Top tips: creating referral cards for loyal customers

28th July 2009 by Denise

As any freelancer or small business person knows, the best kind of advertising is often word of mouth. There’s nothing better than a satisfied client – excited about the completion of a job well done – sharing your contact details with a friend or colleague.

We’ve all done it – asked friends on and off line; ‘Does anyone know any good photographers?’ or ‘Can anyone recommend a web designer? I need new website and not sure who I can trust’.

As a business person, a personal endorsement means you can hit the ground running. There’s no need to do the hard sell (which is never much fun for either party) – you can talk through your best projects or portfolio, knowing the groundwork has already been laid.

But just because personal recommendations take place between people you’ve never met, doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to help the conversation along. In this current climate there’s no point leaving things to chance, especially when it’s so easy to get the conversation started.

These cute little packages were made by Cardiff based photographer Sarah Thomas. By dividing a pack of MiniCards into groups of ten, she was able to create ten unique ‘recommend a friend’ sets with photographs personal to each client. Adding simple, but (cost) effective packaging creates something really special – and worth talking about. It would be a hard heart that receives these cards and doesn’t rush to share them with friends.

Sarah used a template for her cards, originally designed by children’s photographer, Dawn M. Available for free, the template works with Photoshop, and can be downloaded here. There are several different variations, and it can easily be customised with your own colours and text.

In a very different style,Rayna, an Oregon based photographer, created these smart referral cards. Taking full advantage of the variable Postcard options, she created two cards per client, with a traditional postcard layout on the reverse. Recipients can post these to friends, and each card entitles the bearer to a free print, following a session with Sapphire Rain Photography. Super-smart, again you know these will be talked about and shared among friends.

On a completely different tack, we love the idea of this, from Brighton based web & social media agency, Nixon McInnes. At the end of each project, they send each client a pack of MiniCards featuring images of their newly launched site. On the reverse are the site’s details, so they have not only a little gift, but an instant way to promote their new venture. Again, another way to get clients talking – and what better way to promote yourselves, create good feeling AND promote your work at the same time.

And what about you? Are you using referral cards? We’d love to see them and hear your stories.

Comments (15)

  1. Else:

    Wow thanks so much for these great ideas…my moo mini cards are already a great hit at every meeting I attend, they make an unforgettable impression. Gift sets of sets for clients will be the perfect addition to this very succesful way of marketing myself.

  2. Dani K.:

    I am a photographer and order packs of either mini-cards or business cards featuring photos of a client, some of them I keep for myself to hand out, and the rest I give to the client with their photos. I had decided to start doing this after clients started bugging me for business cards, as their friends kept asking who their photographer was.
    I use my logo on the front of the business cards, and I’ve been trying to work on a solution for my mini-cards, so that first idea is great!

  3. Chroma Lab:

    We ordered some referral cards yesterday. It’s such a great idea for custom clients.

  4. Anne Madison:

    My idea is a bit smaller and humbler, but boy, does it ever work! My business is retail, and I have the ability to create various discount coupons at my website that can be applied at checkout. I ordered some mini-Moo cards last year and began by scribbling a discount on the back. Now I just have the code printed on the back of the card with instructions to enter it at checkout. They’re terrific for shows when people are a bit undecided about a piece. They’re also great to use as enclosures with an order. And when I’m asked to contribute to “goodie bags,” I always include a mini for each bag. I think I’ve been through 300 of them in the past year, and I just received 300 more. I can tell by the number of times the code is entered that they’re working.

  5. Jenni Lloyd:

    hey Moo! Thanks for featuring our client cards – we love making them, and clients love getting them. Here’s another set we did for a new blog we’ve just launched for Coca-Cola:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenni_lloyd/3655704462/

  6. HFB Advertising Agency:

    We send out referral cards all the time.

  7. Micheal:

    Thanks for showing all of these Ideas. This is really helpful!

  8. Sophie @ Century Finds:

    I have just started sending out personalized mini cards with every order. I sell small vintage and contemporary home decor items and whenever possible (if it doesn’t sell first!) get a matching card printed for each item. I include one to keep (with the picture of the product purchased) and a stock card to give away. That is the beauty of mini cards :-)

  9. Derek Smith:

    Hi, I’m new to moo. I downloaded the template by Dawn M.mentioned above but when I upload my image to moo mini cards I get the message ‘Sorry but this image is too small to print. We always recommend a minimum of 437px x 189px’.

    The template is 378px x 874px which exceeds those dimensions but the other way around. How do you upload the image so it is accepted correctly? Thank you.

  10. Denise:

    @Derek, sorry – this is a bit of a bug on our part. For the time being, I would recommend rotating your image before you upload it, if you can. It’s not ideal, but it should work.

  11. Jan Perry:

    I’m waiting for the cows to come home….no I mean the moo’s to get here!!! Can’t wait after seeing all these great ideas!!

  12. real estate photographers gold coast:

    Great tips! I’m sure this one will be very handy to many photographers. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Shannon:

    Who do you guys use to print small amounts (5-10) of these great referral cards? WHCC prints only in 25 increments, and of course to start out with I don’t want to have to give out that many:) Thanks!

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