Tips to Set Up a Referral System With Clients

Here's another question from Latoya of Writers Brew:


What tips do you have for creating a referral system using existing clients?


I can't say that I've ever set up a referral "system" with my existing clients. I'm a big believer in natural referrals whenever possible... they just carry more weight. My clients are happy with my work, and they refer me to their friends, colleagues, and even their own clients or customers.

But if you wanted to be more aggressive about it, there are certainly things you can do:

  1. If you work with local clients, try my recent tip on using business cards to get referrals.
  2. You could offer them some kind of reward system reminiscent of an affiliate program. As an example, maybe for every five new clients they refer to you, they'll get a free article or whatever it is that they're buying from you to begin with.
  3. You can get their referrals a little more indirectly by asking select clients to offer testimonials, which you can feature on your site or portfolio.
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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2 thoughts on “Tips to Set Up a Referral System With Clients”

  1. What about writers who work from home and cannot network like you do? Say, I just use the net to find gigs and I don’t call any ad agency or a company to hire my services. I mean I don’t have a natural referral system like you do, what to do in that case?

  2. I do work from home… it’s not an excuse not to network. I don’t call agencies and such to hire my services. The bulk of my clients come from online connections. This particular article wasn’t necessarily about doing anything offline, but how to use your existing clients to get referrals to other potential clients. While the first tip here is an offline tactic, the second and third are things you can very easily do on the Web. Remember… I didn’t start off with a natural referral system. I earned it and built it by networking (mostly online) and keeping clients happy. You can certainly do that too.


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