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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.