Watch a 5 Minute Demo

What is your company email address?
What is your country/permanent residence?
In which state do you live?
Privacy Policy - By signing up, I agree with Iterable's Privacy Policy. I understand that I am signing up to Iterable Marketing emails and I can unsubscribe at any time.
Form footer image
What is your first name?
What is your last name?
What is your company email address?
What is your company's name?
What is your country/permanent residence?
In which state do you live?
Privacy Policy - By signing up, I agree with Iterable's Privacy Policy. I understand that I am signing up to Iterable Marketing emails and I can unsubscribe at any time.

Schedule a demo to learn more.

What is your country/permanent residence?
Please provide how many emails are you sending per month
Please provide your current Email Provider
Privacy Policy - By signing up, I agree with Iterable's Privacy Policy. I understand that I am signing up to Iterable Marketing emails and I can unsubscribe at any time.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Form footer image
Thank you !

Thanks for contacting us, we’ll be in touch shortly.

What is Customer Referral Marketing?

Referral marketing is a powerful tactic for garnering more business. Studies have found that word-of-mouth, or, referral marketing, is directly responsible for 19% of all purchases, and positive feedback about brands or products from friends or family influences up to 90% of all sales. However, just a fraction of brands have an actual strategy in place for soliciting positive testimonials from customers to recruit their friends and family members.

Building a customer referral marketing strategy means you’re putting a plan into place to solicit customer referrals rather than simply hoping it’ll happen. Here are some strategies for building a strong customer referral marketing program that will help you acquire new customers and build a lasting relationship with them.

Why Customer Referrals Matter

Friends and family recommendations are the most credible form of recommendations, with 83% of consumers saying they trust peer-to-peer marketing over any other form of marketing. No matter how clever your ad campaign may be, getting a product recommendation from someone a customer trusts, who they know won’t steer them wrong, carries a lot more weight.

When you’re focusing on customer acquisition, it’s important to focus not only on raising brand awareness among new customers, but also on ensuring that existing customers help you promote your product. By providing “social proof” from people that your prospects trust, you’ll be able to win them over from the get-go, rather than battling against competitors to prove your value.

How to Create a Customer Referral Marketing Program

So how do you get your happy customers to spread the word to their friends and family? Sometimes it may happen organically, but you’re likely to achieve much higher visibility if you put a dedicated marketing strategy in place focused on getting your existing customers to recommend your brand.

To do that, you need to both ask, and provide incentives. Here are a few ideas:

Ask for Testimonials and Reviews

When a product gets delivered to a customer makes a purchase, follow up with a post-purchase campaign soon after it’s been delivered, asking them to review the product or write a testimonial. You can incentivize them to share the review on their social platforms by offering a special discount on their next purchase. To make sure they don’t overlook your request, you can go beyond sending an email, and launch a cross-channel campaign to reach them on all of the marketing channels they might use, incorporating email, SMS, push notifications, in-app messages, and even direct mail to connect with your customers and encourage them to add and share a review.

Crowdsource for User-Generated Content via Social Media

Ask your existing customers to participate in your social media activities by posting photos that incorporate your brand. For example, if you’re a shoe brand, you can ask for customers to share photos of their outfits featuring your shoes on Instagram and tag your brand. Their friends and followers will see the tagged post, and your brand can also re-share it and populate your feed with user-generated content (UGC) to inspire your existing followers.

Use Influencer Marketing

Social media influencers work hard to cultivate genuine relationships with their followers, resulting in their followers often having higher levels of trust in them compared to mainstream celebrities. Identify influencers who have platforms that are relevant to your target audience and your brand values, and offer them free products to try out and review on their social media platforms. By leveraging their influence, you’ll likely be able to convert new followers if they give your brand a positive review.

“Forward to a Friend”

In your marketing campaigns, you can include clear CTAs for your subscribers to forward your email or SMS messages to a contact, or to share the promotion with their social channels. You can incentivize them to do this by unlocking a promotional code when they share, or rewarding them with loyalty points that can be redeemed for free gifts.

Make sure to use all the marketing channels at your disposal to solicit referrals, creating a workflow template that moves from one channel to the next if the customer doesn’t take action on the first one you try. Using a marketing automation platform like Iterable, you can personalize your sequences on a user-by-user basis to optimize them for the channel each user engages with most.

A Sustainable Form of Customer Acquisition & Retention

Traditional forms of customer acquisition are expensive. Brands typically need to invest heavily in targeted advertisements and substantial discounts to attract new customers. And, if your targeting isn’t on track, you might have limited success in converting new customers.

In contrast, customer referral marketing provides a sustainable way to continually generate new leads from a highly relevant and qualified pool: the friends and family members of your existing customers. These prospects are already primed to trust you because of their existing connection to your brand, so it’s much easier to nurture and convert them versus someone who has no existing connections to your brand. It also helps you solidify a strong connection with the customers who provide referrals, turning them into loyal advocates for your brand.

By developing a customer referral marketing strategy that uses cross-channel engagement to connect with your customers across all of the channels they use, you can make the most of opportunities to incentivize referrals, testimonials, and reviews. You can use your marketing automation solution to understand their behavior and identify the right point in time and channel for conducting outreach, when they’ll be most likely to engage and respond positively. Done right, your customer referral marketing strategy will help you continually bring in new customers sustainably and affordably.

Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Cinemark, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Discover our growth marketing solutions for personalization, increasing customer engagement, and more. Discover our platform and schedule a demo today.