real estate referral marketing

Real Estate Referral Marketing: Driving Growth and Building Trust

Real estate referral marketing uses recommendations to attract new customers. Offering referral fees incentivizes advocates, leading to increased customer reach and trust. Referral programs are cost-effective and can be tracked and measured using software like Friendbuy. Choose the right reward distribution method and leverage referral program software for success.


When it comes to making a purchase decision, many people turn to the internet or ask friends and family for recommendations. The opinions and experiences of those closest to us hold a lot of weight, making referrals a valuable tool for businesses. Real estate referral marketing is a strategy that leverages these recommendations to attract new customers and keep existing ones satisfied.

The Power of Referrals

Referrals are like a bridge between your brand and potential customers that you might not have been able to reach otherwise. The individuals who refer others to your business, known as referrers or Advocates, provide a crucial connection that can lead to new customer acquisitions. To incentivize and reward these brand advocates, offering a referral fee or commission is a common practice. By doing so, you not only show appreciation for their support but also encourage them to continue bringing new customers to your business. This approach ensures a steady stream of new customers while keeping your current customer base happy.

Integrating Referral Programs with Marketing Plans

While referral programs can be effective in driving growth and boosting sales, they work best when integrated with a comprehensive marketing plan. Traditionally, marketing campaigns focused on print and TV advertisements. However, businesses now recognize the value of word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing through referral programs like Friendbuy. These programs simplify the process of launching and managing a referral campaign, making it accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Understanding Referral Fees

A referral fee is a type of commission paid to individuals who bring in new clients for a business. It is also known as a finder’s fee and is commonly used in industries such as insurance, real estate, and retail. The fee, typically paid in cash, can range from 5% to 25% of the total sale, depending on the nature of the transaction. Referral fees serve as motivation for referrers to recommend the business, attract new customers, and facilitate sales.

In the Friendbuy system, the Advocate Reward serves as the referral fee. Advocates receive rewards such as gift cards, discounts, or swag in exchange for successful referrals. Cash rewards are not an option in Friendbuy’s referral program. The combined cost of the Advocate reward and the Friend incentive constitutes the referral fee. As both the Advocate and Friend receive rewards, the cost of the referral program is self-sustaining, as it is tied to successful conversions, such as product purchases or subscription sign-ups.

The Benefits of Referral Programs

Referral programs offer numerous advantages over traditional marketing methods. Rather than relying on digital ads, email newsletters, or social media posts, referral programs provide a more targeted approach for reaching potential customers. By leveraging the connections and trust within someone’s personal network, referral programs increase the likelihood of converting potential customers into actual customers. This effect is particularly pronounced when customers are making their first purchase for an expensive product, as they tend to conduct thorough research and seek opinions from friends. Offering referral fees can provide the following benefits:

  1. Increased Customer Reach: Referrals enable businesses to tap into new networks and reach customers who may not have been aware of the brand otherwise.

  2. Trust and Conversion: Referrals from friends or family members carry a higher degree of trust, making potential customers more likely to convert into actual customers.

  3. Cost-Effective Marketing: Referral programs are generally more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods, as Advocates actively promote the product within their network.

Choosing the Right Referral Fee or Reward

When designing a referral program, determining the appropriate referral fee or reward is a crucial step in the process. Friendbuy recommends offering two-sided rewards to create a non-transactional feel, where both the referrer and the potential customer receive something of value. However, there may be instances where one-sided rewards are the only option due to legal regulations. Additionally, tiered rewards can be implemented to further incentivize “super” advocates who consistently refer new customers. To identify these advocates, you can download the referral campaign report and use the data to personalize and enhance the referral program’s effectiveness.

Tracking and Measuring Referral Programs

The success of a referral program relies on properly tracking and measuring its performance. Friendbuy provides a comprehensive system for monitoring every stage of a referral program, from the registration of an Advocate’s referral link to the purchase made by their Friend. By primarily focusing on the Advocate’s referral code and verifying triggers, Friendbuy ensures that only legitimate referrals are counted and paid out. Various tracking options are available based on the type of business:

  • Outdoor Voices, an activewear company, offers both the Advocate and Friend a $20 discount.
  • Via TejonSuite 201Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274
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The Cost-Effectiveness of Referral Programs

Compared to traditional marketing plans, running a referral program and offering referral fees presents a more cost-effective approach. By leveraging the trust and personal networks of Advocates, businesses can target potential customers who are already predisposed to trust the brand and make a purchase. The act of providing a reward in exchange for a referral creates goodwill with existing customers, increasing the likelihood of repeat business. Industries such as dealerships, jewelry stores, and companies selling high-ticket items commonly use this fee structure. A set cash fee is paid out regardless of the effort exerted by the referrer. However, referral fee percentages can also be adjusted based on the extent of the referrer’s involvement in the referral process. This fee structure is suitable for businesses in various sectors, including software, real estate, and contracting. It’s worth noting that larger projects often warrant lower referral fee percentages. One-sided rewards, where only the referrer receives a reward, can be implemented effectively when offering intangible rewards such as gift cards, products, or swag. Friendbuy’s referral program structure often includes two-sided rewards, where both the Friend and Advocate receive incentives.

Choosing the Right Reward Distribution Method

Friendbuy offers different options for distributing referral rewards, depending on the type of account and integration. Choices include:

  • Coupon Codes: This option is suitable for accounts not using Shopify. Coupon codes are created and distributed from a code bank within the Friendbuy account.
  • Account Credits: For users of Shopify, Account Credits can be issued to Advocates. Assistance with implementation is available through Support or Customer Success Managers.
  • Gift Cards: Friendbuy’s integration allows for the distribution of gift cards, prepaid cards, or cash rewards.
  • Tremendous Integration: This option is exclusive to merchants who have set up the integration within Friendbuy and Tremendous. It enables the distribution of rewards such as gift cards, prepaid cards, or cash rewards.
  • Custom Flow: This choice is ideal when a unique flow for Advocate Reward distribution is desired, allowing for personalized processes such as managing account credits independently or providing specific swag items.

Utilizing Referral Program Software

Referral program software is a convenient way to launch, monitor, and maintain a referral campaign. Friendbuy’s software offers businesses a one-stop solution, automating the tracking process so that businesses can focus on other aspects of their referral program. Small businesses with new referral campaigns may opt for manual tracking using spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. However, as businesses grow and acquire more customers, manual tracking can become overwhelming. A step up from spreadsheets is using online forms to populate referrals into a spreadsheet, followed by using other online apps for tracking purposes. Referral program software, such as Friendbuy, simplifies the process and ensures accurate tracking throughout the referral program journey.


Real estate referral marketing utilizes the power of recommendations to attract new customers and foster loyalty among existing ones. By offering referral fees, businesses can tap into their customers’ personal networks and reach individuals who may not have been aware of their brand. Referral programs provide cost-effective marketing solutions, leveraging trust and personal connections to drive conversions. When designing a referral program, choosing the appropriate referral fee or reward is crucial to incentivize Advocates and Friends. Reliable tracking and measurement through software like Friendbuy ensure that the referral program remains on track. By taking advantage of referral programs and utilizing modern tracking tools, businesses can leverage the power of real estate referral marketing to drive growth and maximize ROI.

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