In today’s fast-paced world, referrals are one of the most effective ways to expand your network and find new clients or customers (regardless of the size of business). This is because it’s been proven that referrals can help you build both trust and credibility, thus expanding your reach.
However, referrals don’t happen by chance. That’s why it’s crucial to show your appreciation to those who do refer you to their friends. Plus, a referral thank you note can help keep your referral campaign going.
A thank you note is not only a polite gesture, but it’s also an opportunity to maintain positive relationships and build a professional reputation.
Let’s dive into the ins and outs of thank you notes for referrals. We’ll also cover a few great examples that utilize these best practices.
What is a thank you note for referrals?
A thank you note for a referral (or referral thank you letter) is a message that helps you express gratitude to someone who has specifically referred you to a potential client. It’s your opportunity to show your appreciation and inform customers of potential rewards for their help in growing your business.
This could be an automated message sent as part of a formal referral program, or even a handwritten letter sent outside of a formalized program. Email and mail tend to be the most utilized methods business use for sending a referral thank you note.
However, depending on your clientele and how you best communicate with them, something more informal like a text message may work as well. You may even consider a phone call, but this option typically only makes sense for businesses who regularly call clients. It may not make sense if you do not have that level of a relationship with the client.
Why write thank you notes for referrals?
When they refer you, a customer is going out of their way to help your business grow. A customer is not required to give a referral, but when they do, they are doing you a favor by bringing in high-quality and loyal customers. Because of this, it’s important to express your gratitude, even if the act of referring only takes a few seconds.
By taking the time to write a thank-you note, you are not only showing your appreciation for the referral, but you are also building a relationship with the person who made the referral. This small act of kindness can actually go a long way. You’ll build rapport with your customer, which is great for retention – and you can prime more referrals to happen.
Let’s recap the reasons why writing thank-you notes for referrals is important:
Shows appreciation: Writing a thank-you note is a simple way to show your appreciation for someone who has referred business to you. It shows that you value the effort they put into making the referral.
Builds relationship: By taking the time to write thank-you notes, you are further establishing a relationship. This small act can show that you care about their loyalty and are grateful for their support. This is true regardless of if the note is hand written and personal or sent as part of an email campaign.
Increases referrals: When you show appreciation for referrals, and build your relationship with referring customers through an act of thanks, this increases the likelihood that they will refer more business to you in the future. People are more likely to support you the more they trust you. Writing a thank-you note is a great way to build on the already high trust that your customers have in you, and encourage more referrals to happen.
Saying thanks is just a nice thing to do, especially when a referral isn’t something a customer is required to give. With that being said, let’s explore a few types of thank you notes you could use.
Referral thank you notes: What type should you use?
You have options when it comes to saying thanks. Whether you choose to hand write and personalize every detail or use a templated approach is up to you.
Your three main options are:
- Sending a fully personalized note. Personal notes are great for small businesses, super-advocates who have made many referrals, advocates who have referred significant business clients, or anyone who wants to give a note with a human touch.
- Sharing the same program thank you email to every referrer. Many larger brands send heavily templated messages as their referral thank you notes, as these messages can be automated whenever a referral is successful.
- Using a templated note with some personalized elements. You can also go somewhere in between – start with a templated part of the message that you send everyone, and then personalize a line or two of the note. Simply adding the customer’s name is a really nice touch.
You’ll also want to consider the execution of the note. You could send a handwritten note in the mail, or send an email thank you note. These are the two most common ways to say thanks for a referral.
- For personalized notes: If you plan to send a heavily personalized note, handwritten and mailed is usually the best call. Mailing a note will add impact.
- For templates: Templated notes are fine to send by email, and make sense for most businesses.
These aren’t the only things to think about, however. Let’s explore what other aspects of referral thank you notes you need to consider.
Referral thank you notes: Tone and length
The tone and length of your referral thank you note also need a bit of attention. These notes should be simple, friendly, and professional.
The tone of your note will vary based on your brand’s voice and the type of note you choose. Remember, this is a thank you note, so a very lengthy letter probably won’t make sense.
Here are some things to consider:
- Stay conversational. Templated notes should be conversational and in your brand’s voice. They should also come across warm and inviting, to help reiterate your appreciation, especially if you are thanking an individual customer.
- However, this isn’t always the case. Personal notes should be more formal if you’re a B2B to help keep your professional relationship intact.
- Thanking a business customer where the relationship is warmer? Strike a balance between conversational and professional.
- Keep it short. Generally, referral thank you notes are short, like 1-2 short paragraphs. The key here is to respect the customer’s time, but cover all the essential points to show appreciation.
With those points in mind, let’s further discuss how to write the different types of thank you notes for referrals (while considering both tone and length).
How to write a referral thank you note? (Writing a personal note)
Personalized notes need to be on the warmer side. If you’re considering this type of note, you likely have built a good rapport with the client and can lean more towards a warm and friendly message.
Remember, writing a warm and personal referral thank you note is a thoughtful gesture. It really helps you show your appreciation to someone who has helped you out by providing a referral. These types of referral thank you notes are perfect for large-sum transactions or someone who you have worked with for a while.
Here are some steps to follow:
Warm greeting with customer’s name
The best way to get personal is by using someone’s name. If you are writing a personal thank you note, you should always begin by addressing the person by name.
But, your greeting should include more than just the customer’s name. You need to also make it clear that the note’s from you (the individual sending it and the brand). By starting with these, you’ll not only open the letter with maximum personalization, but allow the customer to connect or remember who you are.
