How To Create Successful Customer Referral Programs for Small Businesses


The Ironistic team provides tips on how to create a successful customer referral program by leveraging your existing loyal customers to help attract new business.

Make it easy for you, but valuable for your customers.

To create a successful customer referral program, you first need to make your existing customers fall in love with you. Do this by providing them with consistent high-quality service, fast response times, or a great product that solves their needs.

Once you have that part down, depending on your industry, it could be as easy as asking your most loyal customers to provide referrals. Other industries or customer personas may need some extra motivation. This is where customer referral programs for small businesses can be a great addition to your bag of tricks.

There are many types of customer referral programs. The key to success is finding something that your organization will be able to maintain and monitor regularly while also providing enough value to your customer to make it worth their time.

If you’re looking for some help coming up with the perfect strategy for building a customer referral program for your business, contact our team of digital consulting experts! We would love to help.

– Hannah Taylor, Director of Integrated Marketing
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Don’t begin without a solid plan.

It’s super important to outline your goals for any customer referral or loyalty program and create a plan for how you’re going to reach out to your current customers. Make sure you’ve identified exactly what your referral incentives are going to be — this is the most important step. Your incentives need to be something that will really capture your customers’ attention, and they need to be good!

– Rebecca Howard, Marketing Assistant

Fine-tune those incentives.

Creating a successful customer referral program comes down to carefully fine-tuning the incentives. You’ll want to make sure both parties feel rewarded for recruiting a new customer, but you also don’t want to overdo it. Be careful not to create loopholes in the system that customers will take advantage of, but also let the customers feel accomplished for increasing your business with good discounts or extra services.

– David Shayne, Frontend Developer

Make it worth their while.

Be sure to answer the customers’ questions: What’s in it for me? Keep referral programs simple to avoid putting the burden on the customer. Make it easy, fun and worth the referral. Complicated referral programs may deter participation.

– Lori Malcolm, Content Writer

Have golden-rule customer service.

A successful customer referral program starts with successful customer service. Consider how you’d like to be treated when you’re the customer and make sure that’s what your company is doing.

Make it easy for the customer to ask questions — a chat feature is great for that. Attention spans are getting shorter, so when a customer has a question while they’re shopping but don’t get an answer, they may abandon their cart. If they receive an answer right away, however, they’re more likely to complete their purchase and tell others about the great, quick service your company provided.

– MaryAnn Jacobsen, Human Resources

Use easy tools & incentivize.

Have incentives (one workout place I go to gives you points, and you can use that to claim little things — kind of like Iron Accolades) Easy referrals via email or social media (click of a button with pre-written text) are smart too.

– Sarah Kelley, Project Manager

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