Do you find that your referral program is not working for you? Have you created it but find that no one wants to sign up? Don’t worry. Here are some things that you must and must not do for referral marketing success.


Let us start with the must-dos. These are the things that you must have in your referral marketing to-do list.

Start By Knowing Your Referrers

You cannot create an effective referral system if you don’t know what your referrer wants.

Referral programs are attractive because of the rewards that they provide. These rewards are necessary for motivation. It is the reason why referrers will join your system and promote your brand for you. To do this, you should know your referrers. You should know what they want and how they behave. You should know the rewards that will attract them and repel them. In referral marketing, there are different types of bonuses. It is not just cash. You can also give away discount codes and actual items as freebies. The right reward will depend on the nature of the referrer. You need some knowledge in drawing a persona if you want to create an offer that targets the needs of your referrers.

Fortunately, creating a persona is easy. You can do this by only thinking about who your ideal customer is. This perfect customer is the person who will buy from your site again and again, and he is motivated to invite others to do the same. It is important to name this imaginary persona and add some hobbies and demographic characteristics. This will help you see who your target market is.

From here, you should choose your reward. Now that you understand the behaviors and motivations behind your target persona’s actions, you will be able to select an award that will attract them to participate in your referral campaign.

Chart the Customer Journey

Every buyer has a customer journey. This is a series of phases that a customer undergoes as they transact with your brand. In this journey, their needs and emotions change. It is up to you to chart these changes so that you can create funnels that respond to these,

To do this, put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. Think about how you would feel when you visit the website or store. What is going on inside of your mind? Take note of these and log them in your customer journey diary. From here, you can look at what is going on inside your customer’s mind. This is their decision-making process as they interact with your brand. It can help to track emotions by looking at the customer’s story in each step of the way. In technology businesses, this is the user story. This is how the customer feels in that particular phase. Once you have all of these written down, you can now create solutions to their problems.

This reminds us that referral programs are more than just getting people on board. It is more than getting more people into the system. It is all about getting more exposure with the ultimate goal of getting more sales. Charting the customer journey extends beyond persona definition, for you also understand what the customer goes through and how he feels every step of the way.

Test Incentives

You will never know what will work unless you test it. While you may have an idea that a specific type of reward will work best with your target market, the reality may be far from your hypothesis. So how will you know? You experiment. You do this by testing different incentives and see the rewards that get the most responses.

As mentioned, there are different types of rewards. There are cash, discount codes, and item freebies. You can also become more creative and give free memberships or longer trials. The key is to create a reward that is related to the main product. Plus, it should resonate with the needs of the target market. With this, it is essential that you have worked out the persona’s characteristics and charted the customer’s journey. This way, you’ll have an idea of the incentives that can work.

But ideas are just ideas until you test them. So you should do that. You should create multiple referral campaigns with different rewards, advertise them, and see which gets the most sign-ups. Doing that is easy if you have referral software. Just be sure that it is compatible with your website platform. So if you are running an eCommerce website on WordPress, be sure to use a WooCommerce affiliate plugin instead.

Test Referral Actors

Another factor that can affect the success of your referral campaign is who you reward. In every referral campaign, there are two actors. These are the referrer and the referral. You can choose to pay for one or both. Ideally, you’ll want to pay both, for it eliminates the friction in both parties. You see, every actor that comes in contact with your referral program will have some apprehensions in joining. It is your role to remove these apprehensions by reeling them in with a reward.

The best way to know this is to test. You can do this again by setting up multiple referral campaigns. You can choose to reward the referrer in one promotion and reward the referral in another. Based on the experience of past business owners, the reward-both model works best. This is because both the referrer and the reference are sufficiently rewarded.

Test Different Marketing Strategies

A referral program is a marketing system, but it will not be able to market itself. You still have to do the hard work. If it were that easy, that means that every referral program launched would have been successful. But it’s not, and it is all because the success of a referral program still depends on how well you promote it.

When it comes to marketing a referral campaign, it is all about how you emphasize the reward. After all, this is your bait. This reels people in so that they sign up for your campaign. You need to make it visible. If you have to input the reward in big letters, do that. It should be big enough that your website visitors will not be able to miss it.

