Did you know that referrals are the best kind of leads you can get? According to Referral Factory data, on average, around 76% of customers are willing to refer a friend if they have had a good experience with your business.
This means that if you want to get more referrals, you have to get good at asking, it really is that simple!
Your referral program software should help you get your program up and running, but once it is, you’ll need to be strategic about how you ask and prompt your customers to refer. Actively promoting your referral program should be a key part of your marketing strategy this year, so to help you get that right we’ve compiled a list of effective way you can actively ask for referrals
If you’re still new to referral marketing then read this guide on how to create a referral program in 8 steps..
Here are 10 ways to promote your referral program…
1. Send personalized emails to your customer base
One of the most effective ways to ask for referrals is to send personalized emails to your customer base. You can use your referral software to do this, or an email marketing tool. Inform them that they can give their friends and family a discount, and when they do, they will get a reward. This works because you’re not asking them to ‘do sales’ for you, you’re offering them the opportunity to help a friend, which will motivate them more.
To make it more effective, you can segment your customer base by demographics and purchasing behavior. For example, if you sell a product that is popular among millennials, you can tailor your message to resonate with that audience. Also, make sure your email is visually appealing, easy to read, and has a clear call-to-action.
Here’s an example of an effective referral email:
Hi ‘Customer Name’,
We hope you’re enjoying our product/service. We wanted to let you know that you can share the love with your friends and family. When you refer someone to our business and they make a purchase, you’ll both receive a discount on your next purchase.
The person who refers the most people in a month, will win a basked of gift cards worth $500 too.
Simply share your unique referral link with your friends and family, and they’ll be able to redeem the discount at checkout. Plus, you’ll earn a discount for every referral you make.
It’s a win win!
Thank you for being a loyal customer, and we can’t wait to see who you refer 😊
2. Advertise your referral program on your website or app
Another way you can safely ask for referrals is by advertising your referral program on your website or in your app. This means people will be prompted to refer when they are interacting with your brand, because they have been promoted during their customer journey. Make sure your referral program is easy to find (on your website or app), and also that it’s easy to understand.
You can also use social proof by showcasing the number of referrals that have been made and the rewards earned.
Here’s an example of how you can promote your referral program on your website:
This could navigate people to a page where they can join your referral program. Using Referral Factory you can create a join page, saying something like this: “Refer a friend and you’ll both earn rewards! Share your unique referral link with your friends and family, and when they make a purchase, you’ll both receive a a reward. Register to start referring now!”
Here are some examples:
3. Include your customers’ referral link on all of your customer communication
The third way you can ask for referrals is to include your customers’ referral link on all of your customer communication. This can be in your email signature (with a link to join your referral program), on your invoices (showing their unique referral link), or in your product packaging. By subtly reminding them to refer with every interaction, you increase the chances of them actually referring someone.
To make it more enticing, make sure your referral program has a great offer for the person they are inviting. This way, they are more motivated to share their referral link with their network.
Here’s an example of how you can include your referral link in your email signature:
“Love our product/service? Share the love with your friends and family and earn rewards! Register to get your unique referral link and start referring now.”
4. Send out a quarterly leaderboard email of your top referrers
The fourth way you can ask for referrals is by sending out a quarterly leaderboard email of your top referrers. This leverages social proof to tell people that others are doing this and they should too. By showcasing your top referrers and the rewards they have earned, you can motivate others to refer more.
To make it more effective, you can also offer a bonus reward for the top referrer of the quarter or give them special recognition on your social media channels. This way, they feel appreciated and motivated to continue referring.
Here’s an example of how you can send out a quarterly leaderboard email:
“Congratulations to our top referrers of the quarter! Thank you for spreading the word and helping us grow our business. As a token of our appreciation, we’re offering a bonus reward to our top referrer!
5. Advertise your referral program on your physical and digital assets
Create QR codes that people can scan to join your referral program, and stick them up in your physical locations. On employee cards, on your retail store walls, on the eating tables if you’re a coffee shop, or in the waiting area if you’re in the type of business that offers one-on-one consultations. The best time to ask people to refer your business is when your brand is top of mind – so be sure to advertise your referral program in every physical location you have!
6. Get all your employees to advertise your referral program in their email signatures
Your employees spend all day talking to your customers, suppliers and their business network, so the perfect place to promote your referral program is right in their email signatures.
7. Generate referral links for all your CRM contacts
Make sure you generate referral links for all your CRM contacts, and sync their links back into your CRM. This means every customer touch point in future, is an opportunity to ask for a referral. Make sure your team is trained to know how to quickly access each customers referral link in your CRM, when they find the opportunity to ask for a referral.
8. Embed your referral program in all your blog posts
if you work hard to create great content that people will find when searching the web, then it makes sense to embed your referral program into your blog posts that recieve the most traffic. When you get new blog readers that are already interested in your niche, that is a perfect opportunity to prompt them to refer friends too.
