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How to encourage a client to join your referral program?

The market is a little crowded these days. Every day new providers are popping up, and it is harder to reach your target market. But if you run a customer referral program, it shouldn’t be a big problem. Thanks to this type of marketing, your loyal customers can spread the word about you and help you reach potential customers. 

Unfortunately, there is one catch. It is not so easy to encourage clients to participate in your referral marketing program. Although it is not a piece of cake, we have some ideas about how to inspire your current clients to act and make your customer referrals efficient.

What is a referral program?

Providing a referral program can be part of your marketing strategy. The main goal here is to let your customers make your brand recognizable. When you create a program and your customers join it, let the sharing begin. Every customer receives a referral link that will indicate how active a given customer is and how many potential customers reach your site via that URL. Thanks to referral software, you can track how many new customers come to your web via the given link. 

A referral program can be a great help with your marketing efforts, especially if you are at the beginning of your journey. It is a very cost-effective method that does not require much experience, so it is a perfect option for new companies. If you want to learn more about referral marketing, check the best practices or what are the most common mistakes, you can read about it on our blog.

Top ways to encourage your customers to participate in a referral program

Nowadays people are very busy, so it might be hard to encourage them to join one more program and be active in it. Nevertheless, with our tips, you will be able to provide a successful referral program and keep your customers motivated. Below you can find some guidelines about how to encourage your client to join.

Social proof

Steps connected with referral program promotions are not an easy task to handle. It is hard to promote a form of marketing since the purpose of marketing is promotion. Before you arrange a whole marketing strategy, you can use what you already have, i.e. customer reviews and opinions. Such content is social proof and people trust it. Almost 90% of consumers rely on user reviews as much as on personal referrals. In content marketing, social proof is a crucial aspect, but what is it in particular? The most popular types of this relevant content are:

  • social media shares,
  • user reviews, or comments on your website
  • business testimonials
  • expert recommendations
  • influencer marketing

There are more types of social proof, but the above are a good start. You can gain trust by publishing this type of content and potential clients can see that real people are using your products and enjoying them. This is the first step towards encouraging people to join your program. 

Email campaigns

First, you have to inform people about the upcoming referral marketing program. Send invitations to your current customers. Even if your business is new on the market and you don’t have a huge audience, invitations will still work. A few satisfied customers sharing referrals would make a difference. Encourage them to join, present all the referral incentives to them, and describe all the rules. Don’t forget about CTAs and the link to sign up. 

After a while, you can send a gentle reminder to your client base. In such emails, you should be polite and kind. The recipient should not feel that you are imposing your program on them. It is a good idea to add a survey and ask why the client has decided not to participate. Your clients can give you a hint of what will work better if you include a referral incentive-related question in your form, and you can gain feedback to improve your referral campaign this way. To improve the conversion rate of such emails, you may offer an extra reward for completing the survey.

If you need support with your email campaigns, try EarlyParrot. It supports referral campaigns that you can design them with this tool, and manage referral emails with it too. Thanks to this software, each new customer will receive an invitation at the moment when they are the most convinced about your brand, i.e. right after subscribing or signing up. It is worth automating this aspect of your strategy in order to increase efficiency. EarlyParrot works with most of the popular email providers such as MailChimp, AWeber, and ConvertKit, so it won’t be a problem to implement this tool. 

Email signature

If you communicate with your customers via email frequently, you should take advantage of it to the fullest. Nowadays, most companies have and use their own email signatures. Why not add a referral code or link right next to it? At the bottom of each marketing email, you should place a referral message and encourage the recipients to participate. Remember that a referee can become a referrer later too, so keeping this info in your signature and using it in each email can increase the chances of that happening. 

That way, if a client chooses to join, they will find the link in each of your messages rather than just the direct invitation. 

