8 Steps to Building a Powerful Referral Program

Referral applications are probably the most influential type of promoting that draws the perfect form of prospects – the kind of prospects that spend extra, keep longer, and refer different pals. Using a well-timed nudge and a straightforward approach to get individuals to refer their pals, referral applications get a advertising and marketing message from individual to individual in the easiest way we all know how – by way of phrase of mouth. 

We know that referred prospects are 18% extra loyal,  generate 16% extra income, and spend up to 13% extra simply because they have been referred by a pal. We additionally know that one completely happy buyer to unfold the phrase about your corporation can lead to 9 new buyer referrals. That’s nuts! 

So whether or not you intend on constructing your referral program with the assistance of in-house builders or opting to use off-the-shelf referral software program – this complete information will train you every little thing you want to find out about getting extra referrals flowing into your corporation. It’s been compiled by me, with the beneficiant assist of my crew at Referral Factory, after constructing and launching over 1000 referral applications in 2021. I hope it may be useful for you and your corporation  🚀

Right. Let’s get began! 


  1. Plan Your Referral Program
  2. Decide on The Reward and Incentive
  3. Building Your Campaign
  4. Make it Easy for People to Share Your Campaign
  5. Integrate Your Referral Campaign with Your Business
  6. Launch Your Referral Program
  7. Market Your Referral Campaign
  8. Track Your Referrals 

Step 1:  Plan Your Referral Program

The key to constructing a profitable referral marketing campaign begins with a clear plan. From setting objectives and outlining the way in which it would work to the message that may get customers to be part of the marketing campaign and share it with their pals.

Setting objectives

Setting your objectives and marketing campaign aims provides you a end line to work in the direction of. Whether you intention to develop your buyer base, encourage e-newsletter subscriptions, increase entries into a competitors, and even promote a new product launch. Setting clear objectives will assist decide a nice referral marketing campaign journey.  

Plan How The Campaign Will Work

There are two methods a referral program might be structured, a single-sided or double-sided referral marketing campaign. In a single-sided marketing campaign, one participant within the referral course of will get rewarded. In a double-sided marketing campaign,  each the referrer and the individual invited will get a reward. Clearly outlined marketing campaign objectives will assist decide how greatest your marketing campaign ought to work and which of those two choices shall be greatest. 

Think About The Message

How do you intend to place your referral program? What message will you employ to inspire prospects to refer their pals and what name to motion will get referrals to convert into new prospects? A robust message performs a main position in hooking prospects into the marketing campaign. One, to get present prospects to invite their pals, and two, to persuade invited pals to be part of. 

Step 2:  Decide on The Reward and Incentive

Choose a Single or Double-sided Reward

Briefly touched on above, referral campaigns might be single-sided providing one consumer a reward, or double-sided, the place each the referrer and the individual referred will get a reward or incentive. There is not any proper or flawed referral marketing campaign sort to select from, solely the one which makes probably the most sense in serving to you obtain your marketing campaign objectives. 

The Difference Between a Reward and Incentive 

Rewards are given as a “gift” to thank customers for finishing the specified motion.  Incentives inspire customers to act within the desired approach. Rewards and incentives might be nearly something you possibly can consider together with free merchandise, reward playing cards, and even money within the financial institution. But remember your marketing campaign objectives set out in the 1st step and check out to align to these. 

What Should Your Reward or Incentive Be?

Aim to problem a reward or incentive that makes business sense by benefiting your corporation. Think about issues like coupons, account credit, and reductions. It’s all the time greatest to select the kind of rewards and incentives that drive buyer habits again into your corporation. It’s additionally a good time to contemplate how these shall be issued? 


Step 3: Building Your Campaign

Building a Referral Campaign in-house

If you’re utilizing your individual developer, temporary them on precisely the way you need the marketing campaign to work. Include the way you need the marketing campaign to work, who shall be getting rewarded, and when. Your developer and designer can even want to have a clear temporary on what the marketing campaign should appear to be and at what level through the referral course of ought to customers be communicated with. 

Using a Referral Software

If you intend to use off-the-shelf referral software program issues get a bit simpler, you may not have the option to do every little thing your coronary heart wishes however these no-code referral tools will help you construct an superior referral marketing campaign, with out having to rent a developer or study any code. Sometimes that is the only, and quickest approach to simply get began!


Step 4: Make it Easy for People to Share Your Campaign

Talk to Your Customers on the Same Channels They Talk to You

Make it straightforward in your buyer to refer their pals on the channels on which they’re already engaged. No one is aware of your prospects higher than you do.  You already know the place they’re speaking to you, so it solely is sensible to get your prospects referring their pals on those self same channels. 

Offer a Variety of Sharing  Options 

The simpler it’s for individuals to refer their pals, the extra pals they may invite. Make your referral marketing campaign straightforward to share on most well-liked social media channels, e mail, on the spot messaging, and even in individual. Also, take into consideration providing alternative ways of sharing for instance utilizing referral hyperlinks (these are commonest) clickable buttons, and even QR codes.

Step 5: Integrate Your Referral Campaign with Your Business

Reduce your workload and eradicate the guide admin of managing your referral marketing campaign by connecting it to your inside enterprise methods. There are many one-click no-code integration apps to join your referral marketing campaign to your CRM (like this referral app that connects to Hubspot), or your eCommerce retailer (like this referral app that connects to Shopify).

If you possibly can’t discover an integration that works with your corporation instruments, then discover a referral software program that has a nice API – and you’ll construct your individual connectors! 

Step 6: Launch Your Referral Program

Get Your Referral Program Live! 

After reviewing your marketing campaign and testing it, now it’s time to publish your referral program and get it dwell. Remember that the perfect referral applications are ones that go to market rapidly, then evolve based mostly on buyer suggestions – so in the event you don’t get it 100% proper the primary time, don’t fear, it’s all a part of the journey to constructing a highly effective referral program that works for you whilst you sleep. 

Share Your Referral Campaign with Customers

Encourage your prospects to join your referral marketing campaign and begin referring. Make it high of thoughts and simple for them to be part of and begin referring their pals. 

Step 7: Market Your Referral Campaign

Tell Existing Customers about Your Referral Program 

Market your referral marketing campaign to energetic prospects by selling it in your newsletters, or by sending out announcement mailers. Create your buyer’s referral hyperlinks utilizing your present database and ship these out through on the spot messaging, texts, or add them to digital statements and invoices. 

Target Inactive Customers 

Use your referral marketing campaign as a nudge encouraging inactive prospects to return. Add a visitable button to your web site, market in your social media channels, and ship focused messaging to historic buyer databases.


Step 8: Track Your Referrals

Monitor the Performance of Your Campaign

Keep an eye fixed on how your referral marketing campaign is performing. See who was referred by who. Where are most of your referrals coming from? If you’ve got a number of campaigns working on the identical time, see that are performing higher and discover out why? 

Track and Reward Successful Referrals 

Monitor profitable referrals and consolidate referrals which have been transformed. Don’t neglect you will want to carry on high of issuing rewards and incentives (relying on the kind of marketing campaign) to customers which have efficiently referred their pals and customers which have transformed. 

In Summary

Successful referral campaigns are born from a nice service or product providing and a neighborhood of completely happy prospects. But asking your prospects to refer their pals and making it straightforward for them to accomplish that is absolutely what will get referral advertising and marketing going. No matter how nice your product or how well-loved your model is, referral advertising and marketing campaigns are the one approach to speed up phrase of mouth referrals,  see actual buyer progress, and a regular enhance in income. 


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