3 referral programs for small businesses to run

You may have the best product around, but if nobody hears about it, you won’t be able to grow at a sustainable rate. As a small-medium business, you know how important it is to build your brand. So one of the first things on the agenda is to spread the word of your brand and products as far and wide as you can.

There are lots of different ways to do this—from building a website to creating an online store—but one reliable method is through referral programs. Referral programs are an excellent method to grow your business. Check out how it benefits your company from our previous article.

Referral programs are also relatively easy and inexpensive to implement, so you don’t have to be a big company to reap the rewards of this type of marketing strategy.

If you’re looking for ways to leverage referrals for your small-medium business, here are three types of referral programs that could work for you:

1. Incentives for both existing and new customers

A double-sided referral program is one where an existing and new customer, or the referrer and the referee, are both given benefits.

For example, when your customer signs up for your services, they could get a discount if they refer a friend. Additionally, the friend also gets a discount. A great referral program will give both parties something in exchange for their participation!

The most obvious way to encourage customers to refer their friends is with cash rewards. You’ll need to decide whether you want to grant cash incentives per referral or through instalments over time. But either way, offering some financial incentive can be very effective at getting people talking about you and ensuring they stay talking about you!

If you prefer not to give cash, you could also grant referral credits. For example, you can provide a customer with a certain amount of store credit when they refer your business to someone. This can be as simple as giving them $20 off their next order, or you could provide them with a percentage of the sale.

Free upgrades or exclusive merchandise are also perks you can consider. The main thing is to give existing and new customers something valuable for purchasing from you.

2. Referral partnerships with businesses or influencers 

This is similar to customer referrals, but your business works with other companies to carry out such marketing strategies.

A referral partnership is where a business agrees to promote and refer its customers to another company for some benefit. Such benefits can include discounts, cash incentives or a mutual referral. The bottom line is that the partnership is mutually beneficial.

You might have seen such referral partnerships on social media. Usually, customers are encouraged to ‘follow’ another account if they are already followers of the referrer business. The incentive is a prize or percentage discount.

Do note, though, that your referral partnerships should be businesses that also interest your customers. Therefore, you must also align your business goals with the other referral partners.

It’s also becoming common for businesses to engage influencers as their referral partners. An influencer is a person who has a wide fan base on social media and creates content specifically for their audiences. Statistics show that social media usage is increasing worldwide, especially in countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. In fact, 70% of survey respondents in the Philippines say they have purchased an item because of an influencer’s recommendation.

With referral partnerships, the influencer who refers may either be paid once when the business engages them or gets a percentage of the sale. In return, your business gets free advertising on its social media accounts or website, for example.

When you partner with another business or an influencer to promote your services, you reach a wider audience and may see increased sales, all while building new relationships with your customers. Your customers also positively perceive your business and referral partners if the partner has a good reputation. So choose your referral partner carefully, ensuring they align with your business values and goals. 

3. Enhance your loyalty program with current customers to ask for referrals

The thing about referrals is that they’re not easy to come by. You can’t just ask your customers for them—you have to make sure they’re coming from people who are genuinely happy with your company and are willing to spread the word.

Therefore, when crafting a referral program, you must first think of gaining the trust of your current customers. Get them to return through loyalty programs that repeatedly give them perks for buying from your business.

With loyalty programs, customers earn points or discounts for every purchase. When they’ve earned enough loyalty points, they can redeem them for discounts or other perks like free shipping or exclusive event access. Then, enhance your loyalty program by asking for referrals. Keep it simple, such as a loyalty perk redeemable for your customer and a friend after a certain amount of spending is reached. For instance, some credit card companies will grant a free hotel staycation redeemable for the entire family when their customer invests X amount of funds. You can also encourage existing customers to bring a friend to enjoy discounts if you notice that they often spend at your shops.

You don’t even have to spend time checking and tracking loyalty cards. With smart POS systems technology these days, you can always set the promotion up in your system so all staff can view customers’ records. Then, they can quickly implement the right offer for both the referrer and the referee!

But keeping it simple is the key. Whichever referral scheme you think of, the call to action must be clear. Also, be clear about your referral offers. Often a small business works with limited staffing, so marketing might not disseminate information across the organisation. So make sure all staff know what’s offered, even those on the ground.

And finally, allow your offer to be shared socially. Make sure customers can share the offer easily with their friends, whether creating an Instagram post or a link in your dynamic QR code.

Adding a smart pos solution such as Qashier will allow you to create a QR code on your receipt so customers can share your offer quickly with their friends. Apart from that, our smart POS solution will help you manage and carry out your referral promotions. So don’t slow your business down by using pen and paper. Go digital with us!

Qashier promises a seamless setup within 10 minutes without needing technical expertise. It boasts a user-friendly interface that is simple for anyone to learn and use. In addition, you’ll find 7-days-a-week responsive technical support from the local team if you require assistance.

Digital solutions for businesses include QR code table ordering, table management (F&B), employee management, customer relationship management (loyalty programs), inventory management, data analytics, and cashless payments in an all-in-one device.

Qashier is also affordable, with prices starting from as low as SGD1/day (in Singapore with a PSG grant), and this includes hardware, software, setup, training and 7-days-a-week local support.

Speak to us to see if Qashier’s Smart POS can meet your business needs. Find out how Qashier’s Smart POS can meet your business needs. Schedule a meeting with us here, call us at (+65) 3165 0155, WhatsApp (+65) 8882 8912, or email [email protected].



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