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7 effective strategies to promote your student referral program

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This week we launched our new student referral program feature to help creators attract new students easier. To this day, a product recommendation from a friend is one of the most effective marketing strategies. In fact, customers are four times more likely to buy something if a friend recommended it to them. So, if you’re ready to take advantage of our new feature and grow your online course business, let’s discuss the best ways how to promote your referral program. 

As a reminder, if you have created a student referral program on Teachable, all students enrolled in your school have a Refer a friend tab in their profile settings (accessible via their profile icon in the top right corner of any school pages). 

7 ways to promote a referral program

1. Take advantage of your existing email list

The best place to start is to reach out to your existing course email list. People who are on your list are familiar with your business. And, the chances are that most of them are either your current or past students. That makes them more interested and willing to recommend your product to others. All you have to do is ask. 

When you’ve launched your student referral program and added referral blocks to your course(s), create a short dedicated email campaign to send out to your email list during your launch week. Make sure you include these points in your emails:

  • Make your offer valuable: What do your students get for referring your product to their friends?  
  • A clear call to action: What do you want your students to do once they have finished reading your email?
  • An easy way to refer: Make it as easy and hassle-free as possible for your students to send a referral to their friends in a few clicks or less.

Your efforts with your email list won’t stop there, though. Include the details of your referral program in all of your future communications with your email list. You can also run repeated dedicated campaigns every quarter or so, reminding your list to join your student referral program in the future. 

2. Improve your sales landing page

When you officially launch your student referral program, you’ll want to make sure you include information about it directly in your online course sales page. This way, when people stumble upon your course, they’ll immediately see that if they enroll and like your course, they’ll be able to receive even more value from you by recommending your product to their friends in the future.

Here are a few things you may want to include on your landing page:

Social proof

Past student experiences and reviews of your courses and products are the best way to show prospective students that they will get a quality product. When someone lands on your sales page and sees that many past students are saying wonderful things about your online course, they’re going to be way more inclined to make a purchase. And then again to refer it.

Make the referral incentive clear

Creating valuable offers as an incentive for your students to refer your products to other people is crucial. Make sure that your offer is valuable and useful to your students. And, make it very clear to them on the sales page what they get for referring their friends to you. The prospect of getting more rewards by purchasing, completing, and referring your course can be a great incentive for potential customers to hit “buy” initially.

A clear incentive example: “Give your friend a 10% off their first purchase and get 10% off your next one too.” 

3. Update your course

Once your student referral program is live, you’ll want to advertise it for students to see. You’ll want to start with the basics: enable the referral block on your Teachable course so students currently taking your course have easy access to begin referring.

To do so, log into your Teachable admin. Under the Site tab in your Teachable admin dashboard, you’ll now see a Referrals tab. Click into it, then click the Set up student referrals button. A pop-up window will appear in which you’ll fill in the referral discount as well as the number of rewards a referrer can earn. Then click Next to fill out information for the friend award. Then click Next again to fill your program details (this is what will appear on the referral block that you add to your curriculum). For more detailed instructions, check out our Knowledge Base article on student referrals.

Then, student referrers can find their individual referral links via the Refer a friend tab of their user profile and begin sharing immediately. Remember the URL you choose for your referral program is up to you: consider your school’s page, a specific product page, an external landing page, or even a specific product’s checkout page.

For example: If you’re trying to promote your coaching services, you may chose to set up your referral program to incentivize course students to share your coaching product checkout page.

4. Include a CTA in an order confirmation email

When people enroll in your course, they’re running high on positive emotions. They’re happy to get their purchase and start a new journey to learning a new skill. Use that moment to invite them to get an even bigger deal by adding a referral reminder in their order confirmation email. 

For example: Say you have online courses teaching people how to cook healthy meals at home. When someone purchases your online course on cooking healthy meals, and there’s a mention of a discount on another course via a referral program, you’ve created instant interest. Because they’re already interested in the topic at hand, chances are they may be interested in a complementary product. So, adding a note in your confirmation email acts as a great reminder to buyers of your program and the future value they can receive by referring.

5. Organize a social media campaign

Another great way how to promote your new student referral program is to create a dedicated social media campaign. During the first few weeks of your referral launch, you’ll want to put all of your efforts into promoting it on all platforms. Prepare in advance by creating social posts and videos, depending on which medium you prefer to use, and schedule the posts to go out regularly. 

You’ll want to make sure that you’re giving your followers all the information about your referral program, emphasizing the incentive, and also giving them an easy way to buy your product and join your program if they’re interested. 

It’s also a good idea to utilize your social profile. You can add one link on most social media platforms, so take advantage of tools like Linktree. It allows you to include one link on your bio that leads people to a landing page with multiple links. For new students, consider linking to your course and explaining how they can take advantage of the referral program. For current students, review with them the value of the referral program and explain how they can begin sharing from their course page. To review this process in depth, see our Knowledge Base article here.

6. Share it with your student community 

If you have an online community in the form of a Facebook group or Circle community for your current and past students, then you’ll want to take advantage of that and promote your student referral program. Because you’ve been cultivating a community, the chances of people interested in referring you to their friends will be higher. 

Every business, big or small, has superfans. They’re people who use your products, enroll in your courses, and are raving fans of your brand. You’re most likely to find those people in your close-knit community. 

Create a post and pin it to the top of the feed that allows your students to see all the important information on the program.

7. Run a limited-time offer

Fear of missing out is one of the best drives for making purchases for people. It’s great for business when running a limited-time sale, and the urgency strategy can also be utilized to entice people to sign up for your Student Referral Program and share it with their friends. 

Pick a week or a month when you run an increased reward campaign for everyone participating in your referral program. For example, instead of offering 10% off, offer 20% as an incentive. Or, instead of adding a free product from your shop, offer two. 

A limited-time offer combined with doubled rewards will surely entice more people to participate and share your business with their friends and family. It’s hard to resist a good deal. To learn more about how to adjust your referral program percentages or offers, view our Knowledge Base article.

No matter how you run your student referral program the important thing to remember it this: Your students should want to share your course because it has positively impacted their lives—not just do so for a reward. Always remember to deliver value with your course (and your referral offer) and your students will happily do the marketing work for you.

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Author: Karolina Wilde, Karolina Wilde is a freelance writer. Her work has been published on Better Marketing, The Ascent, and Sexography reaching over 25,000+ readers. In her free time, you can find her podcasting, reading, or creating TikTok videos.

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