Referral Program Examples for Small Business Owners

referral program examples

For many small and local business owners, the relationship you have with your customers mean everything. Your customers are not just a number. You see each and every one of them as an individual — as a friend. With that being said, there is a huge pool of potential, new customers your business should absolutely be exploring: your customers’ friends.

Your customers’ friends are represent a massive networking opportunity of new business just waiting for you to tap into. How do you do so? Referral programs. Referral programs are an extremely effective and popular method small and local businesses use for bringing tons of new customers to their storefront. Essentially, you can sit back and let your current customers do all the talking for you. All you have to do is create a referral program to give your current customers a little extra incentive for “selling” your business to their friends.

So let’s get to it. Here are some referral program examples that your business can utilize for getting current clients to do all the actual marketing for you.  

Precursor - Who Receives What Reward?

Before you even get into the benefits of your referral program you first need to determine who is going to receive what. You basically only have three options here. You can setup a referral program which rewards —

a) The Referrer

b) The Referred Customer

c) Both

Our personal suggestion is to always give some sort of reward to both parties involved. So, for example, if you were considering only rewarding the referrer it might be a good idea to take the reward and split that value between both the referrer and referred customer.  

What Are The Actual Rewards?

Referral Reward #1 - Gift Cards

Offering customers gift card credits as a reward for your referral program is a great way to generate tons of new business. Gift cards are a reward that benefits not just the customer but also your business.

Your customers win because they get monetary value that they can spend however they want. The power is in their hands and they can choose their favorite service or product in return for their referral.

Your business wins because a gift card guarantees spending at your store. You’re ensuring customers will come to your business, as they will be looking to redeem their gift card.

Referral Reward #2 - Discount on Particular Service(s)

Other popular incentives many successful referral programs offer is a discount on a particular service(s). You can either choose to give a dollar amount or percentage reduction. When choosing which service is best to discount for your referral program, here are two potential paths for you to consider taking.

Offer a discount on a popular service. By offering a discount on a popular service, you know with certainty that the reward you’re providing as a part of your referral program is an incentive that will motivate current customers.

Offer a discount on a new service. If you’ve got a new service that you’d like more customers to tryout, consider making this the service you discount as a reward in your referral program. This should help increase the number of customers this service gets in front of.

Referral Reward #3 - Branded Material

Branded items are a great, cost effective incentive you can offer as a reward for your referral program. There are tons of easy to use, low-cost companies where you can customize a bunch of items with your businesses branding such as:

  • Hats
  • T-shirts
  • Polos
  • Umbrellas
  • Pens
  • Shorts
  • Bags

Your customers win because they get cute, free items they can wear or use. Who doesn’t love free stuff?

Your business wins because if customers use your branded items, you’re getting your business’ name out there for more new, potential customers to see.


So, what did you think of these referral program examples? Ready to start up some referral programs at your business? See how Frederick can help!

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