7 Winning Strategies for Getting Referrals

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A referral is a good thing. Isn’t it? But how does it work when it comes to brands and businesses?

Let’s understand everything about referrals and how to get the most out of it.

What is Referral Marketing?

Referral marketing is a form of promotion where you let other people or referrals do the marketing for you. This acts as a reward system for referrers so that they will be encouraged to promote the brand and get more referrals for your business.

Why do you need to get more referrals for your business? Well, because it is profitable.

According to B2BNN, companies found that they earn 86% more revenue because of their referral program. 

It affects not just the company’s overall revenue. It can also improve closing time, conversion rate and get customers with higher lifetime value. 

Referral marketing is effective for many reasons.

First, people are 2x more likely to buy because of recommendations from friends. In fact, 92% of people tend to act on the promotions of the people they know. Also, companies grow through word of mouth. 90% of companies have done that. And referred customers tend to buy products at a higher rate. Because of this, referral marketing is the best form of advertising for it can give you loyal customers. 

Also, today’s customers are smart. They tend to seek reviews and referrals before they buy. According to Consumer Insights, 82% of customers tend to do that and 86% completely trust these recommendations from their family and friends. 

To understand how consumers trust their family and friends, you have to compare it to how they trust other types of content. You see, 92% of customers tend to trust family and friends compared to opinions, websites and online ads. They trust people that they personally know more than the brands that they see online. This is according to Business2Community.

In this article, you’ll learn some strategies on how you can start getting more referrals. 

Parts of a Referral Program

A referral program has 3 different parts. Each part is necessary before you can even create one for your business. 


A referral program starts with the actors. It is important that you understand this before you can design a system for them. There are two actors: the referrer and the friend. The referrer is the person doing the promotion. He promotes the website in exchange for a reward. The friend, on the other hand, is the person invited to the website. He acts on the promotion and may or may not get a reward. 


The reward is the bait. It encourages your referrers to take action. It is what motivates and drives them to get more referrals to your business. It is important to consider the different types. There are cash, discounts, free trials, and freebies. Cash rewards are ideal for services. It encourages your prospective customers to try out a service in return for some cash. It reduces the friction in signing up for a service. Discounts, on the other hand, are ideal for eCommerce websites. This allows customers to get a discount for the items that they have purchased. Free trials are great for software or services. It allows potential customers to try out a service or software before they buy. And then there are freebies. These can be special items that are given away for a limited time in exchange for referrals. You have to consider all of these if you want to find the right reward for your referral program. 


This is how the referrer will attain the prize for the referrals. It includes your desired action. This can be a sign-up, a promotion or a sale. For sign-ups, this is the contact detail capture for referrals. This may include their contact number or email. For promotions, it can be a share on social media. Social media engagements are considered as a desired action of promotion. A sale happens when the friend buys as a result of the promotion. This is often measured in affiliate programs but it can also be counted in referral programs as well. 

Now that you know the different parts, it is time to create your referral marketing system. In the next section, you’ll learn 7 strategies on how you can create one for your business.  


1 – Have a Referral Program

It all starts with having a referral program. You can only get referrals easily if you have a system in place. In this section, you’ll learn how to do that. 

How it Works

Creating a referral program is easy. Here are the steps. 

STEP 1: Define the Reward

It all starts with the reward. As mentioned, there are different types: cash, discount codes, freebies and free trials. You have to select the reward that is most compatible with the product or service that you provide and use that. You should define this so that you know what to put in the details.  

STEP 2: Define Who to Reward

As mentioned, every referral program has different actors. It is important to discern the difference between the two so that you’ll know who to reward. Every referral campaign has a referrer and friend. The most commonly awarded actor is the referrer. But it is advisable that both are rewarded for a more successful campaign. This removes the friction in signing up and will encourage both actors to participate in the program.

STEP 3: Create Your Program

Next, you can proceed to the creation process. For this, you’ll need referral marketing software. This is designed to craft a referral program based on your website platform. Be sure to check that the software is compatible with your platform. If it is Shopify, get an app. If it is WordPress, get a plugin 

2 – Have a Referral Contest

You can also get more creative with your referral campaign by turning it into a contest. This helps in getting more marketers on board. This will encourage them to further promote your referral program. Unlike normal referrers who only receive one reward, you can also give away prizes that your customers can unlock depending on the number of referrals they made. A company doing an awesome job at referral marketing is hunting bow Labs which helps companies to find hunting bows.

How it Works

Creating a referral contest is easy especially if it is already built in the software. Here is how you can create one in 3 easy steps. 

STEP 1: Have a Referral Program

Start by creating a program with the software. You need this so that you have something to promote. The prizes are given away based on the number of referrals generated. 

STEP 2: Create a Referral Contest

Next, you can upgrade your existing program and create a contest. You can easily do this if you have referral software (or a Woocommerce affiliate plugin if you are on WordPress). You can set up a contest to encourage more people to promote your referral campaign. Best Drums Set Labs did this successfully. 

