscribers that referral campaigns bring in. Based on your experience, how do they compare to the ones coming from other channels?

    1. 1

      In general, the quality of the leads you get from a referral campaign is very HIGH.
      People who land on your website through a recommendation tend to trust you more and give you more the benefit of the doubt.

      Many research show how leads acquired through word-of-mouth also spends more, on average, churns less and has a higher LTV.

      That said, it highly depends on the rewards you offer. With the wrong reward you can attract the wrong type of lead. For example, a referral program that is too generous on the side of the referral, might people who are very price sensitive.

  2. 2

    I purchased “Maitre” on launch day. Glad it went well for you.

  3. 2

    What's the fundamental differences between referral marketing and affiliate marketing? Should I be trying both or are they too similar?

    1. 2

      As @saadmrb has said, the main difference lies in the incentives.
      Affiliates do it for the money, they don't necessarily like, nor even use, your product.
      Imagine being an Amazon affiliate: you don't necessarily use the products you get affiliates from.

      Customer referral programs the closest thing to "organic word-of-mouth". Only people who are your customers refer their friends and they generally only get more of your product.

    2. 2

      Affiliate marketing focuses on 3rd party brand advocates to send customers to your business for a flat fee.
      Referral marketing is focused on rewarding current customers to invite their friends to try your product/service.

  4. 1

    What is the best way to find clients without posting advertisement and not spending money?

    Thanks for your time 😄👍

  5. 1

    Couple questions mostly related to productivity and "CEOing"

    • What do your days/weeks look like? How much time do you spend on different parts of the business(es)?

    • What do you wish you would've known/done just starting out as an entrepreneur?

    • What are the 80/20 activities for you that have outsized returns on your productivity or business results?

    1. 2

      hey Corey!

      1. I should probably write a blog post about this one day, but I use a very simple productivity framework: every quarter I set some goals I want to hit for each of my projects. Then every week I simply ask myself: what are 2-3 things I can do to move significantly forward? I constantly look for 80/20 opportunities.

      In general, I always try to have at least 1 (if not 2) "uncomfortable" goals. The fact that they are uncomfortable indicates to me that they are something I need to do, otherwise I often fallback to what I enjoy doing, which is usually coding.

      I also don't necessarily try to work on all the different part of the business (product, marketing, sales, etc) at the same time. Instead, I will work on marketing projects for one or two weeks, followed by product projects for one or two weeks, etc. This way I can get "in the flow" with things instead of switching too often (mental switching is exhausting).

      1. Such a good question and my answer will probably be biased by recent thoughts (ask me again in 1 year and I could give you different answers), but here you go:
      • Do the uncomfortable things first.
      • Marketing and Sales are MUCH more important than product
      • It doesn't have to be perfect.
      • Create systems.
      • Hard work without direction is pointless.
      1. Lift heavy weights 4x/week, Go to sleep early-ish, Read lots and "horizontally".
  6. 1

    How would you implint referral marketing into a b2b service based business?

    1. 1

      Referral marketing for B2B products is more difficult (but not impossible).

      Some products can't use referral marketing even if they are awesome. Actually, the fact that they are awesome is the reason why they can't run a referral program.

      Let me explain why.
      Some products give their customers such an incredible competitive advantage that they don't want their competitor to know about it, let alone be loud on social media! As an example, consider a service that allows company A to cut its operations cost by 30% and because of that can afford to lower prices by 20% and still make a profit. This is the type of competitive advantage that allows Company A to undercut the competition. In this situation, Company A's customers have absolutely no intention to recommend other people to their product because the more people know about it, the smaller its competitive advantage.

      Sure, most products don't give their customers such an amazing competitive advantage, but most B2B tools provide a benefit that helps its customers win business against their competitors. This is why referral programs for B2B products are much less common and usually work in a slightly different way.

      Do B2B referral programs ever work?
      Yes they can work but usually only when the customer doesn't get a clear competitive advantage against their competitors by using that product.

      DropBox is actually a great example.
      DropBox's ambassador program is legendary and companies have tried to replicate it with alternate results. The main reason DropBox's ambassador program is that DropBox's users had no problems in inviting other people to the service. If your competitor uses DropBox it doesn't affect you in any way. Indeed, DropBox's value increases when you invite other people. You can use DropBox in isolation but it's the collaborative features that makes it a killer app.
      If you pay attention, the vast majority of referral programs in B2B-land are for collaborative tools.

      To generalise the above rules: B2B referral programs can work but they are usually more difficult to pull off. If you're considering running a referral program for your B2B product, ask yourself:

      • does my product provide an obvious competitive advantage to my customers they'd rather keep a secret about?
      • is my product collaborative? Does my product value increases the more people use it?
  7. 1

    Are there any potential downsides to leveraging referral marketing and referral incentives? If yes, what are they?

    1. 1

      none that I know of. Referral Marketing is like exercise: yes maybe you can injure yourself if you do too much of it, but most people should do it regularly.

  8. 1

    Thanks a lot for your time. What do you think can be improved here

  9. 1

    What is your DB and why did you choose it ?

    1. 2
      1. Postgres
      2. Because it's awesome and ultre-scalable.
  10. 1

    Hello, Manuel. Do you think building a digital agency is worth in today's time? Sparkloop seems interesting and I will surely take a look into it! Thank you.

    1. 1

      I have absolutely no idea. I've never run an agency so I have no opinions about it.

  11. 1

    Hi Manuel,

    " Full-stack entrepreneur" - That's awesome :)

    How does your typical day look like? What percentage of time goes into your inbox, cloud apps, and other things?

    1. 1

      I don't really have an average day.
      That said, since I'm much more productive in the morning, that's when I try to get 3-4 solid hours of work with no distractions. The afternoon is for calls, less cognitively difficult tasks. I check my inbox only twice a day: in the morning and at 5:30PM before I finish my day. I ruthlessly unsubscribe, snooze and delegate.

  12. 1

    Hi Manuel,
    How did you decided to create another project? Don't you fear losing focus?

    1. 2

      Some people lose focus if they work on several projects at the same time but for me is the opposite: I need to work on several things to be able to focus.
      I've learned to stay laser focused on the task at hand, but I wasn't always like this. It took me years of trial and error with different methodologies and a change of mentality.

  13. 0

    Any thoughts on how to grow would be awesome!

    Thanks for your time!

    1. 2

      I know absolutely nothing about your product nor your industry so everything I say will be total rubbish.

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