employee referral incentive programWord of mouth can be an outstanding form of marketing.  People are going to talk about their experiences no matter what so why not offer incentives for those referrals?  They will end up happy to receive the incentive, love being recognized as the person who gave the referral and your business will have new customers.

However, your business should be excellent in all realms before offering such services.  Exceptional service and economical prices are what customers base the merits of a referral on.  All staff should have uniform training on products and services so all service is measured the same across the board at your business.

A referral campaign can consist of cash rewards, gift certificates or coupons.  DirecTV has an excellent referral ad on TV in which customers who refer their friends receive 10 dollars off their bill per month for 10 months and so do those they referred.  The incentive program usually taps into people’s inherent desire to help others and rewards them for their efforts.

There is also the option for testimonials for an incentive.  They are extremely effective for bringing in new business because they explain how wonderful the customer service was or how the business has helped a customer.  These testimonials can be posted on the company website, advertisement campaigns, and company social media tools or added online to user review/recommendation sites such as yelp.com.

Provide local gift certificates to a reputable restaurant in your geographical location.  Around the holidays send out postcards with additional discounts.  Invite your customers to an appreciation event and have them invite a friend.  Referrals are a powerful tool that creates a lot of business.  If and when you initiate a referral incentive make sure to thank those who have participated with a thank-you gift, it may even ignite another referral.

What do you think about referral programs? Does your business have a program like this set up? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think!

image credit: Dice.com on Flickr

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