Kickstart a Referral Campaign

Referral marketing is by far WAIMA’s most successful marketing tool—so if you only implement one new idea this year, let it be this one.

If every one of your students refers someone, the size of your school will
constantly increase. Referral marketing is low cost and grows your business, almost on autopilot.

What is referral marketing?

Referral marketing is excellent for attracting your ideal client because when your existing customers bring their friends, they very often share the same interests and customer profile.

In its simplest form, referral marketing is simply word-of-mouth promotion. Traditional word of mouth isn’t bought; it’s earned when you deliver an outstanding product or service. That said, quite often even outstanding schools don’t get the word-of-mouth attention they deserve. That’s why it’s important to help things along with a formalised referral campaign. Let’s get started…

Referral campaign: Step-by-step

  1. How can you motivate existing students to tell their friends?
    • Perhaps you could offer a free lesson for every student who brings a friend?
    • The bigger the incentive, the more motivated your referrers will be!
  1. How can you motivate referred prospects to sign up?
    • Make sure new prospects know that when they sign up, both they and their friend receive a benefit.

Take action!

  • Write out a simple referral letter or referral card. Make the ‘free gift’ very obvious and include a space for two names—your student and their friend.
  • Print out enough letters/cards for all your students and distribute them this week.
  • Talk openly about your referral program during every class.

TIPs for success

  • TIP #1—make it easy for new students to sign up. Even if you’re offering a ‘trial class’, don’t make new students jump through hoops.
  • TIP #2—avoid putting a limit on free gifts/classes for each referral. If you have one student who is referring tens more, they should be fully rewarded for their efforts!

Would you like to see a successful referral card template?

Become a TIMA member and get access to downloadable templates for all your business systems. We use them ourselves, and they’re proven to work! Join us at or if you’re a PaySmart client, talk to your PaySmart BDM about complimentary access to a suite of TIMA business coaching tools through the Partner Program with PaySmart.

TIMA1-150x150Graham McDonnell and Phil Britten are Directors of the WA Institute of Martial Arts, one of Australia’s leading martial arts providers servicing over 1,500 clients over three locations with their world class programs. In addition to running successful martial arts schools, they have also established The Institute of Martial Arts (TIMA), offering business coaching and learning programs to help other martial arts businesses plan and develop for success. 


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