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“If you build it, they will come.”

Well, maybe in most cases, but not for a referral program.

When starting your referral program, you obviously need to publicize that you have it in running. Here are 4 simple steps to effectively promote what could be your most profitable marketing channel:

1. Use your email lists

To begin, you should introduce your referral program with an email blast that effectively shares the details. Include a strong call-to-action that brings people directly to your landing page and make sure it’s laid out clearly and concisely.

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Email marketing is ideal for keeping your customers engaged and aware of new company updates, so it makes sense that it’s also invaluable for getting people excited to promote your brand. If you have a strong enough email list, segment your customers into different lists based on what they’re most interested in to send targeted emails that increase bring more traffic to your landing page.

Remember that even your most engaged customers might not know you have a customer referral program. Hitting them with a strong email campaign is the perfect way to get them excited and mobilized.

2. Know your customers

If you’re an established business or even just starting out, one of the most important aspects of a marketing plan is to create a customer profile. What social network are your customers most active on? How do they engage with your brand?

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Knowing the details of your customer’s online behavior can help best target where company resources should be directed. If you notice that followers love sharing pictures on Twitter, post regular photo updates with a call-to-action to sign up for the referral program. However you go about it, knowing your customers can be a difference maker between successful brand engagement and muddling your message.

3. Wear it proudly on your website

Your ambassador referral program should get some real estate on a homepage or landing page. Adding a link in a header, sidebar or even smack-dab in the middle of your page will lead customers to take action and sign-up.

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Conversely, keeping the link hidden probably won’t get you many sign-ups. Again, people need to know you have a program before participating in it.

4. Don’t stop promoting

In the age of social media, attention spans have never been shorter. If you sent out an email or a tweet about your program great, but that might not be enough to keep people consistently engaged with your program. You don’t want to annoy your customers, but subtle reminders will help keep your brand’s referral program at the top of their minds. Maybe send an email out once a month with an update, or drop a link in a Facebook post/tweet.

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Promoting your referral program is essential to success

Whatever the method, remember that effective promotion of your customer referral program is an ongoing process. If you want your program to be successful, you’ll have to remind people that it actually exists. Keep people engaged with your program online and not only will you bring in new customers, but also more passionate fans to compound your referrals exponentially.