If you’re interested in a fun way to grow your customer base while engaging your current customers, then a customer referral program is a smart move. A customer referral program is unique because it works for just about business: personal injury law firms in Vancouver, mom & pop shops, restaurants, online retail et cetera.
So what exactly is a customer referral program? A CRP is a program that your business offers which allows a current customer to bring in a new customer, typically one of their friends or a family member, and both gain a reward. In return, you are able to gain new customers as well as brand loyalty by making customers feel like they are a part of your brand.
It’s important to plan out every detail of your CRP in order to make sure that it runs smoothly from the beginner, otherwise your client base is going to quickly become uninterested in participating. Here are a few tips to get your started creating your CRP!
Develop A Goal
To begin, you need to know what you’re aiming for in order to judge how successful your program is. Even if you’ve never ran a referral program before and therefore you do not have data to go off of, you can still research what others in the industry have done. See what statistics are out there for CRP’s in your industry.
Once this is complete, develop a goal for your own business. This will also help you to decide how long you want to run your campaign. Traditionally, long campaigns have the best track record because it gives customers enough time to ask all of their friends and family they believe might be interested in your offer.
Choose Your Incentives Wisely
The make or break element of a great CRP is whether or not your incentives are enticing enough for people to go out of their way to get referrals for you. There are a number of incentives that you can choose, such as a store discount, some free swag or products, and gift cards.
If you’re not sure where to start, dig into case studies of successfully referral programs. Between the case studies and what you know about your customers, choose a few options and create a survey on a site like Survey Monkey and ask your customer base what their thoughts are.
Create A Promotional Guide
You need to get the word out about your new program, so how are you going to do this? Thankfully, there are a lot of options. You can put up posters in your store and on your website, e-mail your customers frequently if you have an email list – a great reason to do email marketing, and post an article on your blog.
The best part about launching a CRP is that it is inexpensive to promote because you’re going after the customers you already have. All you need to do is communicate clearly.
Nail Your Ask
Simplify your ask. In order to run smoothly, your program needs to be easily understood. For instance, if you create promotional cards to put inside customer’s bags at purchase, there should only be a few lines of text. This text should accurately describe your program while answering all your customer’s questions.
If you customers do not understand your program quickly, then they will lose interest. As a result, you will gain less participation.
Anytime that someone makes the effort to bring you referrals and anytime that a new customer joins, show your appreciation. Don’t stop at just giving them their reward, but tell them at the check-out that you appreciate their business and effort. If you run an online store, send this thank you in a special e-mail. This will increase brand loyalty and make them likely to participate in your next promotional event.
A CRP can be an enjoyable customer service experience for both you and your customers. You’re able to give back to your customers for all of their support and they are able to get their friends and family members involved while earning a special treat. They feel great because they received a reward they really wanted for only a bit of effort and you gain new customers. It’s a win-win.
Customer referral programs are a sure way to gain new customers at a low cost. A cost much lower than you might traditionally spend on trying to gain new customers through advertising campaigns instead of word-of-mouth. Developing a great CRP depends on your rewards and communication between you and your customers, once you’ve completed these steps, you’re all set to go.
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