As we’ve mentioned a few times, communication is a big part of a referral channel’s success. It keeps referral sources engaged and when done correctly, keeps your referral program top-of-mind with sources being educated on fresh new offers or deals.

But “correctly” is the key word here. If you bombard your referral sources with message after message that doesn’t actually say anything, eventually, they’ll stop paying attention even when the message is important.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to make sure that your referral marketing message is solid.

Who is your audience?

This question is, on its surface, very basic: who are you sending this message to? Is it going to referral partners, customers? Both or neither? Knowing who you want to target means that you’ll know, at a base level, how to approach the message.

But it also goes deeper. Do you have an in-depth understanding of your partner or customer base? Do you know who they are and how they operate? If not, you should. Understanding your audience intimately is the first step toward crafting a message that they’ll actually want to read.

Knowing your audience means that you know how, when, and why to contact them.

What do you need to say?

Why are you sending this message? Is it because there’s a new deal you want customers to be aware of? An incentive or contest for referral partners? A new product that you want them to start pitching?

Whatever it is, condense your message into a single sentence. And from there, build it out. Stay focused and concise, and don’t take too long to get to the point — the longer the message is, the more likely it will be that the recipients won’t read all of it. And many will skim, anyway, so put your most important part in the first sentence.

Your customers and partners have limited time — so don’t waste it.

How can you make this message stand out?

Is your open rate down? If so, it could be because all of your messages sound the same.

This goes into the last point of knowing what you need to say, but it goes further than that. For example, if you’re revealing a new incentive or contest, why? What’s the occasion? How can you make the email reflect that occasion that makes it stand out from the incentives and contests you’ve done in the past?

Don’t let your emails blend into one another in your audience’s mind. Make sure that you make this one unique — but, of course, don’t sacrifice readability or conciseness to achieve this.

Has anyone else read this message?

If you can, we definitely suggest sending someone on your team a “test” before sending out the message to its recipients. Not only will they be able to catch simple things like grammar and spelling mistakes, but they’ll also be able to let you know if you take too long to get to the point, or if something is too confusing.

By following all of these steps, you can create a powerful referral marketing message that your recipients will actually read and respond to.