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We've written about how to write great emails asking for referrals and some examples of amazing referral emails. Our friends at VoilaNorbert have another way of looking at it: a referral program email sequence you can send to customers.
All too often, referrals are looked upon as a pleasant side effect of your company successfully performing its duties. You’ve exceeded customer expectations, and as a reward, your clients naturally sing your praises to their colleagues, friends, and family—right?
Unfortunately for most businesses, this is more fantasy than reality. While providing a world-class product or service certainly helps, it isn’t enough these days. You’ve got to seize every available opportunity to foster referrals by giving customers the right tools and the right reminders – and making it beyond easy.
One of the easiest ways to boost referrals is to send out an optimized email sequence that is fine-tuned to capture attention and simplify the referral process. Wondering what this sequence should consist of? Here are the three types of emails to send in a referral marketing campaign.
Referral Program Email 1: Stating the Benefit of the Referral Program
Arguably, the most important step of any referral marketing campaign is the initial email outlining exactly what your customer or advocate can expect to gain from referring their network, including referral program incentives and how they can get started. While you can send reminders to nudge more referrals out of your customers, you really want to make a big splash with your first impression and get your referral messaging right.
Try using an eye-catching graphic like this one from ZooSho. It lays out the customer's benefit front-and-center so it's the first thing they see. Let’s take a closer look:
The line underneath the main graphic digs deeper in smaller, but clearly legible print that gives the customer the extra details needed to take advantage of the enticing referral offer. Then, there’s a slick graphic to walk the customer step-by-step through the process to really drive the offer’s benefits home, and reiterate next steps. Lastly, the email ends with clear instructions on how they can forward the referral link to their friends so they can both start redeeming rewards. It doesn’t get much easier than that for your customers, and, thanks to ReferralCandy, referral program promotion through sending these types of emails is super-simple.
Give $10, Get $10. An elegant explanation
The initial explainer email is crucial to spreading awareness for your referral program, and shouldn’t be brushed off. Take extra time to make sure the benefits are exciting, the next steps are crystal-clear, and there’s no confusion about the fine print. Once that foundation has been laid, following up with customers is a breeze. All you need to do going forward is give them friendly nudges to remind them.
Referral Program Email 2: Program Follow-up Reminder
This email should remind the recipient to send referrals. Seems like a no-brainer, right? It is, except many companies skip this step, and as a result leave precious referrals and business on the table. Similar to the initial email, you should remind the recipient of the value they received from your offering and how others can benefit as well. Keep in mind that only a certain percentage of your customers will be ready to refer right away. That's why it’s good to stay top-of-mind by sending out follow-up emails to nudge them to refer periodically. Eventually, you might catch them when they are truly ready. One way to make sure your referral program emails are successfully delivered is to use email verification software.
A solid practice here is to stick to an appropriate interval for sending out follow-up emails. Daily is off-putting and spammy; try spacing them out instead, such as twice a month, then once a month, then every other month, and so on. It’s also important not to bring up or remind them that they haven’t sent referrals, as it can sound entitled. Instead, draft an entirely new email without addressing the initial one so it comes off as genuine, not needy or pushy.
Last but not least, don’t hesitate to send referral reminders to past customers. Sometimes getting back on previous customers' radar and getting new referrals is as simple as dusting off an older list of customers. Before you do that, though, it's a good idea to use an email verifying tool to ensure that those email addresses are still correct. Here’s a low-key reminder email in action:
Just one line with a 15% discount. Smooth.
Notice how the email reminds the recipient of the value they received and ever-so-subtly reminds them of the 15% off their next bill when they refer a friend.
Referral Program Email 3: Advocacy Request Email
With any business relationship, you’ve got to ease into things. The best salespeople know not to ask for an hour-long demo in their first email, but instead to start a conversation with the prospect, ask the right questions, and show enough value that they ask for a demo. Or at the very least, you'll earn the right to ask them.
To truly maximize your referral potential, you’ve got to offer incentives. Give the person a reason for sharing your product or service – ideally, one that benefits both of you.
One way to automate that process is to use referral marketing programs. Here’s how it works:
- A client purchases something, and, using ReferralCandy, you send out an email requesting that they share their referral code with a friend.
- Once they share it with a friend, the friend is then able to click the link, which takes them to a landing page that has a discount code specific to your store.
- If they end up purchasing, ReferralCandy then tracks that purchase and the original referral source to offer them a reward also.
Referral advocacy is no different. It’s one thing to ask for a referral or two, but it’s a whole other thing to ask someone to become your advocate and share out your referral code.
That’s why you save the best and biggest ask for last. The advocacy request email asks users to email their friends with their referral code, leveraging those friends and hopefully their friends' friends. A great option here is to ask if they would share it on social media to maximize reach. You can take it a step further by adding share links in your email, along with referral program templates telling them exactly what to say or simply asking them to forward the email. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Below is a solid example of an advocacy request in action:
As you can see, this email has all the right elements, from incentives to both parties, to a link to easily forward to friends – and even an easy way to share via social media.
Ultimately, the emails you send come down to showcasing gratitude for referrals received and highlighting the value customers received from your product or service. Doing so will keep that referral machine well-oiled and running for ages – especially if you master the art of following up.
What’s your top tip for boosting referrals and creating promoters via email? Tell us in the comments below:
This was a guest post contributed by our partner VoilaNorbert.