direct mail referrals

Direct Mail Referral Programs

How to use direct mail referrals to generate a consistent flow of new leads and customers

direct mail referrals

They say if you want referrals, you need to ask.

And that’s true.

But if you want more referrals, you need to incentivize.

A good referral program is a consistent referral program – and we can help you develop that program using direct mail.

We will custom design, print and personalize your referral mailer – then you can decide who you want to reach and how often.

Why Direct Mail?

Referral programs can be conducted in many ways – in person, by phone, by email, online and with direct mail.

We like direct mail because it’s efficient, fully trackable and easy to manage.  You have  complete control over how many referral offerings are in the market.

Start with a ‘thank you’

When you’re reaching your customers with a referral request, your first message should be a “thank you” for their business.

Don’t overlook this.  Customers want to be appreciated.

In fact you might even think about sending a small gift card with the mailer.  This would be in addition to the incentive gifts you are offering for referral.

What incentives to use

This will depend on what you are selling.  Obviously, the more valuable to incentive, the higher the response.

But be smart about this.  Don’t offer more than you can afford.

At the same time, take the long view.  Understand that (in many cases) a customer will bring you repeat business (lifetime value) so that even if you pay a little too much to generate that first order, the subsequent orders may make it worth your while.

Reward incentives for current customers

To get your current customers to provide referrals, you need to make it easy for them.  Your message needs to be clear and easy to understand.

One way to do this is to create coupons that your customers can pass along to their friends and family.

As a reward for distributing your coupons, you can offer them cash, gift card, credit or a discount for a future purchase or entrance to a drawing.

Of course, you will need a way to track the coupons so you know who was responsible for a new customer.

Also, you don’t have to limit yourself to current or past customers.  You could ask anyone to send you referrals – friends, family, vendors, employees or complete strangers.

Introductory incentives for new customers

Even when your current customers refer you, very often those referrals aren’t going to take action right away – or at all.

To improve the chances the referral turns into a customer, consider “dollar off” or “percentage off” incentives that are appropriate for your typical project or purchase size.

For this audience, you are likely to use the same promotions you use through your other marketing efforts.

Use referrals to get leads too

Sometimes, it’s not realistic to expect a referral to turn into an immediate customer.  It could be that the financial commitment is too large or the sales cycle is too long.

In those cases, consider rewarding customers for sending you leads – or certain types of leads like an appointment.

Choose a mailer format

For direct mail referrals, we strongly recommend a simple but effective package that features a #10 window envelope with a sheet of coupons that your customers can detach and distribute as they see fit.

The sheet of coupons come in two sizes – 8.5 x 14 inches (which yields 3 coupons) and 8.5 x 11 inches (which yields 2 coupons).  This sheet would be personalized as the top (to show through the window envelope) and on each coupon to allow you to track the source of a successful referral.

You can also use a cover letter (either generic or personalized), but a letter is not required.  You can provide your customer with instructions at the top of the form.


14-inch Form – 3 coupons 11-inch Form – 2 coupons
Package 1 – #10 – No Letter

  • #10 window outer envelope
  • Referral forms – personalized
Package 1A – #10 – No Letter

  • #10 window outer envelope
  • Referral forms – personalized
Package 2 – #10 – Generic Letter

  • #10 window outer envelope
  • 1-page generic letter
  • Referral forms – personalized
Package 2A – #10 – Generic Letter

  • #10 window outer envelope
  • 1-page generic letter
  • Referral forms – personalized
Package 3 – #10 – Personalized Letter

  • #10 window outer envelope
  • 1-page letter – personalized
  • Referral forms – personalized
Package 3A – #10 – Personalized Letter

  • #10 window outer envelope
  • 1-page letter – personalized
  • Referral forms – personalized

Outer Envelope Options

The packages above all feature window envelopes.  This is a cost-efficient approach because it allows you to use one addressing process for both the outgoing delivery and the reply device.

However, if you prefer a closed face envelope (no window), we can provide that.  You should note that a closed face envelope will need to be addressed separately.

Other envelope sizes and window options are also available.  Call to discuss.


Postage Options

Basically, you have two choices – first class or standard class (formerly known as third class).  Both first class and standard class are eligible for significant discounts through pre-sorting and pre-barcoding (which we provide).

With these discounts, you can save about 10 cents in postage.  So a first class mailing is likely to cost about 39 cents per piece for postage, and standard class mail should cost about 29 cents.  (always subject to change)

The real difference between the two is delivery.  First class will get delivered within a few days, while standard class mail could take well over a week – sometimes two weeks or more.


Are you a do-it-yourselfer?

Are you looking a small quantities?  Would you rather do this in-house?

We can design and print all the components for you, then leave the personalization and mailing services to you.

You can personalize the forms with a simple mail-merge, or you can do it by hand.


Let’s talk

When you’re ready to discuss a project or request a quote, contact Bob McCarthy at 508-473-8643 or