Do you have a brilliant business idea that's taking off? Are you at a point where you have a product and your customers love everything about it? Have you considered leveraging the power of referral marketing to help even more people discover your product? There are numerous referral marketing ideas that can help you increase your sales.
Consider this - nowadays, a business has to sell more than just a product. You have to sell a full customer experience; An experience that has inspired your customer to share your products with friends and family.
Marketing conditions are continually changing. Unlike a decade ago, businesses these days do not only sell a product or service to customers, but also an experience. They are given a full experience that will inspire them to share the product or service with friends and family - all of whom are potential customers. Word-of-mouth referrals are the most effective way to grow your business, and this is especially true when you are just getting started as a business.
According to Entrepreneur, an ever increasing number of businesses in 2015 and beyond will try to be more open to feedback from their customers. Here are a few referral marketing ideas on how you can make the most out of your customer referrals.
1. IMPROVE YOUR REFERRAL MARKETING STRATEGY
A Nielsen Trust Study from 2013 showed that referrals are the most trusted form of advertising. This information should be good motivation to establish a solid referral strategy, one based on various referral marketing ideas.
Research is the foundation of any marketing strategy. When you want to craft a good referral marketing strategy, the initial research should include the basics, such as understanding customer desires and needs. But we also advise you to conduct research on any potential referral channels, such as news publications, influencers (bloggers and social media influencers), as well as finding all possibilities to produce customer reviews and opinions online.
Once your research is done, use the data to find the right referral marketing ideas, and then craft a successful strategy which includes:
- Exceptional customer service. Give customers or potential buyers a reason to engage, care about and tell others about your brand. Satisfied clients provide great referrals that are invaluable to small businesses
- The 80/20 rule of referral marketing
- Shareable product experiences. A simple Facebook post, Twitter tweet or Instagram selfie can now reach hundreds, if not thousands of potential customers in a few seconds.
- Referral marketing program. Consider including an obvious incentive in your referral marketing program. Customers are more likely to refer friends and family when there is a valuable incentive involved. If the incentives are worthless or undesirable to the company's existing customer base, the customers won't be interested enough to participate in the referral program. Make the program more visible by placing signs in stores and using any internet marketing tools that apply.
- Influencer. Find a person who is sufficiently influential in your niche. It doesn't have to be a celebrity; A popular blogger, YouTuber or Instagramer will do the job.
- References. Use references as referrals because people consider other people's opinions before determining whether they should purchase a product or not.
2. FOCUS ON ONLINE REFERRALS
Referral marketing can be highly effective in an online environment due to the popularity of social media and sharing sites. Internet referral marketing can potentially spread information faster and to a wider audience than most offline marketing strategies.
These days, average customer reach is much larger than ever before and for many people with strong social followings, it can be enormous. Customers now have the power to make or break a business by what they say about it online.
According to research carried out by social media experts, 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, whereas only 14% trust advertisements. Perhaps that's why online communities are so good at generating business referrals.
Dropbox, an online file storage company, implemented a very successful referral program in 2009 asking users to tell their friends about the service. The program offered rewards for both sides in the form of additional free space.
This program came to be very fruitful. Namely, by 2010, 35% of daily sign-ups were the result of a referral, while signups had permanently increased by 60% overall. The company estimated that within a 30-day period (April 2010), their users had sent more than 2.8 million direct referral invitations.
Dropbox debuted as a Y Combinator startup in 2007. It now has 300 million users and more than 500 employees. Follow the trend and take advantage of the variety of social media approaches to increasing your referrals. Brainstorm on various referral marketing ideas and try them out.
3. USE CONTENT AS A REFERRAL TOOL TO FORGE STRONG REFERRAL RELATIONSHIPS
Most often, customers are too busy to leave referrals, even though they are satisfied with the product or service. In situations like this, valuable content can generate referral introductions in ways that are constructive and valuable as opposed to shallow and fruitless.
Valuable content is an effective tool for attracting strategic partnerships as well. While many business owners focus most of their referral efforts on customers, non-competing businesses that serve your target market can be one of the most potent sources of referrals.
4. CONNECT WITH RELATED PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
The old premise "It's not what you know but who you know" is still very popular in the business world. Even though you may be skilled and dedicated to your new business, your chances of success will rise exponentially when you connect with the right people.
Many companies collaborate with complementary businesses and cross-promote to each other's customer bases. In order to promote your business, identify a connection that would be interested in setting up a barter program with you, one in which you'll work for them and refer new clients to their business and vice versa.
Networking is the key to obtaining more customers and earning brand trust. For this reason, view every moment as a potential networking opportunity and watch your business grow.
5. SEEK CREATIVITY IN REFERRAL MARKETING IDEAS
Having a variety of electronic devices available to you and your customers, you have infinite possibilities of creating inspirational referral marketing ideas. If your client is willing, try to capture a testimonial on video. This can be a really powerful asset. Offer them an incentive to motivate them to make a creative referral.
Another idea you can try is thinking of a witty way to ask for referrals. There is an interesting example of a computer repair company using stamps reading "We Crave Referrals" on every paper that customers receive - including newsletters, marketing material, and invoices.
Remember, the best referrals are the ones you don't even have to ask for. Thus, provide your customers with an exceptional experience that will make them eager to share it with others. Try various referral marketing ideas and see how they work for your business.
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By Ellen Bowers