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Marketing Magic: Designing a Referral Program Folder


By Robyn Emde

This Marketing Magic series highlights ways to attract business with impactful promotions.

Word-of-mouth recommendations are probably the oldest and most trusted form of marketing. They’re often spontaneous and happen naturally, but as an owner you can use various strategies to influence them. Shawn Fitzjarrald at Reliable Professional Maintenance in Effingham and Palestine, Illinois, implemented an idea that’s made his repeat clientele boom.


Fitzjarrald was looking for a way to keep his company’s name at customers’ fingertips, and decided to create a brochure booklet full of reminders…and rewards. He put together an “invoice folder” that contained a handwritten thank you note, referral card, branded beer koozie, instructions on how to leave a Google review, business cards and a message about how they can receive a $25 gift card in exchange for recommending a new customer. He spent about $200 making them. “I was making $20,000 a month off online referrals and when we focused on it, our revenue went up to $36,000,” Fitzjarrald says. “I wanted to do the same thing with this program.”


Fitzjarrald’s daughter designed the booklets using the company’s logo and made 500 of them to start. After they saw success, they printed another 500. “I have 180 folders left, so I’ve reached 820 people in two years,” he says.

To train his employees to make the most of the packets, Fitzjarrald brought in the shop owner who gave him the idea. “We also made a training video that explains the importance of building relationships with customers so they want to come back,” Fitzjarrald says. “It’s all about the people and how you present yourself to them. This folder may be your last chance to make an impression.”


The invoice folders have paid for themselves nearly 600-fold.  In the two years since Fitzjarrald started using them, he’s been getting an additional $5,000 to $7,000 per month on referrals alone.

For owners considering incorporating a similar system, Fitzjarrald recommends training service advisors on who to give them out to. “Try to spot high tone level potential customers and only give out the folders to the kind of patrons you actually want to keep.”

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