5 Tips for Upping Your Referral Marketing Game
Word-of-mouth is a powerful thing. Consider the last five (non-necessity) products or services you have purchased or restaurants you’ve dined at. How many were because, or partially because, someone you know recommended them personally?
When we like something, we talk about it. It’s human nature. And, consumers—a whopping 83%, in fact—trust referrals from people they know. That is why referral marketing is so critical.
But, how do you rein in something that seems like it should be organic? For one, offer first-class customer service! Happy clients will be your biggest advocates and have the power to increase your customer base as a whole. However, you can’t rely on your customer service alone to do all of the heavy lifting. This is because, on the flip side, nearly half of consumers are more likely to try new brands than they were five years ago. While this could be helpful to your business, it could also be a hindrance, so it is important to make an organized effort at word-of-mouth marketing to ensure you capture those consumers—and keep them. Here are five tips to bolster your referral marketing program.
Embrace the Internet
More and more consumers are taking to the internet, particularly social media, to share their experiences with businesses and other customers. Make sure you are on these platforms and are active, which will help encourage folks to engage with you, talk about your business, and leave reviews. If you’re still not convinced that you should be on social media, consider the following: According to Market Force Information, more than three-quarters of US consumers are influenced on purchasing decisions based on the brands that they follow on social media, and 81% of their purchasing decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts. Even if you aren’t on social media, your customers are and you’re missing out on the conversation about your brand.
Leverage Reviews and Photos
Have your happy customers posted a review on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Yelp? Share those stories with the rest of your followers! Or, maybe someone has even gone so far as to email you about their positive experience. Include it on your website or in your next newsletter (after asking for permission, of course). People often like to be recognized! After all, they’ve taken the time share their experience with you. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews, whether on social media, on your website, or in emails and newsletters.
The most authentic experiences are shared through photos. As the saying goes, a photo can say a thousand words, So don’t forget to share your customer’s Instagram shots or Facebook tagged photos on your company page! Not only do photos increase conversions, but they also allow you to credit and honor your current patrons. It’s a good way to continue engaging your customers after their initial experience with you.
Create An Experience
We spoke about creating an unique experience before in our post, “Embrace the Impact of Online Reviews” and it still reigns true. Your customer needs to have a reason to share their story with others and take 5-minutes out of their day to post a positive review. Your goal is to create such a memorable experience that your customers want to include others. If you’re a restaurant owner, how do patrons feel when they walk through your doors? Is the greeting area clean, airy and open or is it cluttered, dark and uninviting? The ambiance your space creates immediately impacts the perceived quality and overall experience a diner will have.
If you’re a store owner, the same can be said about the products placed in prime window placements, the music playing in your store, or the scent of candles burning by the register. When you’re creating an experience worth sharing, you must consider all five senses.
Incentives can be a great way to build loyalty and boost your referral marketing program. Encouraging happy customers to share with people they know can be even more effective when you offer cash, an account credit, discounts, coupons, gift cards, or swag, especially if said incentive applies to both the current and new customers. For example, “Give $10, Get $10” would provide a valuable discount to both the new client and the loyal referrer. It is important to determine what type of incentive will be most enticing for your audience at a price point that is realistic for you.
Take the Chick-fil-A One App as an example. The fast-food giant is able to process orders, save favorite locations, and remember past meals all through their customers smart phone. The reward to collecting all this data? Loyal customers receive points towards future orders which they can redeem for whatever menu item they choose. The more you dine and share, the more points you receive.
Make it Easy to Provide Feedback
People are far less likely to provide a review on a product or service if they have to jump through hoops to do it. One study done by Texas Tech found that only about 1/3 of clients willing to provide referrals actually did so. By making it easy to either get the incentive or provide a review, you will be well on your way to having a successful program. You can also send automated emails to your clients 2-3 days after they visit your store or make a purchase so you can gather feedback. This also gives you an opportunity to provide them with a discount code to use on future purchases or a referral code to share with others.
Word-of-mouth marketing is an important tool that should be in every business’ toolbox, as customers referred by close friends and family are more likely to be loyal and spend more than those that were obtained from other means. If you are already implementing a program but not seeing the results you want out of your referral marketing program, remember first to be realistic about what you expect out of the customer and program, review the effort that you’re putting into it, and continue to test and tweak where you are putting the most focus.
Whether your strategy isn’t reaching its potential or you are just beginning to think about organizing a referral marketing program, we are here to help! All you have to do get in contact and schedule a free consultation.