Your Guide to Growing Your Business with an Effective Referral Program
Referrals are one of the most powerful marketing tools for any business. Did you know that referral marketing produces three to five times more conversions than any other marketing method? Studies show that 82% of small businesses say that referrals make up the bulk of their new business. Think about it, wouldn’t you be more likely to try a service or class if a friend or family member suggested it first? In COVID times, people are extra cautious and need to trust you before committing to your business.
What is a referral program?
A referral program is a word-of-mouth marketing system to get your loyal clients, local businesses, and influencers to make referrals to your business. Basically, it’s a way to leverage your supporters and turn them into cheerleaders/promoters of your brand. When offering a referral program, there also needs to be a benefit for your new and existing clients/supporters. This may be in the form of a discount or cash reward.
With people four times likely to make a purchase when referred by a friend, family member, or colleague, it’s time you get a referral program working for you. In this guide, you will learn all about growing your business with a referral program.
4 benefits of a referral program
A referral program is a natural and organic way to get people talking about your business. They love your service and while they likely would have recommended it anyway, now they get a reward. What are some of the other key benefits of a referral program for your business?
- Increases client loyalty: Trust-building and increased loyalty with clients is huge with a referral program. In fact, the lifetime value of a new referral client is 16% higher than one who wasn’t referred. Referred clients also have a 37% higher retention rate, which means they will stick with you.
- Builds trust: Trust is also a big factor when getting a new client to sign up. What’s great with a referral program is that the sales pitch now comes from a trusted friend or family member rather than a pushy salesperson.
- Targets your ideal client: A referral program also allows you to authentically reach your target audience, without marketing to them. Your client is suggesting your business to a friend who is already looking for that service. So, it’s a win-win!
- Boosts your brand: Clients who refer your business also promote your name and brand organically. Why? Because right from the start, referred clients are likely to have a positive outlook of your business.
How do you find referrals?
Where do referrals come from? Let’s say you survey your new clients and ask how they heard about you. You know the referral program is doing its job whenever they tell you they were influenced by a friend or family member, a review from one or more of your clients, or another loyal supporter. You can get people spreading the word about your business in a variety of ways.
- Your clients/customer reviews: Your clients likely make the bulk of your referrals. You can reward them for both word-of-mouth referrals and whenever they write a positive review, and a new client signs up.
- Reach out to local businesses: Reach out to similar businesses and partner with them. For instance, if you are a yoga studio, you can become an affiliate of a gym, spin studio, or another fitness studio. Also, music school can partner with music stores, martial arts studios can partner with local schools… You get the idea. As a result, both you and the partnered business get rewarded whenever a new client comes from that affiliate studio.
- Partner with influencers: Social influencers related to your industry can help your business grow and get in front of as many people as possible. Choose someone local who has tried your services. All that social influencer has to do is post something positive about trying your services, and they get rewarded for each new referral.
Make it easy for clients to leave reviews
Getting your clients to write a review is another way they refer your business. The review turns into a referral when someone reads that review then becomes a lead or client. Reviews also work as testimonials, so you can re-purpose them as part of your blog posts or social media campaigns. When part of the referral program, your clients are motivated to leave plenty of great reviews to increase the chances of more referrals from their end.
WellnessLiving’s customer review feature also makes it simple for clients to leave a review about your business.
- They can leave a review on Google My Business, Facebook, WellnessLiving’s business directory, and other popular review sites.
- After a great client experience, you can conveniently send them a request for a review through text, push notification, or email.
- Manage all your reviews in one place. Respond to new reviews, flag inappropriate ones, and highlight the best to share on your website or Facebook page.
Offer incentives through a reward program
Simplify your life with WellnessLiving’s loyalty rewards program, where the referral program is built right into our system. It’s so easy for clients to benefit from referring a friend or family member by sharing on social media or leaving a review about your business. In return, they earn points, which they can redeem for prizes or discounts at your business. You also decide the prizes. Here are some of the perks you can include:
- Discounts or freebies for your online or on-demand services.
- In-studio or virtual membership discounts.
- Cash back rewards that they can use at your business.
- Discounts on rental equipment or branded merch like water bottles, apparel, or clothing.
- VIP access to workshops or events (virtual or in-person).
- Custom prizes and entries into monthly draws.
Want to get them doing more? Track how many times they refer you and up the rewards the more they participate.
How will you promote your referral program?
How do you get people talking about your referral program? While your clients will surely tell their friends, you need to create a buzz, too—and WellnessLiving can help with that. Our advanced automated marketing suite makes it easy to send out customized messaging that you can share on social media and your website. Here’s how we can help you spread the word:
- Email marketing: Automatically send emails to promote your program in your email newsletter, with direct booking links. Don’t forget to track your emails so you know who’s getting (and reading) your message.
- SMS or push notifications: Send messages instantly with texts and push notifications. Here’s a quick and easy way to tell clients about your program and ensure that the message goes right to their phone so they’re always in the know.
- Direct mail postcards: Stand out with our direct mail postcards. Get your clients’ attention and let them know about the benefits of referring friends, leaving a review, and sharing on social.
- Social media: Don’t forget to promote your program through all your channels (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn). Create interesting content with videos about the referral program for your YouTube, IGTV, and Facebook communities.
- Website: Want to draw even more people into your referral program? Say it loud and proud on your website. Explain it on your home page, create a landing page with details, write a blog about it, and include a referral program link on your navigation bar or menu tab. It’s an easy way for clients to quickly learn about it.
Get referrals, grow your business
It’s time you set up a winning referral program. Let your loyal clients, social influencers, and local businesses tell their friends all about your business. That way, everybody wins. You’re also on the right path when you make it easy for clients to review you online and offer incentives with a rewards program. Soon enough, you’ll be building your business by gaining new referrals and long-term loyal clients.
And with the tools from WellnessLiving, you’ll simplify your life in the process. Benefit from our automated marketing, loyalty rewards program, customer review feature, and more. Want to learn more about how WellnessLiving can help manage your business? Book a free, no-commitment demo with WellnessLiving today.