The idea is that your happy customers want to spread the word about what you do and in return receive rewards for doing so.
Most camps call this a ‘bring a friend’ or ‘referral program’.
When done properly this could be the only channel you need to fill your camp. But most camps are only scratching the surface of what is possible with their referral schemes.
Here are some of the reasons why:
Your parents/campers are only satisfied.
You have to have happy customers, those who have come to your camps year after year and love what you do. If they don’t then don’t bother with a referral scheme. You need to focus on good experiences first.
Lack of promotion and communication
This is the biggest killer of referral schemes. If no-one knows about your scheme then they wont be able to get involved and start sharing your content. It is your responsibility to promote your referral scheme, have a look at our list – ‘how to promote your referral scheme’.
A launch doesn’t have to be complex. Try this…
Send an email, newsletter or launch during your camp and tell everyone.
Start a countdown for when you will launch the scheme.
Remind and engage your customers about your scheme.
Make launch day exciting. Try for the 1st20 sign ups they receive a $20 voucher.
Don’t just launch and pray. To change behavior needs constant promotion so include it in each communication with your customers. It can be subtle. It doesn’t have to be in your face but it does have to be consistent.
Get some feedback. If you notice a lack of engagement, then ask your customers why. Is it the incentives, the instructions the lack of communication?
So be consistent, keep promoting and refining your strategy. Time spent getting this up and running pays off 10 fold in the future.
Perfect the user experience
It has to be easy and painless. Gaining referrals from your customer is a favor to you, so they need it as easy as possible.
Links– Referral links are effective but people need reminding to use them.
Social sharing– Using buttons saves time so participants don’t need to search for their link. They can click and share.
Messaging– You need to write the messages for them. Any effort is a barrier to people sharing your content. Write messages for your audience to share automatically.
Your customers have to care
People refer your business to feel good because they love what you do and they want their friends to benefit as well.
You have misaligned or bad incentives
The incentives aren’t the most important but choosing the right incentives can hugely increase how many referrals people make.
You don’t ask in the right way
Being gimmicky or desperate will put off your customers from telling anyone about you, a quick way to kill your program.
Giving 2 way incentives where referrer and friend receive a reward it comes across as less self serving. The easiest way to do this is setting up a box on your registration for asking who has referred you. Each person receives the discount.
So provide your customers with the right incentives and ask them with respect to help you grow your business.
You haven’t given your program enough time.
Referral programs take time. It is easy to get discouraged and disappointed with results straight away. Don’t worry, even the best schemes take time to take off.
Be realistic with expectations. It takes time to find the right formula of incentives, communication, promotion etc. Even the best schemes like Uber and Dropbox took time to find and scale.
After you launch you might have had a few people sign up and start sharing but with others they will have to come across your scheme a few times before getting involved themselves.
Your customers might not be ready to refer instantly. Some people need some time to understand it fully before making the referral.
Referral programs work. They can take some time to get right and can take some effort to get set up properly and launch. Hang in there. The effort is worth it and future results will far outweigh the initial effort to get set up.
If you go all in and make your referral program a success you will bring in results for years to come with very little effort.
Offering an incentive to a happy customer is like giving a bonus for something they are already doing.