Let's talk assets. Truly, what greater asset does a growing company have than it's customers. Especially customers who have just bought their product, are excited about it, and want to share this excitement with their family and friends. Here is an interesting fact. Many SaaS companies don't have a referral program.
This should be the first marketing campaign that you build. Because you need to give your current customers a tool to market your product or service to new prospects.
Every time a customer makes a decision to buy something, they feel proud about it. They have just made an important choice based on sometimes tedious research. You have somehow convinced them to give you their credit card information—a big step for many customers. Or maybe you have convinced them to stay with you, to renew the service, or to buy more from you. These moments are the right moments to give them an opportunity to share their big decision with their friends. They might be thrilled enough about it to let everyone to know.
Consider your last car purchase. Weren't you most excited about it right when you brought it home? That's when you want to tell your friends. You're proud of it. You did a lot of work to select the perfect make and model, weighing all kinds of pros and cons. This is the time when you're most likely to refer others, to share your choice. After this moment, when you begin to use the service or the product, the chance that you're going to be just as happy throughout the lifecycle of using it diminishes every day. You're probably going to be less satisfied over time. You may have to deal with customer service, with disappointments, with unexpected difficulties. No product or service is perfect.
Therefore, it's critical that you provide customers of your SaaS product with an opportunity to share their decision with others that is as easy as it is timely. After they landed on your product page, after they typed in their billing information, after they decided to renew the subscription, make it easy for them to click on a button and share it with their friends on Twitter, on Facebook, via email, etc. There are many ways to automate this process—you don't need to build it into your site yourself. Companies like Referral SaaSquatch can do this for you, and there are tons of others.
To conclude, let me say this. If you plan to build a marketing program that will drive conversion for your website, building a referral program is an excellent place to start.
Your to-do list:
Research referral program automation services and explore one.
Collect your customers' information and thank them for referring others. Have valuable incentives for them like a month free subscription, a product sample, or a customized service.
Ask for feedback. Ask your customers for feedback about your referral program. What else would they value in exchange for referring new customers? Ask them about what kinds of referral programs they would see as best practices.