Implement a powerful ‘refer a friend’ program, and turn every visitor of your site into a valuable marketing tool. Encourage valued customers to share your website with their friends or online social media networks at the touch of a button. ‘Refer-a-friend’ programs deliver a new customer acquisition, customer retention, and marketing strategy for your business, and are one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to ensure that more people engage with your business.
Though in a perfect world, clients could simply refer friends to your site out of pure satisfaction with the services you provide them, in practice, this strategy is never as feasible as it seems. Between your customer’s hectic work schedules and continuous list of social and family obligations, your marketing strategy is the last thing on their minds. Besides delivering a quality product (which you have already spent years developing), your best bet to get your customers to care about spreading word of your business is to make the referral process easy and relevant for them. With killer referral incentives, like free products and major discounts, you can turn your customers into your biggest brand ambassadors. Similarly, a great rewards program is a hassle free, tried and tested way of ensuring that your customers help get the word of your business to larger audiences.
Specifically, referral programs act as systematic ways of getting people to make referrals to your business. Referral programs rely on the concept of “word-of-mouth marketing,” essentially rewarding existing customers for encouraging new patrons to shop with your business. Modern referral programs, or a ‘refer a friend’ programs, use software to track referrals made by customer “brand ambassadors” through either a referral code, a rewards card, or a referral link. Depending on the campaign, customers will usually receive some kind of referral bonus or benefit when they refer friends. Referral marketing software automates the payout of these referral rewards, thus creating a natural word-of-mouth marketing experience for your brand, all tracked accurately and efficiently using software. Business logic dictates that the best way to bring in new customers to your business is to first focus on making use of your satisfied customers. Rather than offering cash rewards or gifts in hopes that your customers will refer a friend to your shop, you can do a little bit of planning to set up a referral program for your customers that works and can be monitored.
Here are some important things to acknowledge before implementing your business’s dream ‘refer a friend’ program.
Get Clear about Your Goals before creating a complex ambassador program or launching marketing campaigns (of any kind) - It is important to be clear about what your goals are for the program. This will help you use your advertising budget most effectively and will guide you as you brainstorm referral-marketing ideas.
Make a List of Your Existing Customer Referral Sources - Referral sources are your happy customers, friends and family. They are your biggest advocates and will be the lifeblood of your referral-marketing program. Make a list of all of these groups and how you can easily connect them.
Make an Outreach Plan where you can contract your list of customer referral sources - Effective outreach will rarely be as simple as sending a blast email with a generic referral incentive to a large group of previously satisfied customers. Relatively new customers, should not receive emails about your reward program right after their first purchase. In addition, close friends and family may not need an incentive at all! The types of referral programs that you use will highly depend on your list, so plan accordingly.
Determine the Referral Incentives You’ll Offer - Though cash incentives likely seem like, they will get the biggest draw out of your existing customer base, play around with other incentives (like business coupons or vouchers), and determine which is most effective for you.
Tell Your Customers About the program once you have settled on your referral lists and your incentives – It’s time to get people to spread the word about both your brand and your rewards! There are many different ways to do those, each of which brings in a different segment of customers.
Track Referrals and Rewards - In order to run a successful rewards program, you need to keep track of all of the referrals being made. You must keep track of who referred whom, the date they were referred, and how rewards will be distributed.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with a referral program software, like CReferral, that can automate your business’s ‘refer a friend’ program accurately and effectively. That system not only facilitates the reward within your shop but also provides valuable insights into how successful (or unsuccessful) your program is with certain audiences.