Also, emphasize the benefits. Today’s customers are used to getting free offers. But you have to make your offer worth their time and effort. After all, you’ll be asking them to input the contact information of their family and friends. While it may seem easy, you still need to give them a reason to do that. It is personal information, and they will only give it to brands that they trust. A company doing an awesome job at referral marketing is hunting bow Labs which helps companies to find hunting bows.

Test the Time of the Offer

Another factor that you can test is the time of release. When you create your referral program, you will be promoting it using email or advertisements. Time is a crucial factor for referral marketing success. You’ll get more conversions or sign-ups if you look at the time. This way, you’ll be able to reduce your ad spend and get more results from your marketing campaigns.


While you have your must-dos, you also have your must-not on the other side of the spectrum. These are things that you must skip to have a winning referral campaign.

Don’t Create It From Scratch.

There is a referral software for a reason. It helps you set up your referral program in a few clicks. With these available, creating a campaign from scratch is a complete waste of time. You will do better if you allocate that time to marketing the program instead. Although there are some things that you have to define before you can launch your campaign, it is better to log all of these in software and start it quickly. Besides, Manually tracking referrals can be a nightmare. You’ll never be able to track who referred to who and payments can be quite messy if you don’t use the software.

Don’t Give Referrers a Hard Time.

What will discourage a referrer from joining your campaign? Complications. This is where you set up your campaign mechanics in such a complicated way that it pushes them away. With this, you must be direct-to-the-point in your mechanics. This should state when the reward is released. This was when your referrer managed to get at least three people into your website or when they gave you at least three contact details. Of course, what will qualify for a reward will depend on you. So be sure to define that before you begin.

More than mechanics, you should ensure that your system is working well. You’ll know this when you test it. Similar to charting your customer journey, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your website visitor. Try to look at your referral page from an outsider’s point-of-view. Through this, you will see how it looks like and whether it is easy to understand. Aside from this, you can test the functionalities. Test the online form. See if it can make a successful submission before you promote your campaign.

Don’t Be a Perfectionist.

When you are launching your first eCommerce website like Best Drums Set Labs, you’ll want everything to be perfect. You may have spent some time choosing the website products and design, and you are probably mulling over-improving your referral program. Before you go that route, you have to remember that it is essential to launch your campaign as quickly as possible. This means that you should not overthink it. Just start, test, and tweak. This is far better than getting caught up in the details and not launching your referral program. Remember, the longer you begin your plan, the farther you are from its benefits. So start it as soon as you can.

Don’t Forget Abandonment.

Shopping cart abandonment is real. This is when a customer is on the verge of buying. He may have added a product to the cart and is about to check out. Then, he suddenly changes his mind. This can happen to an online store, and it can happen to your referral program as well.

This is one of the reasons why eliminating friction is essential in your campaign. You have to remove all causes that will discourage your website visitor to join your campaign. You’ll want them to join and don’t change their mind.

Don’t Treat Your Referrers as One-Time Customers.

Referral programs are created to attract customers with high lifetime value. This means that every customer will not be one-time buyers. It is essential to keep this in mind when you approach them to join your referral campaign. You have to treat them as your loyal customers and give them an exclusive offer.

If you do this, you can create a community around your brand. This is a community of loyal followers that will want to promote your brand again and again. It starts with the simple mindset that every customer has a chance to become a repeat customer. They do become repeat customers when you start treating them like one.

Don’t Forget to Create Terms and Conditions.

Launching a referral campaign without these can be to your downfall. You have to ensure that you have a fixed set of terms and conditions. This way, you don’t have to deal with fake referrals and other kinds of fraud. You need to state in this area what qualifies for a reward. This will prevent you from facing backlash when a website visitor asks for an award that he has not earned.

The recipe for a successful referral program ultimately lies in your decisions. As you create your referral program, you’ll find that there are many crossroads that you have to face. This list of must-dos and must-nots will serve as a guide for you as you face these decision-making paths in your referral marketing journey. Be sure to keep these in mind as you launch your referral marketing campaign.

Similar Posts