Dropbox’s referral program is probably one of the most well-known successful cases proving how referral marketing can contribute immensely to a company’s growth. In September 2008, Dropbox had 100,000 registered users; in December 2009, the company grew its user base to 4 million users. In September 2017, Dropbox acquired over 33.9 million registered users and had a total valuation of 10 billion and at least 1 billion in revenue.
In essence, within 15 months, Dropbox had experienced a growth rate of about 3900%. Of course, the company’s tremendous growth cannot all be attributed to the brand’s referral program. They ensured that they consistently garnered customer feedback and continually improved on their product. Nevertheless, we cannot underestimate the fact that their referral program contributed massively to its overall growth.
This post will discuss how the Dropbox referral program works, the good things about the program, some of its drawbacks, and how it can be improved.
How does the Dropbox referral program work?
The concept of Dropbox’s referral program was simple. The company’s primary product or value offered is a storage space in the cloud. So, they chose to reward customers with more free space. The program uses a two-sided reward model, which sees that both the referring customer and their referral enjoy free storage space once an invitation is accepted. Thus, users can earn extra storage space in the cloud by inviting their friends to try out Dropbox.
Users with Dropbox Basic accounts are eligible to earn 500 MB for each referral and can earn up to 16GB.
Users who have Dropbox Plus and Professional accounts are eligible to receive 1 GB per referral and can earn up to 32 GB.
Account-holders can share their referral link in the Settings section when they log in. Once a referral link is sent, the friend you referred needs to complete specific steps before both parties receive their bonus space.
The referred person would have to accept the invitation in the link sent and sign up. Then they have to install the Dropbox desktop app and sign in through the app. They must also verify their account’s email address.
What are the good things about the program?
Easy Onboarding Process
Usually, the most stressful part of beginning to utilize a service or software is the onboarding stage. There are usually a ton of details to provide and several steps to go through before an account is set up. Therefore, it is a relief to start using a service or patronize software with a straightforward onboarding process. Dropbox realized this gap and ensured that its onboarding process became a piece of cake for its users. Aside from summing everything up in a simple-to-follow six-step process, the brand integrated its referral program as a final step.
Clear value communicated
Another obvious advantage of Dropbox’s referral program is how clear people can perceive the values or rewards they can earn by participating. The brand takes the initiative to state the specific actions customers need to take and the rewards eligible. Doing this makes the program more attractive to new and existing customers alike since they can see the direct value participating in the program gives.
Easy tracking of referral status
A good referral program is set up to motivate its members to achieve a set goal. For instance, if your brand rewards points for each referral, you can offer a special product for gaining a certain number of points or hitting a certain number of referrals. This way, you condition your referral program members to promote their links harder in order to access this reward. Of course, the easiest way to keep them engaged and motivated enough to promote the program is to give them a clear view of how close they are to reaching their goal. Dropbox makes tracking easy by including a panel that is accessible to all users. Through this panel, they can see how their invites performed and the amount of storage space they have earned so far.
Easy Invitation Process
The significance of a referral program is to have many loyal customers spread the word about a company’s products. In the ecommerce world, brands would need to incorporate certain sharing tools to enable customers to earn rewards from sharing their unique referral links. Dropbox allowed its members to share their links through social media, email, or messenger apps. Dropbox took it a step further by offering its users the option to synchronize their contacts from Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. This made it possible for the right friends and family to sign up through their links without too many clicks.
Thank You Emails
Another brilliant way Dropbox became successful in its referral program is through sending email messages to the referrer and referee. In these emails, the brand would add a call to action that prompted them to invite more friends or upgrade to Dropbox plus to earn even more space. The timing of these emails is perfect since it is at the exact time both parties are most satisfied with receiving extra space. In addition, the CTA prompt compels them to refer even more people to increase their chances of winning more space.
How could they have made their rewards program more attractive?
Dropbox is such a great example of a simple yet successful rewards program that it is hard to pinpoint a drawback. However, there always is something every brand can do to improve its referral program to attract more customers.
For this company, an improvement they can pay attention to is to give more publicity to the rewards program, especially on the main site. Unfortunately, it is hard to find adequate information concerning the program if you’re not already a member or haven’t received an invitation to sign up.
While the program is well-promoted by members, the company can attract even more new members by investing more into promoting it on their pages.
We have learned from the points above that Dropbox’s two-sided referral program was successful because it offered its primary product as a reward. It had a simple onboarding process, members clearly understood its benefits, it was easy to invite more friends, and people could easily track their referral status. More importantly, using a referral program software like Beans’ referral app will enable you to create an amazing experience like Dropbox did and easily manage your referrals and rewards. Get started with Beans here.