9. Find micro-influencers to join your referral program:
If you already have an active referral program you might want to consider broadening the reach of your referrers, one to do this is to approach micro-influencers to start speaking about your brand. A micro-influencer is any social media profile with 1000 to 5000 followers. You’ll only want to approach influencers that are already talking about your niche online. Some (relevant) micro influencers may be interested in promoting your product or service, and if they join your referral program you’ll be able to automatically track if they successfully drive more sales to your business.
10. Make asking for referrals part of your sales and customer support process:
Let’s face it. The best response you’ll get to asking for referrals is doing it in a one-on-one way, after your customer has had a positive experience with your business. This could be in an email, or on the phone, or even better if it can be in person. Think about training your sales and support teams to actively ask their clients to refer. A small effort can go a long way, it takes more work and process to ask for referrals inn a one-on-way but the results are astounding if you can get it right!
Driving growth through referrals is also one of the most sustainable ways to grow your business. According to a study by the New York Times, referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value than non-referred customers. This is because referred customers are more likely to be loyal, have a higher retention rate, and are more likely to refer others.
“Referred leads also convert at a rate 2x higher than leads acquired through paid marketing channels. This means that not only are your customers more likely to refer their friends and family to your business, but those referrals are also more likely to become paying customers. This creates a positive cycle of growth for your business, as happy customers continue to bring in more happy customers.” – says Kirsty Sharman, founder of Referral Factory.
If you’re ready to launch your referral program and asking your happy customers to refer friends, you’ll need to find a referral platform that can help you build, launch, promote, and manage your referral program. Over the last decade we’ve seen huge growth in the tools available to build and manage your referral software program – as technology advances, and systems improve, you’re now able to do a whole lot more by using a plug and play referral solution. It just doesn’t make sense to hire a developer and build your own referral program anymore. You can get started using the top referral tools for as little as $95, and most of them offer a free trial too.
When choosing your referral program software you want to consider a few basics: ease of use, access to referral program templates, great integrations, tools to promote your referral program, a dynamic range of incentive and reward options, referral tracking and analytics dashboards.
Some examples of referral program softwares you can consider are Referral Factory, Tapfiliate, Viral Loops, Friend Buy, Everflow, or Mention Me.
referral software to use in 2023
See how other businesses are driving growth through referrals…
Data collected by Referral Factory’s top 1000 referral programs in 2022 showcases one simple message.
Referral marketing works.
If you actively promote your referral program, and ask your customers to refer, the results can be astounding. The below table will show you how brands across various industries accelerated their customer acquisition by launching a referral program.
The crypto industry saw the highest ‘average referrals per user’ when launching a referral program, in some cases managing to double the size of their community over night by asking their crypto community to share their referral links across Twitter, Telegram and Discord.
Another industry that generally sees a high referral rate is Education, Beauty & Lifestyle, and SaaS. This is because it’s particularly easy to prompt people to refer, and the buyers of these kinds of products are highly likely to know others who would buy too.
Below is an example of a crypto referral program, if you’re interested in crypto then you might be interested in these posts:
👉 How to grow your community through referrals
👉 How to launch a Discord referral program
This popular crypto currency brand ran a referral promotion for a few months, offering tokens to the people would would actively recommend their coin to friends.
What to remember when planning your referral program strategy…
It’s important to remember that building a successful referral program takes time and effort. You’ll need to create a compelling incentive for your customers to refer their friends, of a great reward for doing so, and you’ll also need to make it easy for them to share their referral links with friends.
You’ll also need to set up your referral tracking before your campaign launches. It’s important to track the results early, so you can make optimizations if you need to. If you use plug and play referral software to build and manage your referral program, tracking should be automatically set up for you.
Most importantly – you need to plan how you can actively promote your referral program, and incentivize your customers to keep referring. Use the ten tactics listed above to actively advertise your referral program to recruit more people to refer, and remind those that are already enrolled in your program.
Even though setting up a referral program requires time and effort, it’s important to remember that a successful referral program can be significant, both in terms of new customers acquired and increased loyalty from your existing customers. Just remember that building your referral program is only step one, but step two is actually the most important as that is when you have to promote your referral program.
How powerful can referral marketing be?
To illustrate the power of referral marketing, let’s take a look at two successful companies who have used this strategy to drive their lead generation: Tesla and Revolut.
Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, launched a referral campaign that rewarded both the referrer and the referred with a variety of incentives, such as free supercharging, exclusive events, and even a chance to win a free Tesla Roadster. By leveraging their existing customer base to spread the word about their products, Tesla has been able to generate a significant amount of buzz and attract new customers.
Similarly, Revolut, the digital banking app, has grown rapidly thanks in part to a referral program that rewards users with cash bonuses for referring friends and family. By making it easy for their customers to share the app with others and incentivizing them to do so, Revolut has been able to acquire new customers at a low cost.
Revolut invited their customer base, employees, and affiliate network to participate in their referral campaign. This is how they managed to get so many people actively referring their friends to this new digital banking app.
But referral marketing isn’t just for big companies like Tesla and Revolut. Small local businesses can also benefit from this strategy by offering incentives for their existing customers to refer new business.