Design a referral landing page 

Referral incentives are not everything that you should keep your customers posted about. If you have loyal customers, it is likely that they visit your website quite often. Moreover, if new clients visit your website, they tend to scroll through a lot of it. Therefore, it would be beneficial to provide all the referral information in one place which is where a specific landing page comes in handy. 

Such pages should include information about:

  • referral rewards
  • time frames
  • referral process mechanics
  • CTAs
  • links to sign up
  • and any other details you might consider useful for your potential users

Such a page should be coherent with the rest of your website, with the same design, colors, and font as other subpages. Content marketing works as long as you don’t deliver one long paragraph of text – you need to differentiate it to make it user-friendly. Add some graphic materials; maybe a video guide on how the program works would be a good idea? 

Stay in the loop

You should keep in touch with your loyal customers. They are the best source of referrals and feedback. In this case, you should focus on various marketing channels. Email communication has already been covered, so let’s move on to social media.

Your social media posts have great power, so be sure to use it. Via these platforms, you can stay in touch with your clients, ask for feedback, and present new solutions or products. Your social media channels’ target audience is similar to your website’s, so it is definitely worth presenting your referral program, asking about opinions, and reminding participants to be active there. They may then also help you with improving your program. 

You can also start rewarding the most engaged social media users with extra incentives. For example, instead of a 10% discount for a successful referral, you can offer an additional 10% for being active on one of your social media profiles. Establish one condition – such rewards can only be received by referral program participants. This can be a massive trigger to sign up.

Speaking of social media, promote yourself via these channels. Set up social media ads and keep encouraging users to join your program. Making noise about it is worthwhile.

Remind referred clients to become referrers

In most cases, when it comes to referral marketing, it is your loyal customers who become referrers. What about new ones? They can become referrers too. 

If you don’t send referral invitations immediately after a sign-up or subscription then you might miss this opportunity, but what if a client buys your product without signing up? You can use a referral link in your signature or start an email campaign, but if a given user does not become your subscriber then they won’t receive these messages. In cases like this, you should take advantage of thank you messages. After each transaction, send emails saying thank you for your purchase and include a message like the example below in the referral invitation:

Thank you for choosing our store. We are more than happy that you used a referral link. Do you want to give your friends a discount, too? Feel free to join us!

Just include the registration link in the email and the job is done! Start sending such messages and you’ll soon see that registrations and referrals will increase!

Choose the right incentives

You may think it’s obvious, but it is not so easy to do. After all, incentives are the biggest motivation. Your target audience’s preferences can change over time, and a free mug with your logo or discount coupon may not be enough after a while. To avoid such situations when the incentives are not a great enough motivation, you have to track your program’s performance. If you see that referral traffic is decreasing, this is a trigger to make some changes. A friendly reminder – with EarlyParrot, you can follow your programs from the dashboard and make any adjustments you need. 

When choosing referral incentives, it can be hard to read people’s minds; you cannot guess what they think or would prefer to receive. That’s the reason why communication with your users is so important. No matter which marketing channel you use, it is worth asking customers what their preferences are in this case and hear them out.

It is worth adding that even if everything goes according to your marketing plan, it is still sometimes worth changing your program’s rewards or terms every so often. If you stick with one solution for too long, people can get bored and uninterested. 

Ask your customers to join!

A successful referral program does not mean that your whole customer base has to participate in it. Of course, the more that, do the better – but take it easy. 

However, you need new referrers in order to keep your program running. It’s not a full-time job. One month your referrers may be very active, and the next month could be quite unprofitable. Finding new, happy customers should therefore be your daily duty.

The most important key takeaway from this article is to keep rewarding your clients and stay in touch with them. The customer experience is extremely crucial if you want to keep your customer base engaged. They must feel that they have an impact on the program and that their voices count. Your clients can become your referral partners, so treat them accordingly. They can be a huge help with obtaining new referrers.

