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Win New Loyal Customers with Referral Postcards

April 9, 2015

Referral program custom postcards

Think of the last time you tried a new restaurant, salon, or lawn care service. Did you choose the company at random? Or did you decide after hearing about it through a friend, coworker, or family member? Word of mouth is a powerful way to acquire new customers through referrals from existing patrons of your business. Implementing a referral program for your small business using custom postcards can help to accelerate the word of mouth, or buzz, about your service or product and get new customers in the door. Learn why referral programs are so effective and how you can start one for your business using custom postcards.

Referred customers are more likely to return

A study published in the American Marketing Association’s Journal of Marketing found that a customer who has been referred to your business is 18% more likely to become a loyal returning customer compared to an off-the-street customer. This is huge because not only can referrals help you to acquire new business, but the effort of convincing the customer to return is minimized and the likelihood that they will return is increased. The study also found that people are more likely to have a sense of loyalty to a brand if their friends and family also support the same brand.

Referrals and word of mouth are trusted forms of advertising

People may not believe an advertisement of a product that claims to be “the miracle stain remover,” but if friends and family can attest to that statement, then it suddenly doesn’t seem so far-fetched. Referrals are a trusted form of advertising because people rely on and believe the experiences and opinions of people they know to help guide their decisions on what to buy and where. Tapping into this reliable form of word of mouth with a referral program is a great way to get genuine positive buzz going about your business.

How do you use postcards to get people to refer people to your business?

Referrals can come from various avenues but using custom postcards for your referral program can increase the success of your program for many reasons. A nicely designed postcard that includes an incentive is visually appealing and serves as a visual reminder for the potential customer who received the postcard from a friend. Using postcards can also help you keep track of the effectiveness of your referral program and who is referring who. Requiring the postcard to be present in order to receive the referral incentive is a simple way to identify how well the program is working and enable you to properly credit those who have referred someone to your business.

Creating your referral program

Before you design and print your referral postcards, you must first identify who you’ll be asking to participate in your referral program. The most successful referrals come from existing customers who have already established a relationship with your brand. It’s unlikely that you will get a successful return if you ask people who have yet to become loyal customers to refer others to your business. If you have many clients who have recently started supporting your business, you might want to wait until the relationship has matured before asking them for referrals.

The incentive

You’ve identified who you will be asking for referrals from, now you will need to decide what both the customer and the individual they refer will receive for participating in the referral program. Many companies will craft an incentive like, “Refer a friend and you each get $10 off your service.” This creates an offer for the participating customer and makes the referral program worth their while. It’s important to offer a desirable incentive that will motivate your customers to refer a friend or family member and pass the postcard along. Making that incentive applicable to the new customer that’s being referred will also increase the likelihood that they will visit your business.

Here’s an example of a referral program incentive from Fleet Feet Sports:

fleet feet referral.gif

Once you’ve created and mailed out your referral postcards, it may take some time to reap the rewards of your program and get new customers in the door. People may not immediately refer someone, or may wait to share your postcard with someone they know it will benefit. Sending a series of referral postcards will keep your program top of mind for when an opportunity arises. Patience is key when waiting for the return on a referral program, so stay consistent with your mailings and give people time to send you new clients.

Get started with custom postcards for your referral program today!