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MSP Marketing 101 | A Simple Customer Referral System

automation business Mar 24, 2021

An important part of a business is referrals. And an even more important part of a business is thanking the people who refer business to you.

Even more important part is cupcakes, because, cake!

So today I’m going to explain to you why and also how you can automate this whole process using a free online service called Zapier.


Hi, welcome to my website. You can also head over to my YouTube channel where I post all videos for these posts and subscribe to follow. 


Referrals are a key part of every business. Nail your Customer journey and a good referral process and you can immensely grow your business without any other marketing.

Wouldn't we all want to grow our businesses without having to spend thousands on marketing campaigns, google adverts, networking events? All of that stuff that can take an immense amount of money and time.

Remember my love for Tesla? Tesla doesn’t employ any salespeople, and they spend nothing on marketing.

Why? Because they have a fantastic customer journey combined with what USED TO BE an incredible referral scheme.

Refer one customer who goes on to buy a Tesla? Receive a kid's electric car as a referral gift worth about £500. Refer another? Take a special wall charger that’s worth another £600

Another? This time you get a free set of wheels and tires that are worth over 5 grand! One more? Have a Tesla PowerWall battery pack for your house - worth over 6 grand!

The gifts went on and on, right up to being able to earn yourself a 100% free Tesla Roadster, a gift worth over 250 thousand pounds! Why are they gifting such huge rewards?

Well, because me telling my mate how good, efficient, cheap to run and tax-efficient my car is - then goes on to buy an £80,000 Tesla themselves... they can afford such a huge gift as thanks for selling one of their cars.

It’s not like they have to pay a salary or commission to any sales staff!

And you can implement something like this in your business. Sign a customer up, pay 5 grand and you're done! HAH! No, do this at an amount that works for you. GO BROKE OR GO HOME.

Over the years I’ve done many things - Apple iPads, Watches, Champagne, Brownies, all sorts. So I'm going to run you through setting up this basic referral system, that can be fully automated within your teams.

Before I run through this really simple thing, I will say there are 2 rules.


Referral schemes should not just be you buying customers.

If you are marketing your business along the lines of - ‘we will pay you £50 for every customer you refer to us’ you are devaluing you’re an entire business. The message this sends is that you are willing to buy customers. I will pay you £50 for you to give me a name.

That will likely mean people will send you rubbish referrals of their mate down the pub just to get £50.

You can counter that by saying ‘£50 for every customer you refer to us, who then signs up as a paying customer but that goes against rule number 2.


Reward the referral, not the sale

Thank every single person, every single time they refer you some business.

It is your job to convert that referral into a paying customer - not theirs.

So with that in mind - let’s get on to this really quick way to reward your referrals. In this example, we’re going to completely automate sending Cupcakes and Champagne as a referral gift.

In a nutshell, it’s simple. When a new customer is created in your CRM system, then it’s going to ping an email to an incredible company called Rachaels Kitchen here in the UK who will then send out a bottle of champagne, a box of brownies, and a nice note to whoever it is you want to thank. This post isn't sponsored by them, they don't know that I'm making this video - but maybe after this, they'll get a few orders? Either way - it'd be helping out a really great business.


Let’s start with your CRM system.

This of course varies depending on what you’re using - but if it’s something like Hubspot, then you’ll want to create a couple of new fields. The first is one called Referrer Name, which can just be a single field. The second is a multi-line field called ‘Referrer Address’.

Then when you create a new customer in your CRM, your sales team will enter the name and address of the referrer. If all of your referrals come from existing customers, then this field could just be a lookup to your existing customers to save you from finding the full names and addresses.

What’s next is to either use automation built within your CRM system, as many do nowadays though depending on what CRM you use, this might be a premium feature, or you can use something like Zapier to do this for you - which is what we're doing today.

But the automation is basically this:

  • When a new customer is created, and the referral field is not blank.
  • Then send an email to ‘Rachael's kitchen’.

So let's run through the process.

Over in Hubspot, we're going to create those 2 fields. One for Referral Name which is a Single line field, and another for Referral Address which is a multi-line field.

Head over to Zapier, and we're going to create a new Zap, with a trigger of Hubspot, and action of Gmail. With these selected, we can now say we want this to run when a new contact is created in Hubspot, and the action of sending an email via Gmail - or whatever email solution you're using.

If this is your first time using Zapier, then firstly it's going to ask you to connect up your CRM and your Email accounts so just follow the prompts, and then it's going to take you to the page where you build out this automation.

Here you want to start with the CRM side of things - When a new contact is created, then we want to pull across these specific fields to use. Referrer Name, Referrer Address, Contact First Name, and Company Name. We're pulling these in as we want to use them within the email we're going to send.

Next, we're going down to the Email - we want to send an email to [email protected]k, subject of 'New Order!' and in the body, we're just going to write this out.


We have another new customer - please can you send the usual bottle of Champagne and Brownies to:

Referrer Name

Referrer Address

With a note to say ‘Thank you so much for recommending us to ‘Referrer Name’. Enjoy the champers and chocolate as a small token of our appreciation!’ Best regards, Me! ‘

And that is basically it.

There is one thing that you may want to do, which unfortunately means that you won't be able to use the free tier on Zapier. The free tier allows you to do 'If this happens, then do this. That's it.

What I might suggest is to add a middle filter step in. So what we're looking for is:

When a new contact is created, check if there is anything written in the Referral Name field and if there is, then send an email.

Because if there isn't a name in the Referral Name field, then it's likely that person came direct, through an ad campaign - basically they didn't come to you as a direct result of someone else.

And that is that!

You can now completely automatically, send cake and a bottle of bubbly when someone refers your business. Talk about cool!

Obviously, replace alcohol with a soft drink or cake with something less calorific if you must!

And there are some other ways you can tart this up! When you are onboarding your customers - ask them for their favourite drink and cake, add those as custom fields within your CRM too.

Then when you send this email to Rachael's kitchen or whoever it goes to - you can send them that more personalised favourite drink or flavour of cake, again completely automated!

What creative ways can you think of to reward your referrals? Throw some ideas around, think of something really awesome.

There we go, a quick and easy way to reward referrals for any business.








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