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5 Tips for Starting a Refer a Friend Program for Your Doggie Daycare

Last Updated: March 10, 2018


If you're looking for a simple way to get clients for your pet boarding kennel, look no further than starting a refer-a-friend program. There're simple to get started and they provide great results. Even though you're most likely very busy managing your business, it won't take too much time to get your refer-a-friend program up and running. Once you've got everything set it, it's just a matter of adding new customers to client list.

1. Decide on a Worthwhile Promotional Offer to Give Clients

If there's one way to have an unsuccessful refer-a-friend program at your doggie daycare, it's by giving away a miserable referral bonus to your current clients. Make sure that you're saying "Thank you!" loud and clear. If you're trying to get your current members to refer new clients and you're only giving them a $5 discount coupon, you're going to have a massive failure of a program. Consider that a new client will generate $1000s in new revenue for your business. For bringing this new client in, you're only giving your current client a $5 coupon? Seems pretty stingy, no? Make it a point to really make it worth it to refer friends. Maybe give out a free week of boarding for every client that they refer. You're going to have some happy referring clients when you offer such a good deal.

2. Choose an Equally Beneficial Deal for Your New Referrals

Like any normal referral program, you need to give a discount to both the referring party as well as the referral. That said, make the promotional offer a sweet deal for the new clients. Maybe offer a free day of boarding, or, if you're using the refer-a-friend program for your grooming business, give out a free grooming and shampoo. Either way, you're going to have clients giving out referral coupons to their friends. You're going to want to make sure that those coupons get redeemed.

3. Make Sure to Pay Out Your Referring Members Right Away

If you're giving out a good referral bonus to your current clients, you're going to need to make sure to pay out those referral bonuses as soon as someone redeems a deal. Don't wait until your new client tells their friends, "Hey, I just used that referral coupon you gave me." and then you'll have your client wondering if you're going to honor their referral. The best thing to do is shoot your client an email when their friends comes in to redeem the referral offer. Something simple as, "Hi Jill, your friend Kelly just came in and presented the referral coupon you gave her. Thanks for referring her. Your next week of boarding is on the house!" will show your clients that you care about their referral and are serious about paying out.

4. Advertise Your Refer-a-Friend Program at Your Business

Once you have the logistics of your referral program set up, you're going to need to start advertising it at your boarding kennel, grooming salon, etc. If no one knows that you're offering a referral program, no one is going to start referring their friends. Get out there and start making some referral cards that you can print out and hand out to your clients. Make sure they include your business logo, address, and any other relevant information. Hand out a stack to each client that comes in to drop off their pet. They'll be able to keep a few cards in their wallet or purse and give them out to friends when pet boarding comes up in conversation.

5. Keep Track of Program Effectiveness and Make Tweaks Along the Way

One of the most important things in the marketing world is to make sure that you're tracking your results and tweaking your program as required. You're probably familiar with the term data-driven decisions, and that's exactly what you'll be doing. Let's say that you look at your redeemed passes and realize that more people are redeeming the Free Week of Boarding pass than the Free Grooming Pass. With that knowledge, you can start printing out more Free Week coupons and phase out the Free Grooming coupons, since you know that the Free Week is more likely to get redeemed. Track your results, analyze them and keep your refer-a-friend program agile.