Create a successful customer referral program in 5 steps

Have you ever subscribed to a mailing list only to get spammed with messages? Receiving too many messages and offers likely sent you looking for the unsubscribe link. Unfortunately, the same thing can happen with your customers if you constantly bug them for referrals.

Businesses know referrals are a reliable way to get better leads and increase their customer base. Huge companies like Stitch Fix have used referrals to continue to grow, even during a pandemic. However, some companies are so focused on getting as many referrals as they can that they end up alienating their clientele.    

Creating a customer referral program helps you obtain referrals without irritating your clients. By formalizing your referral process, you’ll ensure that you’re sending the optimal amount of referral offers. Here are five steps to help you create a successful referral program.  

1. Build strong customer relationships

The best referrals come from customers who love your business and are passionate about your services. After all, hearing a friend say, “The clothing from this store is fine, but their customer service is a nightmare,” doesn’t motivate you to buy from them. To earn quality referrals, you need to build strong relationships with your current customers. 

Building a relationship with clients starts with offering superior products or services. And by investing in quality customer support, you show your clients how much you care about their experience. Once you’ve created a record of providing high-quality services, your customers will be more likely to refer you to others. Now you have to figure out what you’re going to do with those referrals. 

2. Set business goals for your program

Your customers are ready to send you referrals now, but do you know what you want to use them for? Creating goals for your referral program enables you to design your program around what you want to achieve. For example, you may want to set a specific goal for 10 percent of your client base to give a referral, and five percent of those referrals to become customers.  

Goals are also an essential way to track how well your program is performing and to see if you need to make any adjustments. Let’s say it’s been a couple of months, and you’re noticing that only five percent of your client base is referring others to your business. Now you can look at the program you’ve created and determine where you’re losing referrals. Perhaps you’re using the wrong incentives. After all, if you want to get a referral from your customers, you need to give them something in exchange.        

3. Offer the right incentives for your audience

Customers may love your business, but they still need a reason to refer you to a friend. Offering benefits for both the person referring and the one being referred gives them incentives to take advantage of your program. 

Of course, that means you need to offer benefits that make sense for your business model and your customers’ expectations. For example, a clothing or product store could offer coupons or discounts, while service-based businesses could give free access to premium features for a limited time. 

Whatever you choose to offer customers, keep in mind that even the best benefits won’t appeal to customers if it’s too hard for them to refer others.    

4. Make referring easy by using online submission and registration forms 

The easier something is, the more likely people are to do it. A simple referral process increases your referrals and decreases the amount of work you have to do to set it up. By creating registration forms for your program, you’ll streamline the process for both sides.   

Online templates can help you quickly set up a referral process that collects all the information you need in a few simple steps. These forms also allow customers to refer whenever they feel comfortable, rather than wait for you to create a specific referral event. 

Collecting your first referrals may make you feel like your program is doing well. But are you meeting the goals you set for your referrals? Using the right data analytic tools can help you find out. 

5. Track your program’s performance

You’ve put a lot of work into setting up your referral program. However, your work is just beginning. It’s time to use the right analytics tools to track how your program is performing. Tracking your program’s performance helps determine if you’re meeting your goals or if you need to make some adjustments.  

There are plenty of tools out there that specialize in customer referral programs. For instance, Mention Me, ReferralCandy, and InviteReferrals all offer some form of analytic tools. Plus, these tools can help you set up your referral program on social media platforms. Following these simple steps can help you make the best customer referral program for your business.   

It’s all about relationships

Referrals are a great way to market your business. By creating relationships with your customers, figuring out the right incentives to offer, and using online forms, your referral program will make you and your customers happy. Using these five steps can help you set up a customer referral program that will grow your customer base.
At Jotform, we offer the registration forms your referral program needs. Creating a standardized form makes it easier for your clients to refer their friends to your business. Try ourtemplates today.  

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