Project Management Approach to Launching a Good Referral Program

Over the last 12 months I’ve launched 30+ referral programs, mostly for Y Combinator backed startups. What I learned is that 9/10 founders are launching their referral programs for the first time and unfortunately don’t have a great framework to work with

The internet is littered with articles like ’10 things to launch a successful referral program” — and none of it is actionable advice. It’s mostly generic statements that are very obviously true but aren’t actionable or specific enough to be helpful, stuff like “use Tracking to optimize it” or “have clear marketing goals in mind”.

So, I wanted to give you a clear cut & dry playbook for what you should do to get your referral program to work. In this 2 part series, I’m sharing my project management approach to getting your referral program to work.

  • Part 0: Variables you should measure=> things you should fix

a discussion of which variables you should track and measure, and what actions you should take to improve each of those parts

  • Part 1: Promoting your referral program

what you should do if your referral program awareness or participation are low. this part of the referral program is so important that I feel like it deserves a separate article

  • Part 2: Increasing participation of your referral program

what you should do if customers know of your referral program but aren’t using it

  • Part 3: Deliverability of your channels

if you’re using email as a referral channel, you need to measure open rate => referral program emails tend to end up in spam

  • Part 4: Conversion rates of your referral offers

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