You, YNAB, and Word of Mouth (an open discussion)

jessejesse Posts: 3,246Member, Moderator, Administrator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
edited August 2011 in Off-Topic Chat
Lately, YNAB has been growing really, well. And we haven't done more advertising than what we've always done (which isn't much). It stands to reason that the main reason we've grown so much is because of you.

People know they need a budget, and apparently they know other people need a budget as well. You guys are already telling so many people about YNAB—it's tremendous.

So maybe this is overkill, but the idea crossed my mind to offer a reward for the word of mouth. Kind of a way of saying "thank you." I'm going to use hypothetical numbers here, and am not binding myself to anything at this point. As is customary for these forums, I'm using them as my sounding board, and you guys are always awesome in your thoughtful responses.

So, hypothetical.

What if, as soon as you purchased YNAB (or if you already had), you were also given a referral link like http://www.youneedabudget.com?AFFID=12345.

And you send that to some friends that you think would enjoy YNAB, and if they purchase through that link, they get $7 off. Also, for every friend that purchases, we pay you $7.

It's a win-win-win I *think*. We get another person budgeting with YNAB, changing their finances for the better, etc. You get $7, and your friend got $7 off.

My original thought was just to give you, the referrer, the $7 referral bonus, and your friend doesn't get the discount. But then I thought having you make $7 might taint the word of mouth. By that I mean, suddenly, instead of people telling others about YNAB because it really has worked for them, you're doing it because you want $7. Or maybe $7 is small enough that it's kind of a shrug-off, "Yeah, I get this $7 but that's not the real reason." Or maybe the fact that your friend gets $7 as well negates the taint, and it's all good? What do you think?

EDIT: the next paragraph no longer applies.

And now what if we took it a step further. What if everyone that your friend told (through their referral link), who also purchased, what if you got another $3? I'm reminded of Egypt, for some reason :) Would the idea of having another tier of rewards be cool, or would it feel again like it was tainting the word of mouth? Making it to where you didn't want to talk about YNAB because you didn't want to be a salesperson at that point, and the reward would turn you into a salesperson instead of just a friend that found something cool?

EDIT: the former paragraph no longer applies.

And on to the administrative side of things.

I don't know how excited I can get about writing hundreds of checks for $7 (and mailing them!). What would you think if we just sent the referral award through Paypal? I know some people love Paypal and use it all the time (about 1/3 of our customers do), and some portion of you are probably actively involved in IHatePaypal.com :)

The administrative side is less important than the first stuff.

ANOTHER EDIT: Okay, remove the $7 paid to the referrer for a second. What if you had just bought the program a week ago, and then we sent you an email saying, "Hey, give this to any of your friends for $[x] off!" Would you feel miffed that you perhaps just paid full price five days ago, but didn't get it for $[x] off?

--

So, synopsis. Would offering some type of reward for your word of mouth efforts make you want to share YNAB more, less, or the same? Be honest! :)
Post edited by Unknown User on

Comments

  • virago317virago317 Posts: 513Member, Beta Tester
    Too much like Egypt for me... :) I would never try to sell YNAB to any of my friends/coworkers, although I do mention it (glowingly) whenever the subject of budgeting comes up.
  • Turf_HackerTurf_Hacker Posts: 5,284Member, Moderator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
    I would still promote YNAB as I do now, but a referral fee would be a nice sweetener.

    Cool as I think it would be to profit from the work of others, I think the best bet would be to only have the one level. If I refer somebody and they refer somebody else, I don't really feel I should get anything. Feels too much like MLM to me... :D

    I don't really use Paypal much, but you could have some policy that you send checks out once a month or once a quarter. That would allow you to consolidate the referral bonuses and print/sign fewer checks (at least potentially!).
  • Maggie MagpieMaggie Magpie Posts: 402Member
    I'd prefer being able to give discounts to those I refer....I'm never comfortable when there's something in it for me unless I had a blog or online marketing program. But in person, I'd rather say, "Use code: YNABsavesin2011 and you'll get $10 off plus they'll extend your trial to 30 days." type of thing. Or for your own marketing purposes, use unique codes to measure "where/who" and "timeframes". For instance, discount promos during New Years resolution time may not be as necessary to motivate sales as they would during the June or July timeframes.
  • nibonibo Posts: 186Member
    I am all for the first tier of referral discount and spiff. But of course I would still keeping praising the worth of YNAB without it. :) But it would be nice to have a coffee due to YNAB referrals every once in a while.

    Paypal is the easiest for sure, but like Turfhacker said, why not wait till a certain $ amount is hit or a date. Makes it easier for everyone involved and takes a bit of the salesperson edge off of it.
  • BearmouseBearmouse Posts: 58Member
    jesse wrote:
    Would offering some type of reward for your word of mouth efforts make you want to share YNAB more, less, or the same?


