Marketing Patterns

Real Money Referral Programs

Quick Summary

Referral programs take your best customers and turn them into salespeople.

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Why it's a good idea

Word of mouth remains one of the strongest sales channels for many products and services.

Many millions of dollars (and research hours) have been spent understanding how customers talk about a particular product or service to incorporate that natural, market-generated language into marketing copy.

Having a referral program allows you to directly tap into this conversation and incentivize customers to talk, share, and sell for you in their language, driving the conversation in ways that a brand never could.

The context of a recommendation on social media is very different than a one-on-one personal recommendation through a text message or face to face conversation.

Many marketing campaigns are broadcast only, but one-to-one referrals can be question and answer, and benefit from the real-time back and forth.

Referral programs allow you to benefit from a handful of forces:

  • Social proof
  • Social pressure
  • Personal recommendation

Typically, customers who engage with a referral program are highly satisfied with the product or service. This makes them ideal “influencers” for the audience they have access to.


Full pattern includes:

  • Full strategy analysis
  • Budget requirements and suggestions
  • Recommended tech and tools
  • Real world examples

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Last updated: October 13, 2020

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