Launching a customer referral program can be fast and easy. However, just launching it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll immediately get leads. Sometimes, simply launching a referral program won’t get you any leads at all.

When people ask me about how best to kickoff and optimize their referral programs, it always reminds me of the movie, Field of Dreams. If you make a few common mistakes, your referral program can quickly follow the mantra “if you build it, they will come.” However, without proper promotion, they won’t.

Today, I want to talk about a few ideas that are all one-to-one messaging tactics. One-to-one messaging is going to be the most effective way to get folks to either join your referral program or tell others to join it. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. You are more likely to engage with a personalized email from me vs. something that you know was a mass email.

In order to make your referral program truly successful, I’m going to give you seven tactics that you can use to personalize the promotion of your referral program.

Text your happy customers

First, make sure that you have permission to text your customers. They must opt-in. 

Second, give folks a way to opt-out at any time if they change their minds about receiving texts. 

Third, keep your messaging casual and short, remember, it’s a text! 

Fourth, use text sparingly, it can get annoying, very fast. 

Lastly, talk to me as if we are getting coffee across the table, don’t be a robot because you are nervously asking me to do a something. 

Send a personalized video over LinkedIn

Keep it under two minutes. 

This is a popular tactic in sales right now and I don’t see that changing any time soon. 

If you’ve never met that customer, introduce yourself. Remember to state that you and your team appreciate them as a customer and believe they’re happy. Remember to say if they’re not happy that you want to know why so you can fix it.

Make sure you end the video with a clear ask for them to join your referral program.

Pick up the phone and call them

The only thing better than a phone call to a customer is a real one-to-one interaction in-person. 

However, picking up the phone and having a real conversation with your customers, still means a lot. Remember to have your talking points ready, beforehand. You don’t want to waste their time or yours.

You’re not calling just to chit chat. You need to know their history with your company. Everything from their purchases or past experiences to any issues they may have had. Thank them for being a customer and then get down to the reason for your call. Clearly and concisely explain that you have a new referral program and that since you’re rolling it out, you thought of them. Let them know that they would be a perfect fit for the program and that you’d like to personally invite them to join.

Explain the benefits that they will receive from the program and how you think it will also benefit their connections. This personal touch goes a long way.

Send a personalized email message

Email is a wonderful way to ask customers to join your referral program. 

Pretend you are having coffee with them and keep it short, genuine and casual to drive higher response rates. 

As with all one-to-one messages, make sure to introduce yourself if they don’t know you and express an interest in getting to know them. Thank them for being a customer and make it easy for them to click a link or button to join the program.

Ask over Facebook Messenger

Do you work for a company that interacts with their customers on Facebook? If so, this is a great way to send some personalized messages that will spark interest in your customers. There aren’t many companies taking advantage of messenger yet either, so it’s a great opportunity to get in early.

More and more, folks are willing and excited to interact with companies on platforms like Facebook so make it your own voice and make it sincere. Your customers should interact with you there even more than traditional avenues of communication.

Send a Slack or Microsoft Teams message

How often do you share a Slack channel with partners, customers, or employees, who could be asked to make a referral for your company? 

Chat applications like these offer access to these relationships in a somewhat more professional environment compared to text or email. 

Each company must decide if this an appropriate venue to ask for referrals or to ask these audiences to join their referral program, but it’s a great option if so.

Ask for a referral in-app (assuming your product or service has a software application or portal)

Companies that sell a software product, or are software enabled such as e-commerce or any service provider with a customer portal, can promote their referral program inside the online experience. 

Asking for a referral at the end of the buying process or based on a triggered event inside the software offers a timely opportunity to ask happy customers to join the referral program. 

Remember! How effectively you promote your referral program is the most important part of your success. 

The number one challenge is building awareness amongst your customers about how they will be rewarded for sharing your company with their network. Here at WarmUp, that’s exactly what our software does. We can help you create, promote, and track your referral, partner, or affiliate program with our software.

Do you have questions about how we measure these tactics? Please reach out to us! 

Referrals and all word-of-mouth should be treated as its own marketing channel. We want to help you measure what’s working and what’s not. 

We’re always here to help and love meeting new people. Reach out to us here. Take care!