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What is Referral Marketing?

May 17, 2017 · SwiftPet in Digital Marketing, Dog Boarding, Dog Daycare, Marketing Tips, Pet Sitter

The single most powerful recommendation that any business can receive is from an existing customer! Today, that recommendation has come in to form of social. Nearly 5 Billion people are actively connected via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat and Instagram. Those same people have taken what used to be word-of-mouth and made it into a complete social sharing experience that friends and family can learn about. Pet care businesses not leveraging social referral programs in order to grow their business may be missing out on significant revenue opportunities.


Why is referral marketing so important?


Well, nearly 58% of people count on referrals from family and friends when it comes to using a business’ services. It is a great way to organically increase your reach without having to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on Ad-words and Social Media advertising. In a case study  done by The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania titled, “Do referral programs increase profits,” the results were a resounding “YES.” In the study they found that referred customers are not only more profitable but also more loyal! In fact, they found that referral programs on average have an ROI (return on investment) of roughly 60%!


So what are some ways that you can generate more referrals and revenue?


  1. Build social sharing into your referral program – Promoting a referral program can certainly be a bit time consuming especially for pet resort, daycares and pet sitters that are busy attending to guests and their pets. So ideally, you would want to create a program that allows your own customers to become your biggest brand advocates. After all, a referral can reach more potential customers than ever before when it is shared on your customers own social networks. 
  2. Make it a part of your reservation/scheduling system – After a customer makes a reservation or schedules a meet and greet, they are usually excited since they spent significant time learning more about you, your business and your services. To build on this excitement, implement a way that customers can then share that experience, “I just booked a stay/visit with {Pet Resort Name/Pet Sitting Business Name} for Fido! Check them out and get 15% off your first {overnight stay, daycare, grooming etc.}. Click here.
  3. Automate how you promote the referral program – Many busy business owners or managers tend to not continue promoting a referral program due to the time it takes to send out updates or messages to potential customers. This is why it is important to automate the program (set it and forget it) and watch the revenue come in. You can learn more about how to automate how your promote your referral program in previous last blog post, Why use Marketing Automation Software?.
  4. Incentivize – A customer is more likely to share their experience with friends and family if they were incentive to do so.  While a word-of-mouth referral can be as simple as a friend recommending your business to another friend, online customers differ greatly. To increase conversion from customers visiting your website or finding you on mobile, you can offer a small incentive to request a reservation or meet and great i.e. $10 off your first service. Once the customer makes the request, boost your chances of getting additional customers by allowing them to share there same offer with friends and family. By doing this, you increase your chances of getting more customers by nearly 65%! 
  5. Measure and Analyze – Referral programs, if done right, can harness the greatest return on investment than other forms of advertising. Higher conversions, higher spend and not to mention better loyalty. There are several ways in which you can measure the effectiveness of your referral program. You can either setup a Google Analytics Campaign to tracks specific URL’s or measure click troughs.  You can boost it on social media to increase your reach. At SwiftPet, we provide customers with detailed data about the customer, the most effective campaign source (social channel) and the return on investment all in one easy to use admin. Example:



An effective referral marketing program can yield significant benefits to any pet care business. The most powerful asset you have in business is your customers. Your loyal customers want to share their experience with other so why not give them the ability to do so? There is no greater thank you a customer can give to a business than a referral to a friend of family member. Keep in mind that in business, it costs more money to FIND a new customer than it does to KEEP an existing customer happy.


Do you have a referral program that has been successful for your business? Please share your experience with us!



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