STEP 3: Invite Influencers

The easiest way to get your referral campaign off the ground is to contact influencers. This doesn’t need to be celebrity influencers with millions of followers. Even micro-influencers with a few followers will do. Having them on board ensures that your contest will be a success for you have people with a considerable amount of followers doing the promotion for you. 

3 – Improve Your Products and Processes

Your brand is only known for your products and processes. If you do good in any of these areas, people will likely talk about it. So it is very important to be more proactive when it comes to looking at and improving your products and processes. This is good for sales and to stop shopping cart abandonment

How it Works

STEP 1: Take an Honest Look at Your Existing Products

It all starts with knowing the products. What makes them attractive to your customers and why does your customer choose you over your competition? Try to think beyond the features of your product. Think about the experience that it is creating. This will help you point out how you can improve your products or improve the experience or story that goes along with it. 

STEP 2: Check your Customer Service 

The next area that is worth the check is customer service. More than your products, you should also look at how well you are assisting your customers. If this needs to improve, do it. If you don’t do that, your customers will talk about it and it will hurt your chances of getting more referrals. 

STEP 3: Ask your Customers

Lastly, you can just ask for customer feedback. Ask them about what they think about your products and services and how you can improve. This is a more proactive approach than mere observation for you are asking your customers directly. This will also help you gain insights about your product and service experience that you may have not noticed if not for your customers. 

4 – Create Referral Programs with Influencers

One of the fastest ways to gain more referrals is to ask the help of influencers. Influencers are often content creators. They are present on various social channels and have a considerable amount of followers. In this section, you’ll learn how to ask for help from these influencers. 

How it Works

STEP 1: Find a Target Influencer

The process begins with influencer research. This is done by searching for influencers in your niche and taking note of their contact information. This can be their email or contact numbers along with their social media profiles. Once you have the data, you can now organize these in a spreadsheet. 

NOTE: it is important to only select influencers that are relevant to your brand. You will collaborate with them to create a referral system so it is important that their target market is similar or relevant to yours.

STEP 2: Create a Referral Campaign for Each Influencer

Once you have a list of influencers, it is time to choose your target influencer and create a referral program around his brand. This is an exclusive referral campaign that is designed just for the influencer’s followers. 

STEP 3: Work with the Influencer to Promote it

It is important that you contact the influencer during the entire process. You have the option to create the campaign before you approach the influencer or you can create it only with their approval. The first option is ideal for influencers who don’t have a lot of time. With this model, they can start promoting right away. On the other hand, the influencer may also want to help in the creation process. So ask them if they liked the page that you have created. If not, they can assist you in creating a new page for promotion. 

5 – Create Products with Influencers

You can also work with influencers by collaborating on products. Unlike other promotion systems, this is a surefire way to get influencers to promote your business. 

How it Works

STEP 1: Find Your Target Influencer

Again, it all begins with influencer research. You need to find the right influencer to work with. This influencer will represent your brand and your products so it is very important that he or she resonates with your brand. Again, keep all the influencers that you have researched in a spreadsheet. This will help you to easily keep track of their contact information. 

STEP 2: Propose Collaborated Products

Once you have a list of target influencers, it is time to brainstorm a list of potential products that you can create with them. You have to think of a brand new product that will fuse your brand with theirs. This can take some time and it helps if you ask for the influencer’s feedback in the process. 

STEP 3: Ask the Influencer to Promote It

Once you have your product idea, it is just a matter of execution. You now have to see the product come to life and watch as the influencer promotes it out of his own free will. 

6 – Have Upgrade Rewards

Another approach that you can incorporate into your referral system is to have upgrade rewards. This is where you reward customers who get better or more expensive products from you. 

How it Works

STEP 1: Prepare your One-Time Offers or Product Upgrade

You can only implement this if you have product upgrades, to begin with. If you don’t have this, create it. You can just add one or two new elements to the upgrade and it is all good.

NOTE: The new features must be attractive enough for potential customers to take you up on the offer. 

STEP 2: Setup Rewards for Upgrades

Now, you will start to reward upgrades as well. When a customer upgrades a product, you give them points or you give them extra perks.

STEP 3: Advertise Your Upgrade Rewards

The word about unique reward systems like this spreads fast. This is what happened to Best Hunting Bow Labs and it was a success. So be sure to advertise that you are giving away upgrade rewards, it may result in more referrals. 

7 – Have Recurring Benefits

Another form of reward is recurring benefits. This is where you implement a membership system and your customer gets continuous benefits from your brand just from being a member.

How it Works

STEP 1: Implement a Point System

This starts with your point system. Think about the rewards that you will give away and if it is attractive enough to your market. 

STEP 2: Explain How Recurring Benefits Happen

Also, think about how the rewards will be distributed. Will you implement a sales threshold? It all depends on you. 

STEP 3: Promote it on Social Media

Once you have a recurring benefit system membership, you have to let your prospective customers know about it. The best place for it is social media. 

As you can see, there are so many creative ways to get referrals. It is all about utilizing these strategies so that you can get more referrals for your business.  

Juned Ghanchi is a co-founder & CMO at IndianAppDevelopers Company, offers to hire app developers in India to create software for mobile devices. Juned has more than 10 years of marketing and digital strategist with extensive social experience.

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