In our first segment on encouraging and gathering customer reviews, we talked about ways to ask your most loyal customers for referrals. In this second part, we’ll dive into making that program a success and the best ways to promote it.
Promoting Your Program
It happens more often than you would think, but shops will go through all the work of creating a program, and never put any weight behind promoting it. Even businesses that have monstrously successful referral programs, like Airbnb, have fallen victim to this pitfall - the referral program will fail if none of your customers (or even employees) knows it exists.
- Know Which Referral is Best for Your Business - The two main incentives are either a cash discount or percentage off discount. For industries that have a less frequent purchase rate (i.e. mattresses), a cash discount incentive is known to work best. Percentage off of promos are fantastic for recurring businesses. This allows your evangelist to collect a promo they can actually use, instead of multiple cash discounts on a mattress
- Email Your Current Customers - Clearly, you have to have an established customer base to execute this, but the store that has been idly waiting to implement a referral program - this is the best place to start.
- Go Beyond Email - Your program can extend far beyond the email world. Implementing your program in social media channels calls to action on your website and targeted push notifications are effective ways to get the word out. Treat this like a marketing campaign - albeit a little different from your traditional campaigns, it’s marketing nonetheless.
Getting to Your Next Customer
It takes a lot of hard work to maintain and keep an omni-channel referral program running, but you’ll soon see how effective they are. Most retail books, written 50 years ago or 5 months ago, will typically include an entire chapter on ‘referral programs’. They’ve proven their worth over the years and now it’s time for you to implement it in the modern age.