Your Guide to Creating a Successful Referral Program


How to make a referral program successful.

Referral programs are an effective, low-cost way to bring in valuable new members who generally buy more in products and services, resulting in a higher lifetime value. They are also happier and more loyal because they’ve selected your Affiliate based on a reliable criteria — the recommendation of a friend. Plus, referrals decrease the sales cycle, allowing you to close the sale much faster than you can with non-referral sales.

When it comes to creating a referral program, you need a few key things to get your program up and running successfully.

Compelling Offer: To start, you need a great offer that includes incentives for both your member and the person they are referring. Sure, you can choose to reward the referrer and skip the reward for the new prospect. But, combined rewards bring in more referrals because they give the prospect an even greater incentive to give your Box a try.

One easy solution is to give both parties a discount on their membership or a free membership period. Other effective incentives are logo gear, recovery drinks and other gym merchandise.

One caveat here is that you need to decide on key exclusions before launching the program. That way you won’t be caught off guard by the unexpected. It’s always best to keep your members’ best interest in mind as you want it to be a positive experience. So, keep the small print minimal.

Great Communication: You want to ensure you do a good job promoting your program so that everyone knows about it. Your message needs to be effective and optimally placed. When you craft your promotional materials, remember to keep the wording simple so your members will remember the details of the program.

Effective ways to promote the program include sending your members automated emails, posting the program details on social media, hanging signs in your gym, displaying an announcement on your website’s homepage and announcing the program before or after classes.

Easy Execution: Something as simple as a printed card granting the bearer a free week or month is all you really need. Because it will have your information on it, it is advertising in itself. You can let your members sign their name on the cards and hand them out to friends. Then prospects can bring the cards into your gym to redeem the offer and get started.

Supportive Programming: The final element of a successful referral program is supportive programming. On-ramp classes give your new members the ability to seamlessly transition into your community.

The time couldn’t be better for you to introduce a new referral program for your Box. With just a little time and preparation, your members can be your best source of marketing.


By Brian Lucyk, Chief Customer Advocate & COO of Zen Planner. Contact him at