How B2B Companies Can Utilize Influencer Referral Programs

Posted by Kevin Yun | Feb 11, 2022

Cover Image Source: Pixabay

What’s the difference between Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies? Of course, one could say the products they sell and their target customers. One could and should also say the way they approach marketing.

How well B2B and B2C businesses market relies on careful consideration of their tactics. For example, B2C companies make great use of influencer marketing. Reviews made by their favorite influencers draw consumers in. They inspire them to buy from a business or learn more.

B2B companies don’t see results as fast with influencer marketing, nor do they use it as much. Yet, it's gaining traction because of the results B2C companies are generating.

You can leverage word-of-mouth marketing through influencers with a few strategy adjustments and a solid referral program.    

In this article, you’ll learn six specific ways B2B companies can use influencer referral programs. But first, what are the benefits of B2B influencer marketing?

The Benefits of B2B Influencer Marketing 

The benefits of B2B influencer marketing are significant. Five of the main advantages of B2B influencer marketing are: 

  • Drive brand and business awareness — influencer marketing is influential in driving brand awareness. When an influencer promotes a product or service, it causes people to want to learn more.   
  • Leverage an already engaged audience — if you’re a new B2B business, it's challenging to get the reach you want right away. With influencer marketing, you can leverage a ready-made, already engaged audience.  
  • Gain trust — Influencer marketing can help B2B companies gain trust with their customers and confidence in the industry.
  • Tap into a new part of your target audience — Working with an influencer can help you reach a part of your target audience you weren’t targeting before.
  • Learn more about your products and services — Influencer marketing leads to lots of feedback. As a result, you can learn more about your products and services and what adjustments you should make.  

It's also important to note the differences between B2B and B2C influencer marketing.

How B2B Influencer Marketing Differs From B2C Influencer Marketing 

Here are a few differences to note between B2B influencer marketing and B2C influencer marketing: 

  • There are more people involved in the decision-making process for B2B companies. So, it will take longer to get sales or conversions with influencer marketing. B2C companies usually experience faster results.
  • B2B and B2C customer bases differ. Influencer marketing campaigns for B2B companies must focus on sharing business results. B2C companies focus on the emotional connection with their customers in their campaigns.
  • The type of influencers B2B companies use differ from those that B2C companies use. B2B companies focus on influencers that have industry expertise. B2C companies use influencers with a positive reputation and connection with their audience.

Here are some specifics about influencer referral programs.

What is An Influencer Referral Program, and How Can It Boost Influencer Marketing?

An influencer referral program is a program that rewards influencers for promoting a product or service. For example, it rewards influencers for sales made through referral links or discount codes. You can also reward the traffic they drive to your website or blog, email list sign-up, or another landing page. 

A referral program can boost a B2B company’s influencer marketing strategy. You can inspire influencers to promote your product or service over the competition with an excellent incentive.

Now, let’s look at specific ways B2B companies can use influencer referral programs.

Six Ways B2B Companies Can Use Influencer Referral Programs 

B2B companies can use influencer referral programs in the following six ways: 

Promote a specific event 

Influencer referral programs are an excellent opportunity to promote a specific company event. You can work with influencers that have been to the event in the past or may be interested in attending a new B2B event. The incentive in your referral program could be tickets to the event. You could also ask them to speak at the event to grow their following and industry reputation.

Optimize conversion rates

One of the main benefits of B2B influencer marketing is its impact on conversion rates. Some of the most notable conversions B2B companies want are:

  • Signing up for the company email list 
  • Visiting the latest landing page and completing the action there
  • Becoming a part of their social media following
  • Completing a purchase
  • Scheduling a demo or consultation 
  • Setting up a meeting with decision-makers
  • Driving traffic to the company website or blog  

Optimizing conversion rates is critical. It means increased profitability and company growth. In addition, you can use incentives in your referral program to drive conversions.  

Build brand awareness 

B2B companies can also use influencer referral programs to bring awareness to their brand, who’s behind it, and their offerings.

According to recent B2B influencer marketing statistics, “84% of B2B marketers work with influencers to create brand awareness.” 

It can take a while to get a sale from a B2B customer. So, B2B companies can leverage influencer referral programs to build brand awareness by offering free products in exchange for honest reviews. As a result, not only will customers learn about your brand, but they’ll also start to see you as a top choice in your niche.

Bring awareness to a cause or movement 

Have a specific cause or mission you want to bring awareness to? Influencer marketing can be influential in this regard.

More and more customers want to support businesses that commit to social responsibility. You can use influencer marketing referral programs to find customers that align with your cause. The incentive in your referral program could be a donation to your cause.

Customers who align with your cause or movement will engage more with your brand. Influencers who align with your cause or movement will also be more inclined to promote your products over the competition. This is because they get to make that extra contribution to something they support.

Grow your professional network 

You can also grow your professional network with influencer referral programs. You can persuade top-notch influencers to work with your brand with the right referral program. You’ll develop your professional network with influencers that are industry experts. This will also open up more opportunities to meet B2B professionals.

Drive traffic to a website or blog 

Influencer referral programs can also drive traffic to your website or blog. For example, you can create a page on your website about your referral program and drive traffic to your website that way. This will help attract more potential influencers to work with. You can also cite driving more website traffic as the purpose of your influencer marketing campaign.

How to Create an Influencer Referral Program 

Ready to create an influencer referral program? Here are four tips to consider: 

Consider the risks associated with B2B influencer marketing 

First, consider the risks of implementing an influencer marketing strategy in your business.

For instance, B2B business owners are concerned about how social media influencers tend to overshare. They’re also concerned with how an influencer’s wrong move can affect their reputation.

To avoid the adverse effects of improper social media use, take your time choosing influencers. Also, use an influencer contract to know what’s expected in the relationship, what’s appropriate, and what’s not.

Know how influencer marketing fits into your overarching marketing strategy 

How does influencer marketing fit into your overarching marketing strategy? How will it help you connect with your customers better? How will it help you achieve specific business goals? You should have satisfactory answers to these questions before moving forward.

Consider who your ideal influencer is when choosing an incentive

B2B companies that use industry experts as their influencers have the best success. The influencers you work with should have industry prominence, specific expertise with B2B products, and some interest in your brand.

Just like you would create a buyer persona to map out the details of an ideal customer, you should put together an ideal influencer profile. Research them in detail. Once you do that, you can consider who they are, how they think, and their interests to choose the best incentive for your referral program.

Outline your referral program and create a marketing strategy for it

With your incentive in mind, outline the rest of your referral program. Document the following for your program:

  • Incentive
  • Product or service to be promoted 
  • Goals for the program 
  • Program messaging
  • Rules for the program 
  • Eligibility requirements  

Also, create a marketing strategy for your referral program. How are you going to present the program to potential influencers? What digital and offline marketing tactics will you use? What platforms will you use to roll out the program? What’s the launch date? What’s the plan for a continuous influencer referral program?


B2B companies can use influencer referral programs just as B2C companies do. The approach to influencer marketing may differ a bit, but the benefits are there.

So, it’s worth learning the ins and outs of influencer marketing and how to create a referral program that entices potential influencers.

Use the tips above to build an influencer referral program that boosts your influencer marketing efforts and grows your B2B marketing strategy overall.

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