Need a few amazing referral program ideas to get your customers motivated? Your team will think outside the box with these 5 tips!

It’s been said many times, and it still rings true today: a strong referral is your greatest asset. For years, word-of-mouth was the main ingredient of a growing business. But today, the process has evolved. Businesses have taken their referral program ideas to new levels. They have strong incentives and make the process fun, engaging, and rewarding.

If you can nail down a unique referral strategy, your business is bound to boost sales performance. The question is: how you go about it?

Is your offer benefit-driven and intriguing? You have to come up with ideas that speak to your particular audience—their interests, needs, and motivations.

5 referral program ideas your customers would love to share

1. Pay it forward 

Sometimes money is not the best incentive. Customers react to incentives that offer benefits, but also gratification. When friends, family members, and associates benefit from their referral, that brings a special kind of motivation. Friends like to help out friends. They feel good about doing others a service. If the process is easy and painless, people like to pay it forward.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Freebies for the newbies: each referred customer receives a gift (month subscription, additional purchase, etc.)
  • Give each referral customer a free trial of your product or service, plus a discounted onboard cost.
  • Offer a cash bonus, gift card, or store credit to the new customer.

2. Run a contest with a cash prize 

A contest is one of the best ways to stir up interest. Cash prizes always work in this situation. A big prize will influence more referrals. But you can also use other items or services your customers value.

The greatest benefit of a contest: you can do it whenever you want! It’s a great way to revamp business during slow points of the year (or to capitalize on busy times).

  • Send out an email promotion, and make it easy to enter the contest.
  • Give a goal of “x” amount of referrals by “x” date. Make it a challenge, but also attainable.
  • The first person to hit the goal wins $5,000. Give a sense of urgency!
  • Create runner-up prizes as well, so the people who put in effort don’t lose out.

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client-managerWith all those new referrals coming in, you’ll need a way to automate your follow-up efforts. That’s our specialty! Schedule a demo with us, and we’ll show you how to turn leads into customers with less work!

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3. Give your referrers VIP status 

What’s better than recognition from one of your favorite brands? It’s a form of celebrity. Give your strongest referral sources a sense of pride in their support. Create a VIP referral group. The membership offers unique benefits, going above and beyond normal incentives.

Here’s what your VIPs can look forward to:

  • Beta testing for your new products and services.
  • A camera crew arrives to shoot a video testimonial.
  • Social media mentions from the CEO of the company, plus a hand-written letter.
  • A VIP event, just for referrers, with special contests and prizes.

4. Shhh…it’s a mystery gift 

Sometimes leaving your rewards unknown will drum up interest with customers. After they’ve made a purchase, offer a reward program that sends a “mysterious package” to their doorstep for every successful referral. You can have a lot of fun with it!

Get creative and make your gifts memorable. You can take a small survey asking the customer a few questions about his hobbies and interests, and then work off that information.

  • After a customer’s first purchase, ask him to refer a friend for a mystery prize.
  • If their referral converts into a new customer, send the referrer a quick, 5-question survey to claim their prize.
  • On the survey, ask about their hobbies, favorites foods, fondest memories, etc.
  • Use that info to put together a unique gift (remember to make the package look mysterious!)

5. Bump them up a level 

Finally, it’s always a good idea to give out upgrades for a successful referral. Of course, there are probably only so many upgrades you can give to one person, but it’s a way to get started. This strategy focuses on giving useful rewards. Since customers are already using your service or product, they’ll be interested in receiving more use out of it, with more features, for free.

  • You can scale the upgrade by the number of referrals received.
  • Make sharing their upgrade via social media a mandatory part of the reward.
  • Consider making the upgrade trial based. They can receive the trial again for another referral or buy it at a discounted price.

Don’t make your referral program ideas too complex—keep it simple and easy

One of the problems companies run into is making their referral programs convoluted. There are too many steps involved. No matter how great your prize may be, most people will take convenience over hard work. Give your customers an easy path to success. And always keep your referral program ideas under control. If you get too involved, the process will become complicated. Try out a few different methods and see which one works best.

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client-managerEngaging referrals at every point is challenging. With all those new referrals coming in, you’ll need a way to automate your follow-up efforts. That’s our specialty! Schedule a demo with us, and we’ll show you how to turn leads into customers with less work!

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What’s our opinion? Do you have another referral incentive to add? Share your thoughts in the comments!