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I'm the creative and founder behind K Made Design Co., and I’m here to help you transform your brand and website into your greatest assets, that build your reputation for you and a community of hyper-loyal brand advocates!
Hi, I'm Karlie!
As a busy business owner, taking the time to seek out new clients can make quite the dent in my schedule. I quickly realized the possible benefits of running a referral program in my business, as it’s become a lifesaver to many business-owners. Because it can be a little technical to get up and running, I’ve put together this post to lay out the details of how I run my referral program, and how you can, too!
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I may receive a small reward or commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link!
First of all, what is a referral program? In short, it’s a way to incentivize people to talk about your business. You give out some type of reward when people refer your business to others. It’s fairly simple to sell – all they have to do is talk about you to their friends and coworkers, and they have a chance of getting a cash reward! Word-of-mouth marketing can do wonders for your success as a freelance designer, and encouraging people to spread the word about you can make a huge difference.
However, there are a lot of factors and technicalities that you need to consider when setting up our referral program. Keep reading to learn how to create yours!
Before you figure out what the reward is, you need to decide who can participate. Is it a free-for-all, where anybody and everybody can join in? Do they need to be invited to participate? Are you going to restrict it to just past clients? Deciding how large your audience is going to be depends on how comfortable you are with giving the reward to those people.
Personally, I like to have mine open to anybody who wants to participate. However, I do require that they take the time to fill out a quick sign-up form in order to get on my list. This helps me keep track of who is participating, and how I can contact them. I even have a highlight on my Instagram profile that provides the details of my referral program, and the link to fill out the sign-up form.
If you’re wondering how I created the form, I used the CRM website called Dubsado. I love using Dubsado for all of my client questionnaires, contracts, and even invoicing. Bonus: Use my code “designbykarlie” or click here to save 20% off your first month or year!
I also see if clients would like to participate in my referral program by allowing them to sign up through their Client Testimonial Questionnaire at the end of our project. I simply add a yes-or-no question to the form asking if they would like to participate, and provide more details about the program in their Offboarding Guide. I highly recommend doing this at the end of your client projects so that not only do you help grow your marketing systems, but it’s also a great way to encourage clients to fill out your Client Testimonial! In my Offboarding Guide, I provide an entire page dedicated to my referral program, and state that their first step in joining is to fill out the testimonial form. It’s a win-win!
After you decide who you’re going to offer your rewards to, you then need to decide what exactly it is that you’re going to give them. Below are some common incentives I’ve seen business-owners provide:
I highly recommend using some sort of cash as your reward – this will get the most attention from people. Whether that’s a specified amount from each referral, or offering a percentage of what you make off of the referred client. Personally, I structure my program to where I’ll give you $50 each time I sign a client who you send my way.
You might be thinking, “$50 each time?! That’s a lot of dough!” Sure, it can add up. But in the end, it’s a low cost if I’m pricing my services at $1,200 and higher. I sure don’t mind sending $100 to someone who brought me two clients – that’s a $2,300 minimum profit!
Finally, you need to set up clear guidelines for your referral program. Not only will this keep frustrated participants out of your inbox, but it will also make things quick and easy on your end. It doesn’t have to be too complicated, just make sure to know how people can sign up, and when exactly they are eligible to receive their reward.
For example, I have two ways for participants to sign up: If you were a client of mine, you are required to fill out the Client Testimonial Questionnaire. If you have not worked with me, then you can sign up by filling out the Dubsado form on my Instagram. (Ps. It’s also a good idea to market this sign-up form in multiple outlets, such as your website and email newsletter. I’m currently working on both!)
Secondly, and most importantly, make sure it’s clear that you will only send the money after the client signs a contract with you. In other words, if you send me a possible client, you are only eligible to receive $50 after that client signs a contract and pays their deposit. This protects me from having to send out $50 to every single person who sends a potential client my way – even if I didn’t end up booking that client.
Lastly, make sure to figure out when you will send out the rewards. Do you send it as soon as the client signs the contract? Maybe on the 15th of every month? Whenever you choose to send them out, make sure not to wait too long. The referral program is a thank-you, after all, and you want to make sure they know you’re grateful.
Is it time for you to start your own referral program? Good luck! This can easily be the number one way to get your client base up and running – and other people are doing most of the work! And hey – if you’re interested in earning an easy $50, don’t be shy! Click here to sign up for my referral program!
Feeling overwhelmed, conflicted, or intimidated by the thought of branding? You're in the perfect place. I’m Karlie, and as the creative behind K Made Design Co., I breathe life into brands for visionary entrepreneurs like you every day. My role is to spotlight what makes you distinct and then propel you to stand out in your industry.
Your reputation is pivotal, and I’ve heard through the grapevine that the quality leads you're seeking are scrutinizing yours. A piecemealed brand does no justice to your meticulously crafted client experience, services, and business structure. It’s time to align your external brand image with the exceptional quality of your services.
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K Made Design Co. is a design studio developing iconic brands and websites by creating one-of-a-kind identities that spark bubbling conversations, create lasting impressions, and empower business owners to step into the role of visionary so they can lead, expand, and define the future of their companies.
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