    IMO, YNAB sells itself!!! I have touted YNAB to all my friends including in my last Toastmasters speech on preparing for retirement :D. I personally don't need cash to continue my word of mouth.

    I am a System Administrator with a programming background so it was fairly easy for me to learn ins and outs of the software. In reflecting on some of the difficulties I have dealt with training new software to users in my job, I know some people need more time to really grasp a program. Some people are just not comfortable with learning new software and feel intimidated by it. I don't feel 1 week trial is enough for these people.

    I guess my question to you Jesse is: Do you really need to give out $$ as spiff ? That in of itself is a big overhead and can be a hassle for YNAB. I really like the idea of extending the trial to 30 days for referees so they can get a better feel for the program and learn the philosophy of YNAB as well. Now that I could sell, "Hey, here's a program I love and you get to use it FREE for 30 days because you are my friend!!" Maybe a discount on their purchase with a code, that way you aren't sending out checks with all the overhead etc.

    Thank you for developing a great tool!!
    Bearmouse
  • jessejesse Posts: 3,246Member, Moderator, Administrator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
    So a person wouldn't feel burned if, once they purchased for full price, we sent out a link they could give to their friends for cheaper than they just paid? (Playing devil's advocate a bit here.)

    And yeah, we will be extending the trial period to 30 days regardless of referral. It's just something we're trying to time with the next update basically.
  • JoelJoel Posts: 9,544Member, Beta Tester, Beta Moderator
    I like the idea of $7 for me, and $7 for them referral system. Similar to how Dish network lets you refer new customers. Paypal would definitely work, or if they want a check, make it a minimum amount of say $20?

    Also, I like the idea of for the second-layer as well... Can't say I would complain if I received an extra $3 for referring someone who referred someone!
  • PatzerPatzer Posts: 3,793Member, Beta Tester
    I don't like selling stuff. THBS, I do tell people I use YNAB. I don't push it. Once, I was asked if there was a referral discount; there was not at the time.

    I'd like to be able to tell people to use this link/code to get $X off or an extended free trial. If you want to send me $X too, I'll take it; but that wouldn't be my motivation. I'd prefer that there not be a second-layer reward (the $3 in your example), because that sounds too much like Multi Level Marketing. Any association with MLM would, in my mind at least, degrade your credibility.

    BWDIK? I'm pretty good at figuring out what the budgeting system does, but I'm a lousy salesman and marketer.

    Patzer
  • only120xsonly120xs Posts: 161Member
    Tier 1 ($7 to referrer and referee) sounds good. Definite "No" to tier 2 MLM thing.

    Edited for clarification.
  • caligulalacaligulala Posts: 1,564Member, Beta Tester
    I think this is a great idea. I will freely admit that I am a great salesperson and since I've been selling YNAB for free for the last year because I love it so much, I totally wouldn't mind a little commission. Regardless of a referral program, I'll keep talking it up because I think it can help a lot of people I know as much as it helped me.

    A second tier of payout screams pyramid scheme and would make me wary as a potential new user.

    Quarterly payouts, like Ebates' system, would probably be the simplest system.
  • TrevorTrevor Posts: 717Member, Beta Tester
    I'm of mixed feeling on this. I have boasted about YNAB to friends and family, but I don't know how I would work the code gracefully into the conversation without sounding like a salesperson. If I don't tell them about the code up front, then they may just buy it on a impulse. Seems like the sort of thing that lends itself to internet communication and not verbal.

    If I ran a budgeting blog of some sort then it would be a nice money making tool to include a link on the site.

    I also wonder if someone joins the board to ask pre-purchase questions about YNAB, how many people will respond, I don't know, but if you buy it, use my code.
  • only120xsonly120xs Posts: 161Member
    Trevor wrote:
    I'm of mixed feeling on this. I have boasted about YNAB to friends and family, but I don't know how I would work the code gracefully into the conversation without sounding like a salesperson. If I don't tell them about the code up front, then they may just buy it on a impulse. Seems like the sort of thing that lends itself to internet communication and not verbal.

    Many places do something similar. I typically say something like "If you're interested, let me know and I can get you a referral code to save you a couple bucks."
  • sarahs219sarahs219 Posts: 165Member
    So a person wouldn't feel burned if, once they purchased for full price, we sent out a link they could give to their friends for cheaper than they just paid? (Playing devil's advocate a bit here.)

    Not at all, b/c you are getting the discount too although much later but still money back none the less. I've told a few friends about it, and I have a few in mind to tell about it in the near future. I'm still a newbie, so I want to get a little more comfortable before spreading it around. Knowing my friends they would come to me with every question when they start it, despite the boards...

