How to Build a Successful Referral Program

Referrals are the lifeblood of most businesses. A healthy referral program can increase sales by as much as 17%! Who doesn't want this kind of passive growth? The following are some tips for starting and maintaining a successful referral program that will pay dividends for years to come.

Know your Customer-

Before you begin any marketing campaign, you should have a good idea of who's attention you want to capture. In sales and marketing, a buyer persona will uncover and clarify who you want to engage and why it matters to both of you. To start your buyer persona, ask yourself these questions.

Who do I need to reach?

What do I have to offer?

Why should they care?

What's next?

You can find a full Buyer Persona worksheet here.

Try to limit your persona's to five. A good number is three; this will give you the ability to drill down and reach your audience on a more personal level.

Make It Easy-

The more comfortable you make it for your customers to send a referral, the more likely they will be to do it. Sharing a link is pretty straightforward, and the benefits are significant.

Make sure to be clear in your ask. Include these links for referrals in emails, blog articles, newsletters, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram. The more you vary your ask, the less likely your audience will be to get bored or worse annoyed with you. Make your requests, carefree, lighthearted, and fun.

Follow up and Give Thanks-

Make sure to follow up with the reward immediately after receiving a referral. Give thanks and get personal with a personalized email, thank you note, or even a call in appreciation. The awards do not have to be large and expensive, but the thank you should be heartfelt and sincere.

Level Up-

Making your referral program fun is the key to success. A way to make this fun is to hold contests for prizes besides the immediate reward. Instant rewards could include marketing swag, t-shirts, mugs, calendars, pens, etc. The number of referrals could also be the number of entries into a drawing for the big prize.

Here is an example of what this might look like:

One referral- Coffe mug- 1 entry for a Macbook Pro

Two referrals- T-shirt- 2 -entries for a MacBook Pro

Three referrals- Pen set- 3 entries for a Macbook Pro

Think of prizes that would make the customer interested in joining in and make it fun like a game!

Measure Results-

Knowing the outcome of your referral program is crucial to getting it right. A great referral program is not a set it and forget it type of application. Monitor the results and modify when necessary. Make sure to diversify and keep it interesting for your customers.

Include Employees and Vendors-

Who else could be sending customers your way? Employees know the business and feel like more fo a team when included in promotions. It makes good sense to reward them for helping to grow the business. You could keep the rewards uniform, or personalize them and break the employee rewards program apart from your customer base. Don't forget vendors who may be in contact with your customers as well. They will appreciate your acknowledgment and thanks for sending business to you as well.

A referral program that is personalized, consistent, and fun for your customers, employees, and vendors can be a great source of sales and a significant boost to your bottom line. If you want to know more about how to increase your sales click the link below.

Be Great,


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