Appreciation for the referral
This is the main part of the message, the actual thank you. You do not need to go overboard, but you do need to get your point across.
Thank the customer for the referral they sent, and be specific about the referral(s) they made. You can mention the name of the new referred customer or business, and add even more specific details if you wish. You may even want to talk about how the referrals have helped your business – and/or how the referrals help their peers.
Regardless of your exact wording, this is the spot to show your appreciation that they trust you enough to refer their friends.
Reward for the referral
Another important aspect of the thank you note is to recap any rewards. This acts as a reminder of what they’ve accomplished, and can be the tipping point that encourages future referrals.
This short sentence can really pack a punch in your thank you note, and can also remind that more rewards are available if they keep referring. (If you have a formalized referral program and are sending the note via email, this is a great place to link to your referral program page.)
You’ve mentioned them by name, you reminded them of who you are, said thanks, and confirmed referral thank you gifts – now you’re ready to sign off. You can add just one last single sentence that thanks the referrer again. Finally, close the letter by signing it personally.
Remember to keep your message brief and to the point. A warm and personal referral thank you note should be heartfelt and genuine.
How to write a referral thank you note? (Writing a broader thank you to all successful advocates)
Let’s move into the more mass style thank you notes. Because these are sent to everyone, it’s important to make them feel sincere and thoughtful.
You also want to make it ‘generic’ enough that it makes sense for every situation and for every customer. Here are a few items to think about with this kind of note.
Opening with customer’s name
Though these notes are sent to everyone, it’s still important to add touches of personalization. First names, and even mentioning the referral’s name, are easily done by setting a few parameters in your email template.
But, as you’ll notice later, many brands use more generic “catch-all” introductions (and still have a great thank you note). When the note is not handwritten, there is more leniency in skipping the name altogether. With that being said, our pro tip would be to use their name.
Appreciation for the referral
This is the main point of the message – your chance to thank the customer for the referral they sent. You can also use this time to mention how the referral has helped your business, and/or how the referral has helped their friend.
Again, one or two sentences will work great as you don’t want to be too lengthy.
Reward for the referral
Just as with the personal, handwritten note we mentioned above, it’s best to reiterate any referral rewards in your thank you note. Mention the reward and what the customer should expect next or instructions on how to redeem the reward, if necessary.
By mentioning the reward, you may encourage future referrals to happen. Plus, it’s a great way to remind customers of the future referral rewards at stake.
Finish off with a thanks and a quick signature. Since you likely prompted them to want to keep referring (saying thanks, and mentioning rewards help with this), you can include a CTA that leads to your referral program page.
Referral thank you note template: Personal note (B2C #1)
Personal thank yous are always nice, especially for a B2C customer. In this example, you’ll see the term “trust” mentioned. Specific anecdotes do not need to be mentioned, but by using the word “trust,” you can let the customer know you appreciate that they trust you enough to refer people to you.
Referral thank you note template: Personal note (B2C #2)
Alternatively, you could express how their referral has helped your business. In this example, ‘help us grow’ is a great way to say thanks and to also reiterate that because of their referral your business gets to flourish (this is especially great for small businesses to touch on).
Referral thank you note template: Personal note (B2B)
Not all personal notes will be for B2C’s. Some B2B relationships may warrant a more personal note. This example keeps the tone professional, but friendly. It also mentions the word ‘trust’, which is great in further establishing a long term relationship.
More referral thank you note examples
Let’s dive into some thank you note examples. These ones are aimed towards everyone, so all advocates within these programs receive this same message. Let’s see what they do well and what best practices they have used from the ones we mentioned above.
Note: you do not need to hit on every single best practice mentioned to have a good referral thank you note.
Everyone knows about the Levi’s brand. But, did you know they offer a rewards and referral program? In their program, the customer will receive the thank you note and reward as soon as one of their referrals signs up for an account (regardless of whether the referral makes a purchase).
What’s done well: They kept the note short and sweet. There is a great hero image and big. bold headline that lets the customer know exactly what the message will be about. Though they didn’t use the customer’s name or their referral’s name, we still think this thank you note works really well.
Best practices used: Reward for the referral, CTA as the wrap up.
The Morning Brew referral program is very robust and active. Their thank you note for referrals really reflects this. They not only give a nice little pat on the back, but they give insight for future rewards and provide an image of the reward that the reader is currently being awarded with.
What’s done well: We like the banter used here. It’s a unique way of recapping what the customer did and why they are receiving this email. Since they offer a tiered referral program, we really like that Morning Brew also discusses how many referrals are needed to hit the next tier. It’s a great way to prompt more referrals.
Best practices used: Appreciation for the referral, Reward for the referral, CTA as the wrap up.
Halara seems to hit on every best practice we mention, all while keeping the thank you note concise and to the point. The message is personalized and seems really sincere. This referral thank you note is sent after a referral signs up for an account on the Halara website.
What’s done well: They use a nice referral program image to reiterate there are more rewards at stake. Despite this email being sent to all customers with a successful referral, the message is personalized – which is a really nice touch. They follow the best practices perfectly, we give this one an A+.
Best practices used: Uses customer and referral names, Appreciation for the referral, Reward for the referral, CTA and signature as the wrap up.
The Quickbooks referral program is very straightforward and so is their referral thank you note. They keep the note rather short, but they mention all the necessary information.