Ready to get more clients and customers through referrals? In this episode, I’m divulging all the info you need to get more clients through an epic referral programme.
This is the exact journey we are going through at the moment over in EverTrek. It’s not quite ready to launch but I wanted to share our implementation process, the software options, and everything else you need to know about referral programmes.
If you’re a high-traffic, high client-generating business model, I would definitely recommend you get software to run your referral programme. Perhaps you are a more high-ticket service provider, such as a coach, then you might not need any software to run your programme. You’ll want the approach to be more personal.
Cost of software
Although, even if you’re working at scale, you’ll want to referral process to be as personal as possible. But the costs of the referral software are relatively high so if you don’t need high volumes of referrals, you might want to look at manually handling it. Most of the good software can range from $200 per month, up to $1000 a month. You need to weigh up the traffic and customers you have who can refer.
You need to look at the flow of customers and the cost of the software to understand if the amount you spend on the software will be worth it. The software can sound exciting but you have the weigh up the cost against a personal approach.
If you have lots of customers on mass coming through the doors all the time, they are likely to refer you onward. This is particularly true if you make sure that the referral programme is juiced up.
For EverTrek, we do have customers en masse so we do need referral software. I’ve tested many different options out there within the range of pricing. The ones that come out on top are Referral Rock and Genius Referrals.
Referral Rock versus Genius Referrals
We could have used either of these and we are still in the testing stage. We are currently going with Referrals Rocks because it is very plug-and-play. Most of the software is very much plug-and-play but the complexity comes when you need to hook it up to your current tech. For example, for a referral to be qualified, it needs to speak to your system to know that the person has become a customer and then send the reward to the referer.
It is the set-up process that swung it for us in favour of Referal Rocks. Genius Referrals is extremely slick, and extremely smart looking, you can customise virtually everything. Referral Rocks have limited customisation. We could see why Genius Referral was more expensive but having built websites in the past, I could have set up Genius Referral. However, that is not the best use of my time. It would take far too long and wasn’t a linear system. So while the user interface looked pretty, it wasn’t straightforward.
However, Referral Rock takes you through the process step by step. You are being taken through a process and ticking things off. Genius Referral does this to a certain extent but not as much as Referral Rock. While Referral Rock has less customisation, it still looks great and takes up less time. I want simple, quick and easy.
But it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend Genius Referrals, it depends on your needs and capacity.
Make the referral programme juicy
My quick tip is when people enter the referral programme at EverTrek, they are entered into a prize draw to win a free trip. This is a competition with a much smaller pool of entrants. It’s the hook that gets customers to sign onto the scheme in the first place. You need a juicy golden carrot to get people excited about entering it immediately. This is in addition to referral rewards.
Our customers in EverTrek are hikers. As such they have an online community, walking groups and friends who enjoy the same hobby. So it makes sense that they would refer to en masse. We have a monetary reward. The first referral gets money, the second and everyone after gets £100 off their trip. Each referral gets and extra entry into a prize draw.
If someone wanted, they could make lots of referrals and get their trip for free. This might sound bonkers but think about the profit we would make from each of their referrals. We have put a cap on that they need to book a trip worth £1000 or more. We have thought about the terms and conditions around it. It’s important that you consider this and how you stop people from being fraudulent.
For example, we know customers might want to use their referral fee towards their deposit. For us, this is a problem as there is not enough commitment for them to go on that trip. We need monetary commitment to the trip and beyond that, they can use their referral on their trip. You need to be watertight on how your referrals work and how the rewards are unlocked.
Referrals and third-party credibility
We know that people love referring us already so some might question why offer rewards when people are already doing this.
The best thing about a referral is getting that third-party credibility. But having a referral scheme will supercharge this and incentivise people to do it more. We’re really excited about how this will incentivise people to refer more often.
How will the rewards benefit your business?
The system I have just described may not benefit your business. You’ve got to look at your profit, how you make money, value your time and how valuable is that other client to warrant the reward. But you need to make the reward juicy enough to incentivise referrals.
But this all depends on the kind of business you are. I always use the example of the gut-health coach. It might be that people are a bit cagey about sharing referrals as they don’t want to admit they have a dodgy tummy. So they might not want to make referrals.
This even applies to business coaching. Many people don’t want to admit that they’ve got a business coach as it means admitting they need help in their business. Which is ridiculous but we are human and those are our understandable fears.
This might need a more personalised approach where you give them templates to help refer. In the software, you click a button and will share the various ways that someone can share their referral. It’s quick and simple and that’s all they need to do.
When you ask for referrals on a personal level, you need to make it easy and okay for them to share. You might want to put wording together for them that they can tweak. Just make sure the reward is juicy enough as someone is putting their name and reputation on the line.
Make the referral scheme double-sided
Another consideration is making the referral scheme double-sided. So they refer and get a reward, plus the person they refer also gets a gift as well. This makes the person who does the referral feel like they are gifting something to another person. Rather than saying “I want you to buy from this link because I make money off it.”
You can help to allay this fear by writing out something for them to share. By also giving the end customers a gift, it becomes giving rather than just getting a kickback. You don’t want the referral to feel that way. It makes the whole experience feel hand-picked. It needs to be more thoughtful and feel geniune. And it needs to feel easy for the person doing the referring.
The amount of questions I get from clients about wording something effectively. What people appreciate is coaching someone through to respond. There is too much fear there to put something there themselves. The fear of sounding sleazy or accusing someone of having a problem. How does the referral feel to them? How should it sound? You can put that effort in at the front end once and it will help increase your sales.
Your customers who are happy are your biggest advocates and you don’t want to just rely on more advertisement and energy finding new clients when your existing clients can do that for you. We can sometimes miss this opportunity.
If you’re one of my clients, don’t be surprised if you see a message from me about a more personal referral campaign.
I would say cash rewards are a last resort as you want to point everything back to your business. But it may be that you have customers who do not need to return and buy again but can refer. In this situation, you could offer a cash reward.
You want to think about your business, what it feels like for your advocates, what would make life easier for them and what would feel good in their social groups. Often the templates in the software can sound corporate so you’ll need to put this into your brand voice and your customers’ voice.
You want to make it easily ammendable into their tone. You’ll get more response if they can simply click and share. Test to see what does and doesn’t work. Think about how referral plans might work in your own business but make sure the rewards are juicy enough.
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