Word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly powerful. In fact, it’s so powerful that in a recent survey, 93% of respondents stated that their purchasing decisions are most influenced by recommendations given to them by friends or family. However, it needs to be encouraged and facilitated. There are still plenty of customers out there who ignore referral programs altogether, making it more difficult for marketers to execute their strategy successfully.
When you step into the market with a referral program, it’s your job to take your program to the next level by using the right tactics and strategies. Starting an affiliate program is just the beginning.
Essentially, you want to give your existing customers that little nudge they need to become brand advocates. In this article, we’re going to introduce you to seven marketing strategies to increase referrals. Let’s dive in!
1. Provide Unbelievable Customer Service
Many businesses today put a lot of care and effort into providing stellar customer service. Their customer service reps are pleasant, efficient, and above all, helpful. When customers have an issue or a question, they answer quickly, kindly, and with genuine care.
This kind of dedication to customer care is absolutely vital to building your reputation and encouraging positive word-of-mouth. Most importantly, it can turn any blunder on your part into an opportunity to build trust. You might have heard stories about restaurants sending free food to their customers after getting complaints. Similarly, you can turn any negative customer experience into a positive one and win extra points.
2. Promote Sharing on Social Media
From a marketer’s point of view, social media is an essential tool for increasing referrals, and if you’re running an ecommerce shop, it’s especially important. It’s basically your shop window, and much more. If you’ve succeeded in providing exceptional services to a client or customer, remind them to share their experience on social media or with their friends and family.
There are many options you can explore when it comes to social media marketing, such as rewarding each referral with a gift, providing personalized discount codes, organizing giveaways, and so on. For example, if you’re selling on Shopify, you could offer your clients a discount code if they promote your Shopify store on a renowned website. You could also ask them to share your program on their Instagram profile in exchange for gifts and rewards.
When using social media as a company there are a wide range of tools that can be used to do things like enhance imaging, schedule messaging, increase engagement, and so much more. Bulk.ly put together an awesome list of over 500 social media tools that is definitely worth reviewing to find some good options for your company to use.
3. Provide Referrals to Others
One of the best ways to increase your referrals is to form a habit of recommending your products/services to other businesses. This B2B referral program can then start a chain reaction that will help you score a lot of new business in just a short time.
It’s never too late to start your independent campaign, where you’ll recommend products/services to your friends, family, and other small businesses. You’ll come across many businesses that will be willing to cooperate with you, so make sure that you’re reaching out to them in a polite and friendly manner.
4. Display Your Finest Sources of Referral
When you manage to please some customers so much that they’ve become regular buyers and they bring more business your way, you’ve hit the mother load. It would be great to expose them and use their positive story for further promotion. You can ask these satisfied customers if they’re interested in getting featured on your website via a case study or short testimonial.
Reading the real experiences of buyers and existing customers sparks a sense of trust in leads, who will then be more likely to try out your services or products. So, make sure that you’re taking good care of your existing loyal customers who have invested a lot in your brand. Let them know that you appreciate them.
5. Offer an Incentive
Many companies use this strategy to boost referrals – and trust us, it works. All you have to do is send a thank-you gift to your customers for referring someone to your business. These gifts don’t have to cost a lot of money, and they have a single aim: showing your customers that you’re grateful for them.
If possible, try to personalize your gift to some extent. It might be a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, the latest makeup, skincare goodies, coupons for restaurants, discount codes, a fruit basket, or anything else that the specific customer will surely appreciate. This is a great way of surprising your customers, and knowing there’s a gift in it for them will encourage them to refer to even more people in the future.
6. Make Sure to Ask
Laying down a strong foundation is the key to ensuring that all the tactics can work well. Imagine your customers not doing any referrals because you never asked them for it. If you want people to spread the word about your business, you need to encourage them to do it. You also need to provide all the information that’s necessary for completing their action of referring.
Some people love to help others, and they will do so if provided with all the right information. How can you expect your customers to recommend your business if, for example, you don’t even have a website they can instantly send to someone when they recommend you?
Giveaways are a fantastic way to facilitate referrals. Beauty companies especially host giveaways on Instagram often, and it works great. Basically, it’s where you’ll offer a specific prize to a random follower, on the condition that they complete a certain action that will be beneficial to your referral marketing or even just your social media presence.
You need to define this action in the giveaway – it might be following your page, liking the giveaway post, sharing the post on their account, tagging a friend in the comments, etc. The point is to boost your engagement rate, encourage referrals, and spread the word about your brand in exchange for a small gift to one lucky participant.
Of course, there will be only one winner, but the whole giveaway will help you reach out to people who might have never known about your business before, and they will look forward to similar giveaways in the future.
A great referral program relies heavily on marketing. Start with making sure your customers have a solid reason to recommend you to others. Then, use the tactics we’ve discussed to make it easy and gratifying for them to do that.