5 Tips to Help Your Referral Program Convert

Referral programs are an excellent marketing strategy for any business, and it’s easy to see why: potential customers are far more likely to buy your product if current customers vouch for you. These programs aren’t useful purely for the purpose of adding to your client base, but also because a referred customer is 18% more likely to remain loyal to your business than a customer obtained through other channels. A marketing campaign for a referral program also helps you narrow your focus; your target audience is your current clientele, so advertising the referral program to them will ensure that you don’t waste resources. Using a referral program is a win-win-win for the referred customer, the current customer who made the referral, and for your business.

Before you start your referral program, think about these few tips:

  1. Come up with a way to track referred customers. Without a proper tracking system, you won’t know just how successful your referral campaign is. Again, how you track it will be up to you, depending on your business and what marketing campaign programs you already have in place.
  2. Customer referral programs need to reward both the referrer and the refereed customer. The current customer and the potential customer both need an incentive to participate. You can reward the two customers in a few different ways, including discounts on products or gifts. No matter how you choose to reward customers, it needs to be appealing enough to motivate them. In a referral program, your current customers are doing a lot of work for you. If it’s not worth their while, they won’t bother.
  3. Make the customers feel special. When a referral lead comes in, treat it differently than other sales leads. Your return on investment with your time and resources is much higher than leads acquired from another source – so don’t skimp! A great way to do this is to give your customers a handwritten thank you note.
  4. Advertise your referral program! If customers are unaware of the incentives, they won’t put in as much work to refer a potential customer. Use all of your channels for marketing, like email, PPC, and social media. Be sure to notify customers if you communicate with them directly as well.
  5. Use a time-based promotional to encourage current customers to find friends to refer. A ticking clock can motivate your audience to action better than a campaign without a specific ending date.

What have you learned when creating a referral program for your business? Share your tips in the comments below!


Jantsch, John. “The Art of Referral Conversion.” http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/2011/08/29/the-art-of-referral-conversion/. (13 Feb. 2014).

Masjedi, Yaniv. “5 Tips for a Successful Customer Referral Program.” http://blogs.salesforce.com/company/2013/08/customer-referral-program.html. (13 Feb. 2014).