One of the biggest buzz terms today in social sharing is “referral.” So what are referral programs and why have one?

1. Word of Mouth

A referral program is a way to increase word of mouth about your school and to potentially bring in new students.  It means rewarding your students for bringing in friends to classes.  Word of mouth brings about a 3 to 5 times higher “conversion” to registration than other forms of advertising.

2. Why use Referral Programs

Referral programs not only ignite advocacy, they also amplify awareness, drive high-value registration and give insight into your current students.

3. Consumer sharing is at an all-time high

Consumer online sharing is at an all-time high—whether it’s posts, recommendations, photos, tweets, shares, or +1s and Mark Zuckerberg predicts that every year consumers will share twice as much as the year before.

Best Practices for Referral programs:

1. Make the offer compelling enough. What is a new student worth to you? Can you give a current student 5% off on one class? How about a $50 gift certificate? Only you can judge. But, testing makes perfect. Have a “referral drive” twice a year and test new offers.

2. Make your offers easy to understand and easy to find. Use Facebook, Twitter, your amazing new website (save $100 off when you order now!) newsletter blasts, and your teachers- spread the word!

3. Have an easy way to keep track of referrers.

4. Don’t just POST on FACEBOOK. Advertise on Facebook.

If you are really serious about referral programs, go to the experts: the companies who do this for a living!