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Most Comprehensive Guide to Referral Programs [38+ Resources]

People trust their friends’ recommendations more than any other source when they decide whether to purchase from your brand. So, when your happy customers talk about your products, that’s free advertising! But it can be hard to control when your satisfied customers spread the word about your company. 

Referral marketing programs help you harness the power of customer recommendations by making it easier, and more rewarding, for your customers to share your brand with friends. They formalize and simplify the sharing process, and usually give customers an incentive for referring. 

Whether you’re investigating referral programs as a way to acquire new customers, about to start your first referral program, or looking for tips to refine an existing referral program, our referral program resource hub has you covered!

Referral Rewards and Incentives

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What You’ll Learn:

How should you reward your customers for referring their friends—with cash, store credits, free products, or something else?  And how should you structure your program’s rewards? Referral rewards play a critical role, learn all about referral incentives here. 

Messaging and Promoting Your Program

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What You’ll Learn:

For your referral program to be successful, you’ll need to make sure your loyal customers know about it. Learn how to spread the word about your referral program in these articles and get the messaging to resonate.

Best Ideas and Program Examples

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What You’ll Learn:

Need inspiration for designing your referral program? These models of successful referral programs will help.

Why Programs Fail

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What You’ll Learn:

To determine if your referral program is successful, you’ll need to measure ROI (your return on investment). Learn how to do so, what metrics you should track, and reasons why referral programs fail, in these articles.

Referral Software, Automation, and Tracking

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What You’ll Learn:

Learn whether automating your referral program with referral marketing software is the best decision for your business, and compare different referral software services. 

Wrap-up of Referral Program Tips

Referral programs are like most marketing campaigns – it’s all about your audience. Focus on your audience and what they want, especially when planning messaging and incentives.

Promote, promote, promote!  – Even if you design a stellar referral program, it won’t do well if your customers don’t know about it.

Put in the time – Starting and maintaining a referral program will take more time than you think.

Keep track of progress – Be sure to set up tracking to monitor how well your referral program meets your goals.  Once your referral program is live, don’t leave it be. It can always be optimized and improved upon.
 Use the data gathered from tracking to guide you towards making the best changes.

Set reasonable expectations – You’re probably not going to grow like Dropbox and Uber just because you have a referral program.