While some people enjoy maintaining their lawns, a significant number of people lack either the time, knowledge, or the ability to do so. As a result, countless homeowners and businesses trust landscaping companies like yours to enhance the appeal of their properties. But which landscaper to choose?

Standing out from the competition can be difficult, but you’ve got a secret weapon – recommendations from existing loyal customers. An intelligent strategy to distinguish your business from the competition, and tap into a market of potential customers, is by establishing a landscaping referral program. Here’s how to do just that.

What is a landscaping referral program?

A landscaping referral program lets you leverage your existing customer relationships and turn them into a source of acquiring new clients. It involves rewarding your existing customers for successfully referring a friend or family member to your landscaping, mowing, or lawn care business.

Implementing a formal customer referral program (with referral software) allows you to monitor the referrals your customers make. Tracking this referral data can help you gauge the effectiveness of your referral program.

weed man franchise referral program

Why do you need a landscaping referral program?

Landscaping projects often require a considerable investment. Therefore, potential customers tend to spend a significant amount of time researching and comparing various service providers in their vicinity. But people are more likely to trust a brand recommended to them by a friend. If someone’s friend recommends your landscaping services, the person who received the recommendation is more likely to hire you. This aspect provides an excellent opportunity to capitalize on a landscaping referral program.

Unlike other advertising solutions such as Google Ads, referral programs are low-risk and require minimal financial resources. After all, you only need to pay once for referral software – and after that, you only pay when a client referral results in a sale. You aren’t spending blindly like you would with traditional ads.

54% of marketers report that implementing a referral program significantly reduces the cost-per-lead.  And when it comes to lead quality, a majority of marketers place referral-generated leads in their top three sources.

landscaping referral program description

Referral software for landscapers [Free Tools]

These referral tools for landscapers are a free and easy way to help you start your referral program.

Free Tools + Services:

Want a fully automated referral program for your landscaping business? Run your referral program with us at Referral Rock. Find out how we can build your program with you (and tailor it to your unique needs)

Are you ready for a landscaping referral program?

Even with all these benefits, not every landscaping business is ready to start a referral program. You’ll need the following essentials in place – before you launch the program –  for the program to be a success:

  • A pool of existing customers who love your work – ideally, some of them should already be recommending your services without prompting
  • A customer experience worth recommending, from first phone call to last finishing touches
  • A high level of customer satisfaction, including high ratings from customer reviews 
  • A website to send referred leads to

Landscaping referral program best practices

Once you decide to roll out a referral program, knowing the right steps and implementing them effectively can ensure your program kicks off on a high note. Here are a few best practices to create an effective referral program.

Select your referral rewards carefully

The relevance and value of the rewards you offer play a crucial role in attracting participants to your referral program. 

Offering a double-sided reward strategy can be especially beneficial, as this rewards not just the referrer but also the new client. This will both motivate frequent referrals and motivate the referred friends to employ you for landscaping services.

landscape double side reward

The best rewards for the referring customer (or advocate) depend on whether you did a one-time landscaping project or you’re continuing to maintain their lawn or landscaping on a regular basis.

  • Credits toward future services are a good choice if the advocate pays for recurring landscaping or lawn care services.
  • Cash, Visa gift cards, gift cards to other businesses, referral gift baskets, and travel- or event-based rewards are great options for the advocate if they aren’t receiving recurring services.

Rewards for the referred friend should always be directly tied back to your services, to encourage the friend to seek landscaping services from you.

  • Discount coupons, credits toward the project, cash back after the project is paid for, and free or discounted added services are great friend rewards.

Also, consider offering bigger rewards for referrals to higher-level services. For instance, if you service both home and business clients, you should give out bigger rewards for business referrals as they tend to be worth more to your business.

landscaping residential referral deal

Start a referral contest to motivate more sharing

Integrating an element of competition, in the form of referral contests, can significantly boost customer engagement. This strategy motivates participants to make as many referrals as possible for the tantalizing prize at stake.

In a referral contest, you enter referrers into a drawing for a larger reward, like season passes or a tech item – one referral equals one drawing entry. Or, you might give an added reward to whoever has the most successful referrals in a year.

If you choose to run a contest, though, make sure that you still give set rewards for every referral – everyone who brings in new business should win something. 

Choose the right referral software

Efficient software is vital when setting up a referral program. The right referral software will streamline your program creation process and automate all aspects of program management.

Thanks to the referral links it generates, referral software lets you track exactly where every referral came from and instantly issue rewards for successful referrals. It also collects program data that you can use to measure success and refine your program for optimum results.

Referral Rock software offers best-in-class referral tracking, sharing, and engagement experiences, with concierge onboarding – no developers required. 

Ensure easy sharing

Make sure that the referral process is easy for your existing customers. Customers should be able to access the program and share with friends in as few clicks or taps as possible. 