How to build an email list? – the secrets revealed

E-marketing is one of the oldest yet most profitable methods of marketing, all thanks to the so called ‘father’ of email – Ray Tomlinson. Thanks to him, business owners all around the World now have the opportunity to promote themselves directly in consumers’ inboxes with modern email marketing tools like Lemlist. Isn’t that great? It’s like being able to go to potential consumers’ houses and present them with all the amazing aspects of your business or products. Be careful though, because it’s not as easy as it sounds. “What’s the catch?” you may ask. Well, there is one. You need an email list! And just having an email list is one thing, but making it effective can be quite challenging. In this article, we will share with you all the secrets of building an effective and profitable email list. Let’s dive right in!

What is an email list? 

An email list is a database of email addresses of all the people who would like to hear from you. These addresses can come from places like your website, sign-up forms from webinars, blogs, or social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Your goal as a business owner should be to, first of all, gather as many email addresses as possible and, secondly, to ensure that those contacts are valuable – meaning their owners are your ideal customers who are genuinely interested in your business. With the right type of audience, your return on investment can reach up to $40 for every $1 spent. Tempting, right? But the question remains, how to actually build an effective email list?

Source: https://webengage.com/blog/email-marketing-automation-turns-one-time-sales-into-lifetime-customers/ 

How to build your email list: the top 12 ways 

#1 Pick the right email marketing software 

There’s nothing worse than an email service provider that lacks vital and fundamental features. Once you have a tool in your hands that outperforms your most outlandish demands, you’re pretty much on track to building a strong email list. Make sure the email platform you pick lets you track the performance of your email campaigns and leads as well as manage your subscriber list easily. Having such insights are extremely useful for customer retention and acquisition. 

#2 Remember about social media 

Make sure you allow your potential customers to sign-up to your email newsletter via social media. With the rise in usage of social media platforms, it is important that you make it easy for people to join your list from these channels. Whether it is an email sign-up form on your Facebook page or Instagram account, providing this option surely won’t hurt your business but may help a lot! What’s more, if your followers see that you post quality content on a regular basis, they will be more likely to generate more leads and join your email list, which is something to keep in mind for the future! 

#3 Offer a free gift 

What could better attract potential future consumers than offering them free gifts? To apply, all they have to do is join your email list. Smart, right? This is a great idea because it contributes to creating positive brand awareness and recall right at the moment of someone’s first encounter with your business, plus you gain a subscriber who could be a potential customer! What’s not to like? 

#4 Engage your visitors with your brand 

There are many fun and smart, ‘outside the box’ ways to turn your visitors into subscribers.  Example? Use a pop-up form that includes some sort of game or a puzzle, for instance, a wheel of fortune. By offering gifts and benefits you will gather huge amounts of subscribers in no time. Considering that the conversion rate for ecommerce businesses is 1.94% (meaning that 98.06% of your visitors will leave your website and most likely never come back), it is important to provide experiences that will contribute to customer acquisition and building a positive brand image. 

Source: https://www.oberlo.com/statistics/average-ecommerce-conversion-rate 

#5 Incorporate ‘email only’ offers 

Another great way to encourage email sign-ups is by offering your audience something exclusive. Rewarding your loyal subscribers for being part of the customer journey is a great way to show non-subscribers that joining your list is beneficial. It is up to you what your bargaining card will be. Example? Free shipping or an extra 5% discount for email subscribers. The possibilities are endless. 

#6 Offer rewards to existing subscribers for referring your brand 

The numbers show that 92% of people trust referrals from friends and family over any other advertising method. This is great news for you. Some customers would do anything for a discount code or a freebie. Ask your existing customers to invite their friends to subscribe to your email list, and make sure there is a gift for both the referee and the referrer because you want to make both sides satisfied. Although the process might seem complex, it’s actually not. All you have to do is pick a powerful tool offering such a solution, such as EarlyParrot. For more details, visit our website explaining the whole process in detail. Having such a tool will help build your email list in no time.  

