Why Every Coach Needs a Referral Program

Did you know that 92% of consumers trust referrals from friends and family above all other forms of advertising? That means you can pour piles of money into social media ads and dedicate hours to content creation and still miss one of the biggest easiest ways to gain new clients. 

Recommendations and reviews are the bread and butter of how people shop these days. If your business is going to flourish—and if you want to gain more clients without having to shed sweat and tears for each one—you need a strong referral program.

Can A Referral Program Really Work for My Coaching Business?

After building our business and working with other coaches, we can confidently answer, yes. Referral programs are a great way to build your business while placing your efforts and focus on your clients.

How do referral programs help?

  • They Nail Down Your Niche: Referral programs churn out highly-qualified, focus-specific leads that turn into clients. By asking customers to think about people who would benefit from your program or service, they’ll refer you to others that are a good fit for your brand. 
  • They Get Your Clients Talking: Good referral programs incentivize your current clients to share your program. 84% of people see referrals as the most trusted and influential form of advertising. When your clients are willing to brag about your business, they can become one of your most valuable marketing vehicles.
  • Your Clients are More Than Marketers: With referrals, it’s business and it’s personal. While referrals are powerful marketing tools for your business, referral programs can also bring your current clients further into the fold of your community.


    They become gracious spokespeople for your brand. And if they run their own business, these clients can make the best partners for future collaborations where you can give back.
  • Build Wealth without Wearing Thin: Referrals are the low-hanging fruit that deliver results consistently. A good referral program helps you generate revenue without exhausting your efforts in sales—and those referrals snowball! One referral can result in several new leads, each potentially providing more down the road.

How to Create a Powerful Referral Program

It’s important to set up a referral campaign that incentivizes your current clients and makes a great first impression on your future clients.

What does that look like? Use these three steps to build your referral program:

1. Pick an offer.

Most of your clients won’t go out of their way for you if you don’t go out of your way for them first. Make sure you offer them a thank-you gift that respects their time and shows your appreciation.

There are few limits on what incentives you can offer in your referral program. Here are a few examples to get you thinking: 

  • The Give/Get Model: Lots of referral programs have the option to “Give $10, Get $10,” where current clients can get $10 off their next purchase and give $10 to each person they send a referral to. Companies protect themselves by not providing this money unless the referred clients makes a purchase. 
  • The Tiered Model: You can also offer your incentives in tiers: “Refer 1 Person, Get $10 off. Refer 2 People, Get $30 off.” If you want to push clients to recommend your services to more than one person, you may like this method. 

2. Set up a symbiotic relationship.

Before you start throwing freebies at your current clients, think about what would work best for them and for your business. Whatever you offer has to fit within your current business model, and it has to be able to scale with you as you grow. 

It also has to appeal enough to your clients to work. Think about what would really add value to your clients and respect the time their spending recommending you to others. You can also look back and think of the offers that have made you want to share a product or service with your friends.

3. Keep it stupid easy. 

Even your biggest-fans won’t want to jump through hoops to recommend your program. The less steps your clients have to take before collecting their referral reward, the better. 

We recommend software (don’t worry we’re going to talk about these) to help keep things organized and user-friendly. Many of these referral program tools assign a unique link to each client after they sign up for a referral program. This way, you and your tool can track exactly which clients have referred others to your site and which leads successfully came in from those shares.

When creating your referral program, make sure the process of referring new customers and earning their rewards is as easy as possible. Like all the other aspects of your business, your referral program shouldn’t be difficult for your clients. 

4. Promote your program.

Once set up, it’s time for you to do some of your own talking and sharing. 

Make sure that your customers know the referral program exists. Invite your current clients to join in by telling them about the freebie you’re offering and how they can benefit.

Feature your referral program prominently on your website, include it in your next social media post, and look for ways to make it known.

You can also easily entice your clients to recommend your program by sending them a few friendly reminders via your email marketing. Set up automated emails with your offer a few days after they sign up for your program and as soon as they finish your program. 

The Best Referral Program Tools for Coaches

As with most types of marketing, you can simplify your workload by automating the process using referral marketing software tools. Here are our four favorites to get you going: 

  • Referral Factory: Super easy to use, Referral Factory can help you get more referred clients. You can build your own referral program in just a few minutes and use any one of their 1000 pre-built referral program templates. This tool lets you build your own web pages without needing the help of developers. This way, you can capture referrals from your website with pages that look completely on-brand and keep track of the rewards you offer to your referrals. 
  • Advocately: This helpful tool automates the referral process of asking your most satisfied clients to write reviews. It even helps you control your reputation with a process that will catch unhappy clients before they review. Advocately also lets you easily turn positive reviews into social media posts. 
  • Ambassador: Ambassador allows business owners to boost their customers, referrals, and revenue with a powerful referral program. Their user-friendly software simplifies and automates referral marketing, making it a great option for coaches just starting out. This popular software is one of the fastest growing private companies in America. The tool will help you enroll, track, reward, and manage your clients, affiliates, influencers, and partners. 
  • Referral Rock: Referral Rock’s self-feeding referral program automates much of the process. Like the other tools on the list, you can run programs and manage clients, influencers, and partners. 

Referral Rock stands apart from its competition by including rock-solid success managers for each user. These managers will help you extract the maximum value from the platform and teach you how to use their tool best depending on your specific business and your clients. 

It’s Time to Rev Up Your Referral Program

Referrals are one of the most valuable forms of marketing. The huge majority of us look to others for product and program recommendations and we listen closely to what others have to say. 

A great referral program makes it easy for your happy clients to share your services with others and grow your business further. 

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Ready to really take your business to the next level? See how our other clients are making big money each month in their coaching businesses with a personalized coaching app. Schedule a free demo today, and see how your coaching business can grow.

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