And once they’re on the referral page, it should be easy to understand what to do:

  • Create an enticing headline that states exactly what customers should do (share) and what’s in it for them (the reward)
  • Concisely explain the program (and what must be done for the rewards to be earned) in a few steps
  • Include an easy-to-find call to action button to get customers sharing
  • Direct customers to an FAQ page if they have other questions
  • Give multiple options for sharing, based on the ways that customers naturally share things they love with friends (including email, social media, and a unique referral link that customers can copy and share anywhere)

weed man referral rewards

Design a simple referral form

Landscaping and lawn care referral programs tend to ask for a lot of information, but too many required fields can make things overwhelming. Only ask for the info you need to track who the referral came from and contact the new lead. 

Consider one of these simple lead form combinations:

  • Referrer name, phone number, and email; lead name, phone number, and email
  • Referrer name and email; lead name, phone number, and email
  • Referrer name and email, lead name and email

Promote your program in lots of places

You’ve put in a lot of effort to design your landscaping referral program, but that effort won’t mean anything if you don’t let your customers know the program exists! People need to know about your program for it to generate new sales, so be sure to promote your program:

  • On your website (place a hero image or banner where it’s easy to find, and/or buttons in the top and bottom menus)
  • In mass emails focused on your program, sent to all clients
  • Through social media posts
  • In conversations with clients, when you know a client is satisfied
  • In personal referral emails sent to your most satisfied clients
  • In news/update emails, confirmation emails, invoices, and other emails unrelated to your referral program
  • In email signatures and social media bios

Train your staff to share your program

Your staff can play a significant role in promoting your referral program. Train them to regularly talk with customers about your referral program and its benefits, including right after landscaping projects they know have gone well. In doing so, your staff become reliable sources of information which strengthens your relationship with your customers. 

Also, consider providing your staff with referral cards that they can hand out at various touchpoints such as home shows, community events, or even door-to-door. This helps to keep your referral program at the forefront of both your staff’s and customers’ minds. Just be sure to connect those cards with the digital element 

In addition to talking about your referral program, your staff should be well-versed in how it works so they can answer any questions accurately and confidently.

While these programs traditionally relied on manual referrals, the advent of digital technology has revolutionized the referral landscape. With the help of a uniquely generated link, you can keep a tab on the leads and link them to the correct customer automatically, providing an effortless tracking experience.

Know when to ask for referrals

One of the best ways to get referrals is to ask, since you’re conversing with the client regularly during the landscaping project and have built a relationship. Once you’ve completed a landscaping project, and the final invoice has been settled, it might be an appropriate time to ask for referrals – but not always.

Ask customers for referrals when you know they’re happiest and you are top of mind, such as when:

  • You’ve completed a project
  • You’ve received a positive review from them
  • You’ve received a positive social media comment from them
  • They give you great in-person feedback
  • You know they were satisfied, and you’re sending an invoice
  • You know they’ve already recommended you outside of your referral program

Send the lead a personal note from the referrer

It’s also key to optimize your referral program process on the referred friend’s end. The message sent to the referred friend through your program is often their first impression of your business. 

It’s best to have the referrer write the message and explain why they are recommending you. 

But you can also prompt the referrer with ideas to include in the message, or even include an editable message (from their perspective) that they could send as is. 

Regardless of how you choose to format the message, be sure to show the rewards that their peer has sent them, which will be available once they purchase services from you. Also, include an eye-catching CTA above the fold, to entice the friend to take action.

Thank customers for referrals

Thanking customers for referrals encourages them to make more referrals, because they feel appreciated. So, be sure to send a personal thank you note (preferably written) whenever someone’s referral results in a purchase. You might also post a public thank you for the referral on your social media page

As customers continue to provide referrals, being appreciative of their efforts doesn’t just increase goodwill but also retains their loyalty. Besides the incentives they receive, a simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way in motivating them to continue referring your business.

Incorporate testimonials 

As you aim to foster a successful referral program, don’t underestimate the power of positive customer testimonials. In a world where consumers are increasingly turning to online reviews, a heartfelt testimonial can sway indecisive prospects in your favor. It’s a word-of-mouth recommendation you can display on your website, and can pack a big punch in your marketing strategy.

Customer testimonials reinforce the trust factor and enable customers to feel more comfortable with their decision to choose your company. Why not ask your top referrers for testimonials, since you know they’re already eager to recommend you?

Concluding thoughts

The landscaping industry has been witnessing substantial growth, so you need effective strategies to stay abreast of the competition. While various marketing methods involve a significant investment, leveraging a landscaping referral program can be cost-efficient and rewarding. A well-devised referral program, in not just acquiring new customers but also nurturing relationships with existing ones, can contribute significantly to the growth of your landscaping business.