Referral Programmes For Your Pet Business

What is a Referral Programme?

According to Wikipedia

Referral marketing is a method of promoting products or services to new customers through referrals, usually word of mouth. Such referrals often happen spontaneously but businesses can influence this through appropriate strategies.”

Simply put…a referral programme can help you get new customers via word of mouth.

Why Do You Need a Referral Programme?

You might be getting some referrals already without having an official referral programme in place. People who use your services are probably already telling their friends and family about you.

A referral programme simply makes people aware and usually offers them an incentive to give you referrals.

It’s a relatively cheap way of obtaining new business and the people that are referred to you have been referred by people who already know, like and trust you – so they don’t need much selling when it comes to your services.

When Should You Start A Referral Programme?

If you are in business you need a referral programme. You don’t have to wait until your business is a certain size to start a programme.

Making referrals part of your sales/follow up process is vital to your long-term success in business.

Things To Consider When Setting Up A Referral Programme

What incentive are you going to offer?

Before you start you need to decide what you are going to offer to the person that refers a new customer to you. There a few variations you could opt for including:

  • A free gift
  • Cash
  • A credit for future services

It’s also important to think about whether you are going to offer the referral incentive to both people (the person who referred and the new customer) or just to the referee.

Is there going to be a minimum spend to qualify for a referral fee?

If you are offering a referral incentive then you need to have clear terms and conditions so that you are not losing money.

For example, you might want them to spend $100 before you give a referral incentive.

How are you going to track and record referrals?

You need to be able to track the referral if you are giving credit to the customer’s account. How are they going to let you know that they referred a customer? How will you keep track so you know to pay them their incentive?

Tip: I would put the responsibility as much as possible on the customer to let you know they were referred and to claim their referral.

How are you going to promote your referral programme?

It’s good to have a plan when it comes to promoting anything. Think of all the ways that you can promote to customers.

Remember: People will need to see the programme LOTS of times to keep reminding them it’s on offer. Don’t assume one email will turn them into referral ninjas!

Places to promote your Referral Programme:

  • Emails
  • Letter in the post or left in their home
  • Posters (in a physical location)
  • Email signature
  • Journals/Text after each visit
  • On your website
  • In your newsletter

Make sure you have a page to send people to that explains your programme and answers any questions that they may have >>

Are there people you don’t want to promote your referral programme to?

Do you want to keep it limited to certain groups of people? Maybe you only want your best customers to earn referral incentives.

Is the referral programme open to your staff?

Are you going to allow your staff to promote the referral programme and earn money themselves? How will this be paid to them?


Who Can You Promote Your Referral Programme To?

You can promote your referral programme to anyone, but the main places to start would be

  1. Existing Customers
  2. Past Customers
  3. Other Pet Professionals
  4. Pet Lovers
  5. Worth of Mouth

Existing Customers

Existing customers LOVE you already so they are a good place to start to get referrals.

If you are offering a credit to their account you can promote that if they refer x number of people a month they could get x amount of free visits.

Past Customers

Circumstances may have changed which stopped them from using your services. However, they may still love to refer other customers to you and earn some cash or free visits.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to these people.

Other Pet Professionals

Why not reach out to vets, groomers and dog trainers. You could offer a referral fee to them or (what I have found more successful) is to do a feature interview on my blog about them.

Often business owners will refer you just because you are promoting their services on your blog. It’s really more about relationship building.

Alternatively, you could bribe them with a tray of cakes! (I believe this works really well!)

Pet Lovers

Barkbox does a really good job with their influencer programme. Obviously, they have a physical product which lends itself to this type of programme, but there is still some interesting information in the video.

Word Of Mouth

Creating relationships online is a great way to get people talking about your business. Just by getting involved in everyday conversations on Social Media, when you are out at the shops or when you meet fellow business owners can bring in referrals.

Talking to people is the best way to get more people talking about your business.

How Does My Referral Programme Work?

Each customer gets 25 euro credit to their account (about $22 dollars) every time they refer a new customer. The new customer must spend 100 euro on their first booking.

The new customer doesn’t get any referral fee – only the person that refers them.

I use the following landing page to promote the programme >>

And I have a banner which I use in my journals which get emailed out after every visit.