How Harry's Used A Referral Program To Acquire 100k Emails In One Week
If you haven't heard of Harry's, they're a DTC company that launched in 2012.
They came into the game to compete with heavy hitters like Gillette and to fix a problem that the big razor companies created.
Over-paying for good razors.
What did Harry's do to fix the problem?
They made really good razors for a really good price.
But unlike the bullies running the schoolyard...
Harry's didn't have an audience and had to build one overnight.
And they did.
In exactly one week, Harry's acquired 100k emails!
What in the damn growth did they do?!?!
Let's break it down in simple steps...then dissect it:
1. They created a two-page micro-site
2. They ran Facebook ads to drive traffic to the squeeze page
3. They collected emails and emails only on the squeeze page.
4. After someone submitted their email, they were re-directed to a referral page.
5. On the referral page was a gamified referral program
- 100k emails
- 65K+ referrals
Now, let's dissect how you can replicate it.
So, Why Does This Even Work?
I've discussed this in previous newsletters but the "secret sauce" to Harry's pre-launch campaign was the use of a growth loop.
And most companies go wrong by only using a funnel to acquire new users.
The problem with a funnel is that the only way to get **more results** is to put in **more efforts** at the top.
With this, none of your efforts are reinvested to acquire more users.
This is the problem that a growth loop fixes.
Unlike a funnel, a growth loop focuses on compounding growth.
Andrew Chen defines loops as "closed systems where the inputs through some process generates more of an output that can be reinvested in the input."
Because of this, a growth loop defines how one group of new users will generate another group of new customers.
Resulting in, compounding growth.
In action, here's how Harry's growth loop worked:
What you'll notice is that the growth loop continues to feed itself.
For Harry's, this resulted in one user referring three on average.
Now, let's break it down piece step by step.
Let's Start With The Input
For this to work, Harry's had to get people on the email list.
So, they ran Facebook ads with the goal that each user they acquired via a Facebook ad would refer one of their friends.
This way if it cost $6 to acquire a subscriber, and that subscriber referred two people then the actual customer acquisition cost was $2.
With Harry's ad, they addressed the main problem people faced — expensive razors.
And left a little curiosity on the table by introducing why they started Harry's in the first place.
This makes the consumer aware that Harry's is the solution to this problem.
Plus, a bright orange background with a bright orange product image (color psychology) and Harry's whipped together an attention-grabbing ad.
Combined with the ad's copy and it's going to generate clicks.
Secondly, The Micro-Site
The micro-site consisted of two simple, but effective pages.
The squeeze page.
And the referral page.
Let's get into why they work so well.
The **Squeeze Page**
A squeeze page has one goal, and one goal only — and that's to collect email addresses.
No other links.
No other pages.
Just an email or an exit.
Because of this, the conversion rate is typically much higher than your traditional landing page.
Here's why it converted so well:
Headline: HARRY'S IS COMING ➡️ Curiosity inducing headline that lets you know something big is coming.
Subheadline: Respecting the face and wallet since like...right now ➡️ The subheadline introduces the mission and value proposition behind Harry's in a fun, playful, and authentic way.
Hero Product Image: Gives you a glimpse of the products to come and it compliments the headline and subheadline.
Call To Action: Step Inside ➡️ This ensures that when you give Harry's your email that you're getting exclusive access to something.
Above The Call To Action: Be The First To Know ➡️ This reinforces that there is a benefit to signing up.
Together, these elements are a recipe for a high-converting squeeze page.
And Here’s A Template For Your Landing Page
Use this template when your goal is to collect email addresses.
And The Referral Page
Once you submitted your email, you were redirected to this referral page.
And its brilliance lies within the gamification, product milestones, clarity, and friction-free referral process.
Here's Why This Generated Over 65k+ Referrals:
Headline: Invite Friends & Earn Product ➡️ Simple and clear value proposition.
Headline #2 and Imagery: Shaving Is Evolving ➡️ The headline introduces Harry's as the brand that's going to change shaving.
Subheadline: Share your unique link via email, Facebook or Twitter and earn Harry's goods for each friend that signs up ➡️ Gives you clear instructions
Referral Progress Bar: Friends Joined ➡️ Eliminates guess about how many people you referred and gamifies your progress.
Referral Milestones: Free Harry's Products ➡️ Gets you to use Harry's products without having to buy them
Generated Referral Link: Unique Link ➡️ Frictionless referral process
To me, the best part about this referral program was that it got Harry's products into the hands of consumers.
They got to use their shaving cream, handles, and blades without having to spend a dime.
This is a perfect tactic to convert a consumer from let's say a Gillette user to Harry's user.
Harry's eliminated all friction when you shared your unique link via social by creating a pre-populated message.
Let’s Bring It Home
Harrys reached 100,000 emails in one week by focusing on simplicity and compounded growth.Using a growth loop instead of a funnel provided the best return on their investment.
The referral program attributed to lower customer acquisition costs.
And because it is a closed system there was no need to exhaust additional resources to achieve better results.
Overall, the beauty of this growth loop is it prioritized simplicity and was designed to be interactive. Participants had measurable milestones to accomplish and auto-generated referral links made the entire process seamless.