How to Start a Referral Campaign

Referral campaign

If you’re looking for a way to grow your business, the answer might be right in front of you. It’s time to start thinking about how to start a referral campaign that will help you get new customers and spread your brand awareness. 

With the right marketing strategy, the referral process can be an effective tool for gyms and wellness businesses who are trying to make their first few waves into their local communities. You may not know where to start with this process, but it doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive. 

Referrals are important for your business, but you should avoid pushing too hard when asking for them. Especially if you have loyal customers, they’re likely to talk about your business with their friends and family without being asked. If you maintain a persistent referral campaign–and show real appreciation for every referred friend you receive–your campaign will eventually catch on and you’ll receive more referrals from your happy customers.

What is a Referral Campaign

What is referral campaign

There is no doubt that referrals increase sales. When it comes to making new purchases, more than half of Americans rely on word-of-mouth.

Yet, many companies are struggling to maximize the results of their referral programs. In most cases, referral programs are not promoted properly, so companies lose money and customers. 

Word-of-mouth marketing programs usually have a list of successful referrers responsible for increasing the number of customers you get by spreading the word about your brand or company. 

One way to increase referrals is to run referral campaigns. Successful customer referral programs include marketing tactics to inform people about the referral program’s benefits. Referral marketing is a way of turning your current customers into brand advocates who can give you referred customers.

Why Should You Plan Your Referral Campaign

When you treat your referral marketing campaign as an ongoing process, it will be easier to get more customers because you’re offering something valuable. Referred leads have a 30% higher success rate and are 16% more valuable over a customer’s lifetime because they were referred by someone already familiar with your product or service.

Referral marketing is a great way to attract new customers, but it takes time and effort. If you don’t plan your campaign properly, it can be hard to see the results. Putting together how the referral process works in advance, and providing everyone with the information they need via social media, email, or website, makes it easy for people to refer others without having to spend too much time on the process. 

How to properly plan a campaign

A successful referral marketing campaign has a plan. You need to decide what you want your target customer to do and how much time, energy, and investment you are willing to put into the program.

Plan when to send your referral campaign

Referral campaign planning

The idea is to get your most devoted clients to spread the word about you. To make it worth their while, they need a way of understanding what makes your product or service so different and successful – that moment when someone realizes how amazing your business is. 

Depending on your customer’s needs, you can strategically time the delivery of a referral campaign. Sending it too soon may lead to wasted effort and sending it too late will hamper their interest in what you have to offer. How do you know when is best? Study how they interact with your business or service such as purchase history and lifetime revenue; these are clear indicators that tell you when they’re ready to learn more about your referral program.

Determine the target audience for your referral campaign

Your target audience within your customer base must be a good fit for what you want them to do and it’ll help avoid wasted time on customers who are unwilling or unable. 

Referral programs can be successful if you identify your target customers before you launch them. How come? You can get more return on investment (ROI) from your referral campaign if it is more targeted and focused. 

Getting to know your audience and their needs requires understanding them. The best way to do that is by studying them directly. You can collect this information through online surveys or feedback forms after attending your gym classes or visiting your business. You can also determine which social media posts got the most views and comments (and if any complaints were raised) by reviewing your social media analytics. 

You can have a more reliable connection with your audience and ultimately generate new business by using research to understand your audience and create a better-targeted referral campaign.

Figure out how to segment your target audience

Referral campaign segmentation

For businesses to effectively promote referral campaigns, they must segment their customers. You will get a better return on investment if you understand where you stand with each customer segment. For example, if you manage a boutique fitness studio that is looking for clients, make sure your email campaigns target people both new to exercise and who have visited in the past but haven’t been for a while. 

You can reach out to your brand advocates, who are your most valuable customers who have made repeat visits or purchases. Treat your brand advocates like they are your closest friends by touching base with them after they’ve made a purchase or even in a happy birthday email. The same principle applies to your existing customers, and get them to be your biggest brand advocates for your company.

Warm leads who have shown an interest in your product or service but have not yet purchased it could become customers soon. Make sure you take into consideration these warm leads and then tailor your referral campaigns to these leads, such as using personalized email marketing campaigns and demonstrating how the referral program can benefit them and their friends and family.

You also most likely have past leads whether they’ve visited your gym or bought products from your store, but you don’t know how interested they are in your referral program. Regularly scheduled low-cost referral campaigns at least a few times a month can bring past prospects into your referral program, increasing their likelihood of taking part.

How to start creating your referral campaign

How to start referral campaign

Developing relationships and nurturing your customers and leads are the keys to successful referral programs. Referral campaigns are an easy way to strengthen the bonds you’ve already built, while simultaneously creating new ones to help promote your referral programs.

Social Media

You can start your referral campaign with social media sites by giving your customers a variety of options for sharing. It’s an inexpensive and effective method that can grow your audience and improve conversions and have people share content in their networks. After your customer wins an incentive such as a gift card, encourage them to tag your account on their social media accounts so their friends and family can see it and become referred friends. User-generated content on social media influences 79% of people’s purchase decisions.

Consider posting videos and images to grab people’s attention about your referral program. Social media will help you kickstart your referral program and turn leads into customers.


Your referral program is best promoted throughout your website, such as the home page, about page, or contact page. The most important thing to consider in creating your website content is the keywords you want to target since the referral campaign will be focused on getting traffic from search engines. Create content that educates your audience about the benefits of using your product or service by creating blog posts, videos, and webinars.

A separate landing page can also provide your customers with a central place where they can find all of the information they need about your referral program. It should explain the value of joining the program right away to potential referrers. When you’ve designed your landing page, make sure to link to it on your website by including it in prominent areas, like the sidebar, footer, and top menu.

Email Marketing

You can run a referral campaign by sending personalized emails to customers who are more likely to be interested in your referral campaign. It’s one of the most affordable ways you can start a referral campaign, so it’s a great option for small businesses or startups with limited resources. 

You can increase engagement with your referral program by sending an eye-catching announcement email template. List all the benefits your customers will receive when they refer your business to a friend. You should use call-to-action buttons with obvious call-to-action messaging and appealing colors to increase results.

Launching Your Referral Campaign

Starting referral campaign

Now that you have all your various marketing channels, it’s time to launch your referral marketing campaign. Set up your analytics on your referral marketing platform so you can easily track your progress. In the future, you can use analytics to determine what channels work best for your segments and where they are most active to improve your referral campaigns.

Tracking Your Referral Campaign Results

Many referral marketing platforms offer A/B testing, which allows you to try different referral variations and see which resonates best with your audience. Which generates more conversions, a CTA near the top or bottom of the landing page? What works better for brand advocates: bigger or smaller incentives? Does personalization affect your ROI? 

You should keep track of all the metrics relevant to this program: the number of referrals, conversion rate, and average revenue per customer acquisition through referral marketing.

Referral Campaigns Can Work for Your Referral Program

Whether it’s emailing your current customers or using social media to spread the word, a referral program has network effects naturally baked in. The more customers who participate in your referral program and the more you reward customers, the more your referrals will multiply. 

Referral campaigns are a great way to grow your business. With good planning and execution, referral programs can be highly effective at driving new customers. You must plan carefully before launching this type of campaign so it has the best chance of success.

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