A double-sided referral program leveraging the reciprocity effect

Gusto Gusto refer


Gusto offers a referral program that rewards both the referrer and the referee with gift cards, effectively leveraging the reciprocity effect to drive participation.
a screenshot of the refer flow explaining how to A double-sided referral program leveraging the reciprocity effect
a screenshot of the refer flow explaining how to A double-sided referral program leveraging the reciprocity effect
a screenshot of the refer flow explaining how to A double-sided referral program leveraging the reciprocity effect

Business Outcome

Increased Referral Program Participation

By offering incentives to both parties involved in a referral, Gusto can increase the number of users participating in their referral program. This leads to more new customer acquisitions and overall growth for the business.

Behavioral Outcome

Feelings of Reciprocity

The reciprocity effect motivates users to refer others to Gusto, as they feel compelled to return the favor after receiving a reward for a successful referral. This creates a cycle of referrals that benefits both the referrer and the company.

The Behavioral Science

Reciprocity Effect

The reciprocity effect is a social norm that states when someone does something nice for us, we feel obligated to return the favor. This principle is deeply ingrained in human behavior and can be a powerful motivator for action. By rewarding both parties in a referral, Gusto taps into this psychological phenomenon to encourage more referrals.

How It Works

By offering these rewards to referrers, businesses tap into the reciprocity principle, as the referrer feels obligated to reciprocate the benefit they received by making a referral.

This motivates them to continue referring others, thus driving customer acquisition and growth for the business.

Dual-incentive structure leverages social dynamics and psychological principles to increase the effectiveness of the referral program.

Mutual Benefit and Reciprocity

Both the referrer and the referee receive rewards or benefits, creating a sense of mutual benefit. This encourages existing customers to refer others because they know their friends will also receive a reward, making the referral process more attractive.

Balanced Incentives

Double-sided referral programs often offer balanced incentives for both parties, ensuring fairness and equality in the rewards. This reduces the risk of resentment or dissatisfaction among referrers and referees, leading to higher participation rates.

How It Might Backfire

Reward Amount

Disclosing the referrer reward in the invitation message to friends can remove psychological barriers for the referrer, yielding substantial advantages for the business. Yet, it's crucial to note that the reward amount and setup are key factors.

Sharing the referrer reward loses its effectiveness if there's inequality in the reward size (e.g., offering a higher reward to the referrer) or if the reward system unfairly burdens one recipient, such as tying rewards to the referee's spending. In such cases, the incentive structure may clash with the dynamics of friendship.

How To Test

A/B Tests

Condition A includes a referral program and Condition B includes a double-sided incentive program. Check which works better to improve customer acquisition and sales.

Frequently Asked Questions

To enhance a product-led growth (PLG) model using Gusto's referral tactic, implement a double-sided referral program that rewards both the referrer and the referee. This approach leverages the reciprocity effect to drive participation and accelerate user acquisition.

In a PLG context, offer existing users incentives to refer others, such as gift cards or product credits. Simultaneously, provide attractive rewards to new users who sign up through referrals. This mutual benefit creates a powerful motivation for existing users to spread the word about your product, potentially leading to viral growth and increased user adoption rates.

To improve conversion rates using Gusto's referral tactic, implement a double-sided referral program that offers rewards to both the referrer and the referee. This approach can significantly boost your customer acquisition efforts and overall conversion rates.

Highlight the mutual benefits of the referral program throughout your conversion funnel. For example, on landing pages or during the sign-up process, emphasize how users can earn rewards by referring friends and how their friends will also benefit. This creates a strong incentive for potential customers to convert and immediately engage with your referral program, potentially leading to a chain reaction of new sign-ups and improved conversion rates.

To optimize your website using Gusto's referral tactic, integrate a prominent and easy-to-use double-sided referral program throughout your site. This can help drive user engagement and increase the likelihood of referrals.

Create a dedicated referral page that clearly explains the program's benefits for both referrers and referees. Include this page in your main navigation or footer for easy access. Additionally, incorporate referral prompts at key points in the user journey, such as after successful transactions or when users achieve certain milestones. Ensure that the referral process is simple and seamless, allowing users to quickly share their unique referral links or codes via email or social media platforms.

To A/B test Gusto's referral tactic, create two versions of your referral program: one with a single-sided incentive (control group) and another with a double-sided incentive (test group). Randomly assign users to each group and measure key metrics such as referral rates, conversion rates, and overall program participation.

For the test group, offer rewards to both the referrer and the referee, while the control group only rewards the referrer. Track the number of referrals made, the conversion rate of referred users, and the overall impact on customer acquisition and revenue. Additionally, survey participants from both groups to gather qualitative feedback on their motivation to participate and their satisfaction with the referral program. Analyze the results to determine which approach is more effective for your specific business and user base.

Gusto's referral tactic improves the user experience by creating a sense of mutual benefit and fostering positive social interactions. By offering rewards to both the referrer and the referee, users feel good about sharing the product with friends and colleagues, knowing that everyone involved will benefit.

This approach taps into the reciprocity effect, making users feel valued and appreciated for their role in growing the user base. It also adds an element of excitement and reward to the user experience, as participants can earn tangible benefits for their actions. Furthermore, the double-sided nature of the program can strengthen relationships between users and their referred friends, as both parties receive something of value through the interaction.