Referral marketing is an excellent way to get new people into your business – when it’s done correctly. Without the right offer, the right distribution, or the right value proposition, your referral marketing plans can go unnoticed and underused.

Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind when planning your referral marketing efforts over the holidays, and into the new year.

DO Incentivize Your Prospects to Do Business With Referral Program Rewards

The most important thing to remember when creating a referral offer is that it has to provide significant value to your prospects while still being cost effective for your business. You always want to create a referral offer that makes people actually want to come to your business. Think of what would draw someone to your business and develop an offer that provides real value.

DON’T Forget That Social is King

Social media is one of your best marketing tools – and you don’t even have to do all of the work. Every time your customers post about you on social, they’re widening your referral reach. Encourage them to post about their experience at your business through social contests or a rewards program. The more they post about you through Facebook photo campaigns or social check-ins, the more their friends become exposed to your brand. Because of this, social media can be a great referral engine for your business.

DO Create a Referral Program Rewards to Get Your Customers to Refer

Gamify your referral marketing by offering your referring customers prizes or points through a referral program rewards. You can offer set a high point value for referrals to give your customers more reason to bring their friends into your business.

You can even incentivize more referrals by giving special treatment (or more points) to your top referrers. For example, you can host a contest for a month where the top referrer wins a special prize from your business, or you can offer bonus points to whomever refers five or more of their friends during a specific time period.

DON’T Make it Difficult for Your Customers to Refer Their Friends

Your customers will be much more likely to refer their friends if you make it easy for them to do (and reward them, of course). Make sure that your referral or rewards program allows your customers to refer their friends across multiple channels, such as social media, text and email. The more opportunities they have to refer their friends, the more likely they are to take advantage of them.

DO Pay Attention to The Experience You’re Selling

Your referral marketing doesn’t start and end with your offer – you also need to make sure that the prospect coming in with their referral offer receives the best first impression at your business.

Think about your referrals as a holistic cycle. When your current customers refer their friends, a new person comes into your business. Once that person becomes a customer, they can then also become your best marketers and referrers.

It all starts with your customers’ experience. If you make that first impression memorable, they’re more likely to help you grow your customer base even further. Give them the best service and support from the get-go.

How do you keep your customers referring their friends again and again? Let us know in the comments below.