#7 Look for original opportunities to gather more contacts  

In the world of marketing, you need to think smart. Try looking for unique tactics to gather a bigger audience. One of them could be designing a really cool QR code. Such practices vastly contribute to shaping a positive brand recall and, of course, building your dream mailing list. Have a look at some possible inspiration below: 

Source: https://jess3.com/ 

#8 Build your email list offline too 

You never know where you might meet a new subscriber or even a customer. That’s why it’s extremely important to always have your business cards or leaflets to hand. Whether it’s during a work meeting, lunch break, fair, or in your store – having them with you won’t hurt but may possibly help. So go and check if you have enough business cards/ leaflets now, and you’ll thank us later. 

#9 Pick wisely and never purchase an email list 

No one wants bots, inactive email addresses, or people who want nothing to do with your business on their lists. Make sure you display your opt-in forms in places where your target audience is present. Consider what sites are visited by your ideal consumers, as well as what could be the best locations to place your sign-up forms. Avoid at all costs purchasing email lists from external agencies. Not only are they useless (most of the time), but they can also negatively impact your brand image once recipients start complaining about your content. Lastly, some of the best and most reputable email marketing tools simply don’t accept purchased email lists lacking confirmations of opt-ins.  

#10  Ensure your opt-in forms are easily accessible on mobile devices 

Statistics show that 63% of emails are opened on mobile devices. This may as well mean that people generally want to sign-up from their mobile phones. Keep this in mind when you design your landing pages, pop-ups, and sign-up forms. You want them all to work perfectly on mobile devices so that people can sign up, view, and open your emails. After all, in the long run, the higher the opening the rate, the greater the possibility of a better conversion rate. Isn’t that the point? To know what your ideal open rate should be, check out these extensive statistics showing the average click-to-open rates of marketing emails worldwide as of June 2020 by industry.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/942725/e-mail-marketing-click-to-open-rates-world/ 

#11 Bounce Backs are not the end of the world

There might be times when you send an email newsletter to your subscribers but it doesn’t reach each and every person on the list. This is due to common bouncebacks, caused typically by server or spam errors. A bounce message is what you receive as the email sender saying that a message was not delivered. Ideally, the benchmark for bounces should be less than 2%. If, however, the bounce rate is higher than that for some reason, you should think about fixing it. For instance, suppose you have the mailing address of a person whose email address is faulty, you can simply send them a postcard or a freebie asking them nicely to update their email address in your database. Don’t forget about offering a discount code or other surprise. This will undoubtedly contribute to lowering the bounce rate and improving the effectiveness and performance of your email messages. 

#12 Build your own online community

Sounds scary? It’s actually not. Creating an online community managed by yourself, such as a Facebook group, telegram group, or a blog is a great way to gather your target audience in one place. Once the group/blog is up and running, it’s your time to shine. Invite followers there to join your email list. You can do so, for example, by offering some sort of an incentive to your audience, such as a discount code or a free shipping option valid exclusively for group members/blog readers. 


Now you know all the right tricks and hacks for building your own strong and healthy mailing list. Let’s have one more look at the most important takeaways:

  • It’s better to take care of your existing email list than buy a new, often useless one. 
  • Be creative with pop-ups, landing pages, and sign-up forms – a little bit of imagination works in your favour.
  • Make it worth signing up to your email list – various incentives like freebies, discount codes, and other gifts will be more than welcome! 
  • Consider all possibilities – they may be closer than you think.

#ParrotInspires: How to choose the best rewards for your referral program participants?

Referral programs are a great way to reach new customers and strengthen bonds with your existing ones too. Thanks to designing such a campaign you will be able to achieve your business goals at relatively low cost. Furthermore, this method of marketing is a great idea to lower customer cost acquisition, increase ROI, and improve customer retention.

