Marketing strategies, both digital and traditional, generally focus on driving new business by engaging an audience that is new to you. But in all your efforts to get in front of new people, don’t lose sight of one the most critical organic marketing tools- marketing to existing advocates to attract referral business. Does your current strategy encourage referral marketing? When 82% of Americans consult friends and family before making a purchase, you want to make sure people are talking about your brand.
Who can be a referral source?
Whether you’re interested in direct referral business or driving referral traffic to your website, everyone can be a source. Of course, not everyone will provide you with a quality business lead. But not asking only guarantees that you miss the opportunity to increase revenue.
You can reach out to your business network of clients and associates to ask for referral business. Your clients can be ideal referral sources because they tend to champion your service. Creating a strategy to ask existing clients for referrals can also afford you an opportunity to build on your existing business relationship. Engage the client. Thank them for their business. Ask for referrals.
Don’t forget your staff can be great lead generators. You might assume that your internal team would know how to refer business, but they might not. Be specific and define what a good referral customer would be for your company. Maybe follow up by teaching them how to ask for referrals. If they’re as passionate about your business as you are, your staff will make great brand ambassadors.
Vendors & Suppliers
If your business uses vendors, freelance or outsourced services, ask those partners for referrals. As vendors, they generally value your partnership and will have a vested interest in your success. They may be an invaluable resource for referral business.
Consider implementing referral incentives for your business. Use your website, digital advertising, and social media to help instruct your audience how to supply a referral. Then reward them when they do. You can create a reward drawing or offer monetary discounts to make it engaging and enticing. Design a web form to make it easy.
Capitalize on Word of Mouth Opportunities
Be where your audience is and know how your customers ask for recommendations. Social media outlets for example, offer countless community groups, and many times, that’s where consumers start when looking for a referral for a product or service. If you find yourself at a networking event with an opportunity to introduce your company to a group, be sure to mention who your ideal client is and ask for business. If you’re in the grocery store and run into an old friend or colleague, don’t hesitate to mention that you’re accepting new customers. Regardless of where you are, always be prepared to make the most of a word of mouth opportunity.
Be visible with your personal and company efforts in the community. Your business’ social responsibility is worth talking about and can help promote your products or services to audiences with whom you normally do not network. When visiting a local children’s wing of the hospital, attending a local animal shelter fundraiser, or spooning up mashed potatoes at your local homeless shelter, be sure to wear your branded hoodie and promote your efforts digitally. You’ll find by not asking for business directly, but instead talking about good deeds, your company will be branded a socially responsible organization and remain top of mind to your audience.
In the spirit of accepting, be willing to give referrals as well. By offering potential referrals to your clients and vendors within your networking circles, you foster an environment of sharing with your partners.
Referral marketing is an easy aspect to overlook. Regardless of your current marketing strategy platform, supplementing your efforts with a referral program is a natural addition. For more ideas on how best to integrate a productive system with your current strategy, contact us. We might even have a referral for you!