January 31, 2019
Harnessing the power of referral marketing for your coworking space
Have you ever thought about the factors that lead us to buy a particular product over all the others available on the market? According to recent research, 84% of people place the most trust in referrals from people they know. In fact, research suggests that one conversation with a friend can drive five times more sales than a paid ad.
This makes referral (or word-of-mouth) marketing one of the most effective tools in achieving membership growth in your coworking space. What’s more, it’s likely your cheapest option and you probably already have a base of happy members you can leverage to get things started.
In this post, we’ll take you through how to recruit these brand advocates and set up a referral program that can really help your coworking brand grow.
7 characteristics of a winning referral program
Approaching members for referrals can feel awkward. Despite knowing that your members love your coworking space, you may be uncomfortable asking for referrals out of the blue. This doesn’t have to be the case. By creating a referral program that benefits everyone, you can incentivize participation and make the initial ask that much easier.
To help you get started, here are some best practices you can follow:
Reward referrers: Adding an incentive for referring makes it worth their while to help your coworking space grow. This could be a discount on membership, a cash reward, or exclusive perks for each friend they bring in.
Make it a win/win: People are much more likely to refer friends when they both get something from it. Offering a welcome bonus for the new member, in addition to a referral reward for the existing member who has made the referral ensures everyone comes away feeling like a winner.
Keep it fun: Gamifying the referral program can help fuel your members’ competitive streak. You could give away a grand prize to the member with the most converted referrals or create a points system with increasing discounts for reaching each referral milestone.
Promote, promote, and follow up: No one’s going to know about your referral program unless you tell them. Achieving awareness requires deliberate effort. Promote the referral program across your communication channels – your community feed, social media, website, newsletter, emails – and make sure to do it regularly (without overdoing it, of course).
Be transparent: Establish clear and simple guidelines for how referrers can earn rewards, including requirements and limits, and make this information easily accessible to members. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings that could damage your relationships.
Gather feedback: Ask your members what they think of your referral program. What aspects do they like and dislike? Are you offering the right incentives? Is there a way to improve their experience or make referring easier? Getting constructive feedback will help ensure your program remains an effective growth tool over the long term.
Say thanks: A good ‘thank you’ goes a long way. Make a point to let people know the status of their referrals and give them a pat on the back when they’re successful. Not only will it motivate them to refer again, but it will also help you build stronger relationships that support long term member retention.
Tracking referrals in Optix
The ability to track referrals effectively is a critical component of any referral program. If you can’t track referrals, members won’t be rewarded for participating and you’ll lose not only their support but also their trust.
This is where the Optix custom properties feature can help. From the Optix admin dashboard, you can add a field to your registration form to collect referral sources from new members. This information can then easily be retrieved from your user list. When you identify that a referral meets your program criteria, you can record the successful conversion on the referring member’s profile and promptly reward them and encourage them to do it again.
When done right, a referral program can be a powerful marketing tool for your coworking space. The key is to clearly outline the guidelines for participation and ensure everyone feels like they win by getting involved. Not only will this drive member growth, you’ll also end up with happier members ready to spread the word.