Your customers must be willing to sign up for your referral program in order to keep it going. Otherwise, you won’t get many referrals and ultimately leads. To encourage your loyal customers to join your program, you need to provide the best incentives, and this is not an easy task. After all, people won’t do much for free, so incentives are necessary to motivate your clients. It’s worthwhile though, since referrals from friends are the most effective marketing strategy for small businesses in the US according to eMarketer. How to use this strategy effectively? 

Why are rewards so important?

People love receiving rewards; it feels good to receive a gift or to be acknowledged for an accomplishment. That is why referral marketing is effective – people like to be appreciated and rewarded. Whether you offer gift cards, discount coupons, or free products – all of these will keep your customers motivated to share links and encourage new clients to join your business too. 

Are you wondering whether you should reward referrers, new customers, or both? Below you will find the pros and cons of each of these systems.

Types of referral reward system

There are three types of reward systems: two-sided, one-sided, and no reward. We will discuss each of them to help you choose the best for you. 

  1. Two-sided reward system. With this type, a gift goes to both your existing customers and potential ones. You can offer them the same incentives or different rewards. The terms to earn them are also very important. For example, you can award a referrer only after three successful referrals, while each of the three new clients will earn something. As you may suppose, this method of reward system is the most powerful one and useful for expanding your customer base. Double-sided incentives would be a good choice to hit the ground running for new businesses and for creating strong bonds with existing, happy customers as well. 
  2. One-sided reward system. Here you reward only one side of referrals. It can be the referrer or the new client, it is your choice. In this way, you can reward the most active ambassadors of your brand and strengthen bonds with them even more. Needless to say that this method can be successful but also a little less motivating for the side without a referral reward.  
  3. No reward. This is an option, too. You can safely assume that it won’t be the most effective way to gain new customers, but it may be a temporary solution. If your customer referral program performs well then you have great relationships with loyal customers, so such a no-reward period can be a relief for your pocket without a big harm to your traffic. However, it can be a great introduction to a more advanced referral incentive program too.

Types of rewards

Choosing the best reward can be a gamechanger for your program. It can be a “to be or not to be” for the success of your program. There is a wide range of referral rewards for you to choose from, and we have prepared a list of them below.

  1. Cashback or monetary rewards

A reward of this kind would probably be the preferred choice for most. This type of referral program incentive is a great way to generate some buzz about your brand. Cash is a great way to reach new customers in a competitive environment. If your company is new on the market and has some spare money, it would be a good way to support your business performance from the very beginning.  

With cashback, it works as follows: an existing customer recommends your business, shares a referral link with a friend, and if the referral is successful then your existing client receives cashback to, e.g., your store wallet.

  1. Discounts coupons

This is one of the most popular ways to reward your customers. An existing customer shares a referral link with their friends and both sides (or one) receives a discount off the next service or product they purchase. It may be a cash discount like $10 or percentage such as 20% off their next purchase. 

This type of referral reward is the most valued by 51% of consumers. A discount coupon can be a good reward both for your active referrers and potential customers.

  1. Store credit rewards

A mix of the two above approaches. With this method of rewarding, a client receives money to use during an upcoming transaction in your store. This money can be used to buy your products only, and it is also popular to define the minimum purchase price in order for them to use the credit. For example, a client may receive $10 credit but it can only be used to buy items worth at least $50.

Many providers use this type of incentive – Uber, Airbnb, and Glovo to name a few.

  1. Gift card rewards

Receiving a gift card can be a good incentive, but it depends on your target audience’s preferences. In the case of teens, for example, Starbucks gift cards are great incentives but ones that won’t suffice for older people. When choosing gift cards, you should take the time to analyze who you’re targeting and what would be most useful for them.

Let’s suppose you operate in the Hungarian market and you offer Amazon gift cards as rewards. It won’t do much good because there is no Hungarian Amazon site and that eCommerce platform isn’t popular in this country. In other words, you should offer your customers gift cards for places they most desire if you want such rewards to work out.

