Everflow Case Study: Getting Referrals with East 5th Avenue

Getting partners to send referrals often requires a full-time person tasked with keeping the wheels constantly oiled and moving. What if there is an easier way to make these referrals happen? East 5th Avenue has cracked the code by building a culture that actively cultivates and enhances its referrals through a virtuous cycle of connections.
Michael Cole
March 29, 2023

Here is a foolproof way to grow your business: Partner with a non-competitive company that has customers similar to yours, and exchange every single customer with each other. Boom! You’ve doubled your reach! 

Tragically, it often ends up being much harder than that. Getting partners to send referrals often requires a full-time person tasked with keeping the wheels constantly oiled and moving. 

What if there is an easier way to make these referrals happen? To make leads flow naturally, like a waterfall after the first snow melt of spring. 

East 5th Avenue has cracked the code by building a culture that actively cultivates and enhances its referrals through a virtuous cycle of connections. I testify to this: We’ve received that sweet onrush of their referrals each and every month.

Their company culture promotes a ‘Go-Giver’ mentality which thrives on serving others and forging new connections. For us, this means being introduced to a lot of great opportunities, and for them, it creates an upward spiral that catapults their growth while providing value to everyone involved.

How to Make Everyone a Go Giver

The right company culture creates unquestionable advantages. It’s why small startups routinely crush large companies: The combination of passion, focus, and shared purpose lets them produce better offerings and faster. A powerful culture requires commitment and empowerment of the team to create shared experiences at every level of interaction with the company.

For East 5th Avenue, they pioneered their ‘Go-Giver’ culture internally, and then exported those principles through a challenge to their community. The literal “Go-Giver Challenge,”  wrapped up in July 2020 as a massive victory, broke down the keys to their own cultural success and empowered their community to drive referrals to them.

The genius of this challenge is that it creates a framework that teaches their community how easy it is to reciprocate. They’ve fostered an environment where referrals flow freely and organically. 

Inertia Kills Referrals

Building a culture of turning both your team and community into Go-Givers solves the challenge that giving referrals can feel unnecessarily difficult.

I’m sure that I’m not alone in that feeling of dread when staring at a list of contacts, day after day, that I’m supposed to introduce. That sinking feeling of guilt knowing that I could easily send out emails, and that burning desire to procrastinate further by doing anything else. 

If we break down to the why for this:

  1. I feel like it’s possible that I’m bothering the person I’m contacting.
  2. There isn’t any reason why it needs to be done urgently.
  3. I don’t want to derail existing conversations.

The good news is that we can take my failings as a human, sieve it through the ‘Go-Giver’ methodology, and produce some alchemical insights:

Is it really a bother?

If I’m being real, I don’t think I’ve ever received an introduction email from someone I know and then resented receiving that email. Sometimes the introduction isn’t relevant, but it’s always been painless to let them know why this type of referral isn’t a good fit. All of the emails I’ve despised receiving are from people I don’t know, that sent out emails without putting any effort into them.

Every chance to connect with peers opens up new opportunities. If you’re making an intro with good intentions, it’s likely they will appreciate it.

Don’t Delay, Act Now

Referrals are best made on a first spark of impulse. As soon as you think there is a fit between two acquaintances, send it out quickly. The longer you wait, the more making that introduction will feel like a burden, and the opportunity grows cold. 

East 5th credits their overall company success to creating connections by making introductions as soon as there is an opportunity. Their continual ability to drive powerful partnerships for their audience helps cement the confidence that they can deliver results as a paid agency as well.

If East 5th only made referrals that made them money, those referrals would rarely make them a good partner. By constantly making connections they’ve built a good cultural habit that consistently delivers value. 

Always Be Providing Value

If you make a warm intro that opens up opportunities for the other side, it triggers their desire for reciprocity. When you have ongoing conversations, sending them a valuable opportunity in a separate email thread helps strengthen the existing conversation. It establishes your legitimacy as someone who can open up new opportunities, further justifying the value of their time spent with you.

This is why the ‘Go-Giver’ strategy is so effective: East 5th is constantly creating a desire for reciprocity from everyone they connect with. They are constantly building a bigger and better community that gives back to each other, further strengthening both the individual and group value. Each act of giving creates more value for the group as a whole, and it creates an upward spiral for those involved. Check out their Affiliate Marketing Mastermind Community--called the Traffic Tribe and experience it for yourself.

Go-Givers Become Go-Getters

Some of this might sound like fluffy rah-rah talk, but the principles are sound and the results are stunning. Let’s revisit East 5th’s “Go-Giver Challenge” that asked their audience to make referrals to East 5th, while giving them the tools and principles for why they should do it.

The “Go-Giver Challenge” ran for 2 whole weeks (during peak COVID times) and drove results: 308 new warm B2B referrals. Enough new opportunities to build up several agencies around that amount of new prospects. An incredible result with minimal cost on their side, and more importantly the entire challenge primed their audience towards continued reciprocity.

For Everflow, East 5th has proven to be one of our best partnerships both in terms of new opportunities and on the strength of the relationship. This partnership provides value to East 5th for three reasons: 

That is the last piece of making these referrals. The referrer needs to have the confidence that the receiver both delivers value and is responsive to the opportunity. Referrals are always a two way street where both the giver and receiver have to make their best efforts to make the other side look and feel good with being involved. When both sides put in the work to make everything click, it’s the best marketing channel.


Who is East 5th Avenue:

East 5th Avenue is a boutique affiliate management training academy and recently retired agency that has served many influencers, major brands, direct response email marketers, and e-commerce companies. East 5th Avenue created the only comprehensive Affiliate Coaching and Certification Program -- the “Affiliate Accelerator” and the first Affiliate Management Mastermind Community -- called the “Traffic Tribe” focused on driving revenue and connections for companies looking to build, grow, or scale their in-house affiliate programs.

In the last three years alone, East 5th Avenue generated $67 million in agency affiliate revenue, over 8 million leads and $387 million in affiliate revenue for their coaching clients.

Their training and consulting has covered virtually every sector, from health and wellness to financial,  business opportunity, CBD, personal development, education, parenting and beyond and they have amassed a network of over 9,000 affiliate partners.

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