Play Blueprint: Refer a Friend

This article applies to:

Why Run It: To generate new leads by utilizing positive sentiment from your happy customers.

Who It's For:  Every business, big or small, can benefit from getting more referrals from their customers!

Implementation time: 15-20min

Play Snapshot

Any referral campaign starts with happy customers. When you identify clients who have had a positive customer experience (for example: those who have given your company a glowing testimonial or survey) it’s a great idea to harness that enthusiasm to generate new leads.

In some cases, it might be smart to offer an incentive, such as a discount code or other small gift, while in some industries, such as financial and legal services, that may not be seen as ethical. In either instance, the overall structure will be very similar. In this play you’ll create an automated process to send an email to happy customers requesting a referral and offering an incentive for doing so, if possible.

Pro Tip: Don’t treat referrals lightly! You and your team need to view any referral as a “hot” lead, and thus, the systems you use for follow up need to reflect the value of any referral and include personalized outreach. 

Play Components:

1. Referral Incentive + Request

A lot of companies offer some type of incentive to customers for producing a referral. Depending on your business model, your products, or your services,  you could offer a discount, a free service, a free gift, or you may simply offer free shipping on their next purchase. Think about what would be most valuable to your customers, and encourage them to take the time to refer some friends your way. 

2. Referral Collection

This play kicks off with a referral request email that will link to a landing page or web form that is built specifically for collecting referral information. After that, an email thank you with the promised incentive is automatically delivered to the customer giving the referral. After that, you can choose a couple of different ways to get in touch with the person that they referred, and your automation will depend on what method you choose.

3. The Thank You

Referral leads convert at a rate 30% higher than other marketing channels and have a substantially higher customer lifetime value, so when one of your customers sends someone your way, make sure to thank them for taking the time. It could be as simple as an automated email, but this is also a great opportunity to go above and beyond and reach out personally or send them a surprise gift. There are recommended next plays at the bottom that detail both!

Below is your action plan that breaks down the tactics and tasks of each step -- and details the assets and content you'll need to execute this play like a pro.

First, you’ll need to create an email that includes the refer-a-friend request as well as the incentive you’re offering to customers who generate referrals.

Pro Tip: It’s important to understand that this play could be run multiple times with a repeat customer. To allow for this, you’d need to add into the automation (at the end) the step of removing the tag that launched the automation. This enables you to apply that tag to the same customer again, in the future, to launch this play another time

Checkpoints to Launch

Create your trigger or launch tag to kick off the play and the tag to add to the referred contacts
Create your incentive plan

This play is easiest to kick off with the application of a tag once you know a customer is happy with your products or services. This play is launched by applying a tag to the happy customer’s contact record manually or, if you decide to run this play after a customer survey was submitted (ie, if you are using the Customer Survey play), a positive survey score could be used to apply the launch tag for this play.

With the prior steps established, it’s time to collect the referrals. The actual sequence for this play will begin with the referral request email that you created in step 1. The call-to-action in the email is to click the link to the refer-a-friend landing page or web form. You will build this form to include fields for the referring customer’s information as well as fields for the referral’s information.

Once a referral is submitted, the automation creates a task for someone internal to reach out to the referral by phone IF a phone number is submitted. In the case of a referral with only an email address, you’ll want to send a personalized email. 

Checkpoints to Launch:

Create your refer a friend landing page or public web form
Create a task for an internal user to reach out to the new referral

The refer-a-friend landing page submission needs to send the client who generated the referral a thank you email

Don’t overthink a Thank You email!  Be genuine and brief. A few sentences is all that’s needed, and, If you are offering referral incentives, you should include the delivery of that incentive. The application of the Referral Submitted tag can also be used to begin another automation sequence or campaign, or, once the referral campaign is completed, the tag could be removed.  

Checkpoints to Launch:

Write your thank you email copy
Connect the email to your landing page or web form and insert the copy
Publish and test the form

Success Metrics

Primary Metric: # of Referrals

Use the tag you created in the first step to apply to the contact that was referred to you. You can use that tag in conjunction with other tags in your app to determine if referrals turn into leads, customers, or even happy customers who referred more people to you!

[ COMING SOON: Tutorials for the best way to measure this metric ]

Common Next Plays

  • Surprise Gift
  • Upsell/Special Offer
  • Personalized Check In