  1. Company swag rewards

Your referral program reward can be non-cash too. One type of such incentive is swag. What is that? Swag is an item outside your offer but connected with your brand like a T-shirt, mug, or tote bag with your logo on it. You can freely choose items and, moreover, you can change them up regularly. Both existing customers and new ones may receive a mug or you can differentiate the gift in this regard. Maybe a referrer should earn better swag after, e.g., five successful referrals. 

The terms are up to you, but this reward method gives you a wide range of fun incentives to keep your customers motivated.

  1. Free subscription period

Nowadays, subscription is a very popular model that’s offered by various providers. If you take this approach, a free trial as a reward can be a big hit. Not only does it encourage people to get to know you but also it allows them to sample your full offer, which can lead to the start of long-term relationships with customers.

You have probably used many subscription services that provide free trials. Amazon Prime, Spotify, Netflix – didn’t it make you a regular customer of them?

How to choose the best ones?

There is no guide that will clearly define the best rewards for a given target group. You need to get to know your customers and select the most tempting incentives for them. What you should do first is to choose the best referral marketing software. This tool should support the entire process and not limit you in terms of rewards. Below you can find a few steps, thanks to which you will be able to choose encouraging rewards for your clients.

#1 Select the best referral software

Before you get to the details, you need to choose the best tools. This is the basis of a successful referral program. What are the most important aspects that you should pay attention to? First of all, as we mentioned above, the tool shouldn’t limit you. For example, with EarlyParrot, you can choose the types of referrals, name them, select your target, as well as add webhooks and descriptions. There is no difference whether your reward is a discount or a mug. Of course, a referral code can be sent out via email, while for a mug it’s quite a different story. 

Once you choose a tool that gives you room to create a successful referral program, you can start thinking about the details.

#2 Who do you want to reward?

Choose a reward system from the list above. If you are a new player on the market, you should encourage as many people as possible and thus double-sided rewards may be the better option. If your business already has a solid position in customers’ minds and hearts then you may choose to go with a one-sided incentive. If you pick the first option, remember to establish if the rewards for both sides will be identical or if you prefer to differentiate them.

Additionally, thresholds should be set up. How many successful referrals does an existing customer need to make before they earn the reward? What does a potential customer have to do for a referral to be deemed successful – sign up, purchase, or subscribe to a newsletter? Before moving on, you should establish these terms. 

#3 What do you want to give?

Now on to the creme de la creme – choosing rewards. First, you should choose between cash or non-monetary rewards. If your brand is recognizable and your community is strong then swag may be a good choice, but if you are new on the market will anyone be eager to receive a mug with your logo on it? When it comes to cash incentives, they are very popular because people love saving money. If you want to get off to a good start, you should go the extra mile with referral promotion and offer, say, 50% off during the first week for referrers and new customers. After this time the discount may decrease to 15%, for example.

If you have a bigger budget and you sell tech equipment, cars, or luxury goods, for instance, then decent discount coupons would be an excellent choice. The more expensive the item, the greater the discount. After all, a 10% discount looks better with a value of $3,000 than $30.

#4 Monitor the results and be ready to change

With a good tool, you will be able to monitor each of your referral campaigns. Follow the key metrics and the most active referrers then draw conclusions. If your rewards do not bring the desired results, change them. Before making drastic changes, you can send reminder emails to your customer base and encourage them to be more active. If this doesn’t have much effect, you need to rethink your referral campaign.

Thanks to tracking referrals, you will be able to reward the most dedicated referrers. This will strengthen your bonds and make them even more loyal.

Referral marketing programs are here to help you

The benefits of referrals are numerous, provided you create your referral campaign following some rules and guidelines. To bring your customer’s attention to your referral program, you should spread the word about it and send invitations to a potential base of referrers, i.e., your satisfied customers. Let them do their job and motivate them properly.

Having a better understanding of referral rewards enables you to make the right choices for your customers. Once you launch your referral campaign, you should closely monitor the key metrics and make adjustments accordingly. Fingers crossed for your campaign!