    I definitely wouldn't mind $7 for leading a friend to the program. I agree with the quarterly payments system too.
  • WairereRoseWairereRose Posts: 5,842Member, Beta Tester
    Patzer wrote:
    I don't like selling stuff. THBS, I do tell people I use YNAB. I don't push it. Once, I was asked if there was a referral discount; there was not at the time.

    I'd like to be able to tell people to use this link/code to get $X off or an extended free trial. If you want to send me $X too, I'll take it; but that wouldn't be my motivation. I'd prefer that there not be a second-layer reward (the $3 in your example), because that sounds too much like Multi Level Marketing. Any association with MLM would, in my mind at least, degrade your credibility.

    BWDIK? I'm pretty good at figuring out what the budgeting system does, but I'm a lousy salesman and marketer.

    Patzer


    Jesse - my sentiments are pretty much exactly what Patzer said.
  • maryeamaryea Posts: 587Member
    Patzer wrote:
    I don't like selling stuff. THBS, I do tell people I use YNAB. I don't push it. Once, I was asked if there was a referral discount; there was not at the time.

    I'd like to be able to tell people to use this link/code to get $X off or an extended free trial. If you want to send me $X too, I'll take it; but that wouldn't be my motivation. I'd prefer that there not be a second-layer reward (the $3 in your example), because that sounds too much like Multi Level Marketing. Any association with MLM would, in my mind at least, degrade your credibility.

    BWDIK? I'm pretty good at figuring out what the budgeting system does, but I'm a lousy salesman and marketer.

    Patzer

    What Patzer said.
  • litterbuglitterbug Posts: 3,636Member, Beta Tester
    maryea wrote:
    What Patzer said.
    Ayup.
  • MalisaMalisa Posts: 6,136Member, Moderator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
    maryea wrote:
    What Patzer said.

    That's almost always a good thing to say.
  • maryeamaryea Posts: 587Member
    malisab wrote:
    maryea wrote:
    What Patzer said.

    That's almost always a good thing to say.

    You're right! :D
  • jessejesse Posts: 3,246Member, Moderator, Administrator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
    I guess I should have just PMd Patzer :)
  • litterbuglitterbug Posts: 3,636Member, Beta Tester
    jesse wrote:
    I guess I should have just PMd Patzer :)
    But then you wouldn't know how many of us agree with Patzer and have nothing original to say! :mrgreen:
  • brown685brown685 Posts: 496Member, Beta Tester
    I would just like to say I think Patzer sells himself short on the marketing and sales side. I personally think he has caused the sale of more copies of YNAB than most of us combined. Of course many of those were not direct sales, or referrals. How many of us bought YNAB during the trial, because of something Patzer said?

    A good sales man moves product. A great sales man helps solve the customer's problems.

    As for the referral system, I would prefer just a discount. Maybe a free phone app for those who give referrals.

    James
  • PatzerPatzer Posts: 3,793Member, Beta Tester
    brown685 wrote:
    I would just like to say I think Patzer sells himself short on the marketing and sales side. I personally think he has caused the sale of more copies of YNAB than most of us combined. Of course many of those were not direct sales, or referrals. How many of us bought YNAB during the trial, because of something Patzer said?

    That's not sales, that's customer support. :mrgreen:

    Patzer
  • RodeoClownRodeoClown Posts: 3,833Member, Moderator, Administrator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester, Beta Moderator
    Patzer wrote:
    brown685 wrote:
    I would just like to say I think Patzer sells himself short on the marketing and sales side. I personally think he has caused the sale of more copies of YNAB than most of us combined. Of course many of those were not direct sales, or referrals. How many of us bought YNAB during the trial, because of something Patzer said?

    That's not sales, that's customer support. :mrgreen:

    Patzer

    Having worked with Mudie for the better part of a year now, I'd suggest that sales and customer support aren't so far apart as you might imagine :D
  • vespitovespito Posts: 132Member
    I'm for a split - $ for me and a discount for the purchaser. For reasons stated, a second level reward might not be the best idea. Still, the fact that we have all been using the product does provide a lot of credibility when we mention it. Also, I always bring up the forums when I mention the product. These forums lend a bit of appeal and credibility to the product.

    Personally, I've told my friends I use and love the product and leave it at that. If someone says they want to try the product, I would love to offer them a coupon. Still, I've had one friend purchase the product even without it.

    Bottom line - in the interest of trying to increase my income, I would love the chance to get a little extra cash. Will I change the way I talk about the product - nope, because nobody likes a pushy person.
Sign In or Register to comment.