The business of referrals is a time proven one. As an association professional, you already know that who you know impacts the health of your organization. Stating the obvious here, “associations” are about getting like-minded people together to serve a common set of goals. So how do you expand your sphere of influence to grow your membership beyond its current levels?
Here are 9 tips to building and maintaining a healthy referral program to drive growth:
- Know where you want to go. Use business intelligence reporting from your membership management system to track the new member acquisition rate, as well as your retention rates to determine what membership growth goals you want to put in place, and be sure to include a timeline.
- Create a program for your referral business. Formalize the processes, marketing programs, program ownership, and metrics you will use to measure success.
- Not every member is a referral source. Find the top 10%-20% of your members that are engaged and thrilled with the membership experience.
- Offer rewards to members that regularly refer new members. (Event tickets, discounts, free advertising spot on your website, etc.)
- Be specific! Let the referees know what kind of members you are looking for…trade members, associate members, members by a certain geography or demographic, etc.
- Track who is referring most often, and give recognition publicly if appropriate, ie Association XYZ Ambassador of the Quarter.
- Create “bring a friend” event opportunities, as well as thought leadership your members can share on their social networks.
- Say Thank you. Each time you receive a referral, thank the member who sent it your way. Figure out how your appreciation will be expressed- a note, a lunch with your Executive Director? Continue to cultivate this source. If he or she has referred one member, he will likely refer another if acknowledged for the effort.
- What comes around goes around. Referral Karma can be a wonderful thing. Reciprocate by referring business to those whom are referring business to you.