For example, a local restaurant could offer a free appetizer or dessert to customers who refer friends or family who come in and dine. A hair salon could offer a discount on services for both the referrer and the referred. By tapping into their existing customer base and incentivizing them to spread the word about their business, small local businesses can drive growth by launching a referral program too.
The exciting news is that this marketing strategy is not longer just for tech startups! With the rise of referral software and affiliate tools that offer ‘no code’ solutions – it’s now possible for businesses of any size to build and launch their own customer referral programs, without writing a line of code.
What are the advantages of using referral program software?
Launching a referral program can be a game-changer for your marketing efforts, but how do you actually generate referral links for your customers to share without hiring a developer?
The answer is no-code referral software. These kinds of tools allow you create all the pages, links, and elements for your referral program without writing a line of code. Some of the advantages of using referral program software over building your own custom referral solution are:
1. You’ll save time : by using a plug and play solution, you’ll get most of the features you need to successfully run a referral program out of the box. You won’t have to build anything from scratch. This means you can get your referral campaigns up and running in days, not weeks.
2. You’ll save money : hiring developers to build every element of your referral program can get expensive fast, and you’ll have to build : landing pages, user tracking, referral link generator [link], email notifications, widgets to promote your referral program, and more. By opting for a no-code referral software you’ll get all these elements out of the box, think of it like leasing them rather than buying them.
3. Built in tracking and referral analytics : tracking the success of your referral program is extremely important, but it takes time to configure and setup your tracking from scratch. If you find referral software with analytics built in, you’re off to a great start!
4. Built-in promotional tools : most plug and play solutions offer a wide range of tools to promote your referral program – things like website widgets, pop ups, and tools to email your customer base directly and ask them for referrals.
In this article we talk about the features to look for in your referral software.
Examples of programs built using referral program software
Optimus referral program (B2C education industry)
Refer a friend and get a discount on your next course, the friend you refer will get a discount too. A classic double sided referral program in the education sector.
Angels Cafe And Cooking School referral program (B2C food and beverage industry)
A simple invite program that lets you offer your friend a coupon if they try the home cooking service. Having a great incentive for the person invited (like a coupon for a free meal), was key to their winning referral strategy.
Ourbus referral program (B2C travel industry)
Another double sided referral program that lets you get $15 credit, when you give $15 credit. People love to talk about their travel experiences so asking them to include a referral link in their posts is a winning strategy.
Radius referral program (B2C Insurance industry)
A classic give and get. In times of economic recession, people need basics more than luxuries. This is why Radius used a reward and an incentive that would encourage their customers to give their friends a free tank of fuel. Give £50, get £50.
iKhokha (B2B Online industry)
A B2B referral program where businesses had the opportunity to help other business owners succeed. Businesses owners received a R500 cash back reward for referring other entrepreneurs to switch to iKhoKha for all their payment processing needs. In addition to the lowest transaction fees in town, new businesses receive a 10% discount on their card machine plus a chance to apply for funding after three months.
Auspac Solar referral program (B2C and B2B Solar industry)
A big reward for a big referral. Get $250 for every friend you refer that installs a solar panel off the back of your referral.
What are the main factors that influence how many referrals you can generate?
The four biggest factors that influence how many referrals you can generate from your referral program are:
1. How good your incentive is – a great incentive means people feel comfortable promoting your business to their friends, because they can say ‘Hey, use my link and you’ll get a free coffee’. Essentially the person referring feels like they are helping their friend out with a cool offer, and then of course, they get a reward if their friend buys. Prioritizing the incentive over the reward is one of the most underutilized strategies when it comes to designing your referral program. If you want to make sure your referral program gets high engagement – then make sure you have a killer offer for your referrers to share with their friends.
2. How big your base of customers and fans is – essentially this is the pool of people you have to ask for referrals – the more people you have to ask for referrals, the more referrals your program will generate. So, if you’re sitting on a large base of customers or fans and you aren’t asking them to refer friends – you’re missing out on a golden marketing opportunity. Oh and it’s important to note that you can also bring your partner program into your pool of referrers, if you have businesses already promoting you then they should be enrolled in your referral program too.
3. How much people love your product or service – this one is impossible to fake, you just have to be a valuable business if you want to get referrals. If you offer value to your customers, and great service, you’ll find they will be so happy to tell their friends, family and network about you. Make sure you keep your reputation in check, so that once you launch your referral program you can give yourself the best chance of success.
4. What referral marketing platform you choose to build and promote your referral program – we have written a full guide on the features to look for in your referral software here [link].
In conclusion, referral marketing is a powerful strategy that can help businesses of all sizes acquire new customers and grow their revenue and profit. Referred customers buy sooner, spend more, and stay longer. If you have a great business and you launch a referral program, your customers will be likely to participate, and if they do you’ll be able to supercharge your growth in a whole new way!
So… what are you waiting for?
Calculate how many referrals you can get by launching a referral program
Based on the number of people you have to ask for referrals (these people could be customers, fans, or employees), you can calculate how many referrals you can get by launching a referral program – use this referral calculator to do estimate how many referrals you could get 👇