Ultimate checklist to build a successful customer referral program

Posted by admin on 01, 2022, February


It is undeniable that referral marketing is one of the best forms of marketing to reach new customers and the web has plenty of referral marketing successful stories. A referral customer comes at a much lower cost and has a higher potential for retention and loyalty. So why are there still many businesses not using it yet? Simple: these types of initiatives used to be too labor intensive to manage and have relied heavily on the commitment of dedicated people to keep them running. But this is not true anymore as you now have access to a full set of automated tools to easily setup, launch and monitor your referral program.

However, it is still important to thoroughly prepare your referral program as you need to think about many things, but the return on investment can be very surprising. So to help you with the preparation, we have put together a highly useful checklist of items and questions to ask when you are setting up for a successful customer referral program.

1. Your product

A great quality product or service is an essential part of any successful referral program. If your product is not perfect and satisfactory to the target audience, stop right there and get on perfecting it before you go any further.

2. Your audience

A referral program won’t work well unless you identify your ideal audience and work on an effective plan to attract it.

3. Proper detection

Your referrals need to be carefully detected so that none of them go missing. Additionally, you also need to set up a way to identify fraudulent referrals.

4. Set up goals

No business plan is complete without goals. Make sure that you set realistic and attainable goals for your referral program before you put it into action.

5. Referral management platform

Nowadays, referral marketing is most successfully done online. An online platform such as Incentivit can help any business build a great referral marketing campaign.

6. Referral program page on your website

This is another important step. Anyone who wishes to refer others to your business will need instructions and information on the whole program and your website is the best place to put it.

7. Incentive

Any good referral marketing campaign comes with one or a few tempting incentives. A tool such as IncentivIt can help you set it up easily.

8. Commission model

This is very important. A good referral campaign not only has attractive incentives but also a good commission model to keep referrals coming in.

9. Effective communication

You need to set up proper communication channels to get word of mouth out there. No referral program will get traction without being announced, so make sure it is visible and presented as mush as possible.

10. Proper content

Your content to send reminders, promotional messages and pretty much anything regarding your referral campaign needs to be perfect for the best results.

11. Use social media

Nowadays, a referral campaign cannot survive without social media. Be sure to sign up and promote your campaign effectively with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.

12. Adequate reminders

This can be a bit tricky. A successful referral program involves adequate reminders that tell customers about your offer without going overboard.

13. Convenience of sharing


For a referral campaign to succeed, you need to make sure that your message is as easy as possible for customers to share. The process should be as simple as possible.

14. Send a welcome email

Once you have acquired a new referral, make sure that you send them a welcome email. Aside from being polite, this step also allows you to provide them with more information on your campaign.

15. Create regular newsletters

Create newsletters that go out weekly/bi-weekly or monthly to make sure that your referrals are always in the loop on what’s going on in your business and use this get in touch opportunity to remind them of your referral program.

16. Be interesting

If you keep your incentives and content the exact same without ever making changes, your campaign can get a bit dull to everyone. Instead, get creative and host regular competitions, hold promotions and change up the incentives every now and then to keep your audience interested.

17. Monitor

Once your referral marketing campaign is operational, everything about it needs to be carefully monitored.

18. Analytics

Any successful referral campaign needs to be analyzed constantly to understand its performance and to recognize parts that need improving.

19. Adjust

Depending on the data you gather during analysis, you may need to make adjustments and improvements to your campaign.

20. Your competitors

Any business has competitors and learning about their products, audience, marketing strategy and referral tactics can help your own campaign a great deal.

21. Update your campaign when necessary

A good referral campaign changes with the times. New trends come and go and your campaign needs to stay on top of these changes to remain relevant and interesting.

22. Reward your loyal referrals

If you have particularly efficient referrals or those who are doing as good a job as your marketing team, be sure to acknowledge them and to reward them. This will make them feel more motivated to do better.