92% people trust recommendations from friends and family more than all other forms of marketing.
So it makes sense to focus your promotional activities on word-of-mouth advertising for your business.
Enter referral programs.
How to start a referral program that works
If you want to attract customers with a referral program, you’re going to first and foremost need to provide service that is worthy of being gossiped about.
Which means, you’re going to need to be awesome so that people start gossiping – in a very good way – about you.
This article by TalkDesk provides 14 techniques to provide awesome service.
Design an actual referral program
Don’t simply assume your customers are going to tell others about you. Instead, in order for a referral program to actually work, it has to be by design.
Referral program ideas
Idea 1: Join up with other health and wellness providers, but make sure that they are not your direct competitors. If you’re a chiropractor, you could join up with a dietitian. You could refer your patients to them and vice versa.
Idea 2: When you get a new customer, find out if someone referred them to you. Then make a point of at least thanking them. You may want to give them a token thank you gesture, like 10% off their next treatment or a small gift.
This will only encourage them to refer more people to you.
Idea 3: For customers who don’t refer, find other ways to “use” them. For instance, get them to write a testimonial for you.
Idea 4: If you send out newsletters, ask your subscribers to pass on the information by forwarding the email to their friends and family.
Make it easy for them to do so by adding a forward email link (you can check how to do this with your email marketing provider).
Idea 5: You could even add your LinkedIn profile link to your emails and say something like, “if you have benefited from the information in this email, please be so kind as to pass my profile on to someone who may appreciate my help”.
Idea 6: You could add a section in your emails that if they refer someone to you, they get something in return. And then make sure that happens.
Idea 7: Add “referrals appreciated” on your business card or emails or marketing materials. Sometimes people just need a little nudge.
Idea 8: Offer an 3) affiliate program.
Idea 9: Create an actual referral program and design it so that if one of your customers refers someone to your business, they get something of real value for them. Be creative. The key is to give them something they will appreciate, not simply the standard bottle of wine or a pen.
Idea 10: Ask your social media followers to refer their contacts to you. On Twitter, you can ask them to retweet something. On Facebook, you can ask them to share a post.
Idea 11: Make it easy for people to refer you. Give them the tools they need. Suggestions can be an e-book, testimonials or a landing page.
Idea 12: If you have a website, you can use Internet applications like 4)Expect Referrals or 5)Invite Box.
Here’s a list of 25 more 6)referral program applications you can use if you have a website.
With a bit of creativity and quiet time, you can develop many ways to attract customers with a referral program.
It’s a good idea to remember that those who send customers your way are acting as representatives of your business, and you wouldn’t get more business if it wasn’t for them, so be sure to thank them in a way that is meaningful to them.