Referral Based Marketing
We all know we live in a digital marketing age where most people believe they can rely on the Internet as their marketing strategy. With all the social media ads and email that is spam, people are finding they are seeing too many ads and are becoming less interested in social media. What might that mean to your business? You might be in for a surprise unless you shift your marketing focus to include a referral marketing strategy in your business.
Referral marketing is one of the best strategies to grow your business and has a huge advantage over internet marketing. Internet marketing is competing for the attention of a prospective audience and referral marketing does not have to compete at all. You simply have another person who is already satisfied with your products/services share their experience and they have easily gotten the attention of the prospective audience for you.
Let’s look at some data to better understand how your marketing messages might be competing for attention right now. I don’t care if you send emails, use social media, use videos, use snail mail, place ads, print flyers, etc. All of that marketing is trying to grab the attention of an adult who typically has an 8-second attention span, according to Microsoft. Before we all went mobile the adult attention span was twelve seconds. As an interesting comparison goldfish are believed to have an attention span of nine seconds.
In addition, people are overwhelmed with life and technology and are used to multi-tasking. It has been said that the human brain has between 50,000 to 70,000 self-talk messages a day. Between the short attention span the prospects we are trying to get our marketing message to and the fact those people receive over 5,000 or more marketing messages a day, feel a lot of stress and overwhelm, we somehow expect our marketing message will get through and be heard and responded to.
I seriously can show you how to get referrals as a much easier, and more cost-effective way to grow your business. In this article, I will even share my best referral strategy.
Referral Marketing – Put The Magic In Your Business
I have created all eight of my businesses as referral businesses and have shared this with thousands of client family members worldwide. This strategy is effective and is proven to work. To me, it is simply magical to have a proven strategy that grows every type of business with ease. I love building by referral businesses because you can grow a business faster and without having to fight to get your marketing message to the right people.
The reason I believe that most business owners haven’t created a referral marketing strategy is they don’t want to be pushy with their own clients/customers/patients and they don’t really know how to correctly ask for referrals and in many cases when to ask for referrals. Since they aren’t comfortable asking and they don’t have a referral system in place they do most of their marketing by trying to get in front of people who have never heard of them and who may have no interest in their products/services.
If you do want referrals and are like most business owners I mentor, you might be hoping you can rely on word of mouth marketing. Yet, when I ask for hard-core statistics about how many customers/clients/patients actually bring in new folks, most business owners report very few. My point, exactly. Word of mouth isn’t the same thing as building a by referral business. By referral means you intentionally decide to grow your business with a referral strategy and not by hoping or occasionally asking clients/customers/patients to please spread the word.
In every business that I have worked with to create a referral system and a referral program, they have found that customer acquisition as well as retention increase from 5% to 25%. If you want that kind of results you can have them. You just want to follow my ideas and create a referral program that is built into your business as a business system.
Create A Formalized Referral Program
Now that you are ready to do marketing that is based on referrals you will see that it is easy actually his to have your own current and past client family members find great prospective client family members for you. Keep in mind leads that are referred to you have a higher rate of actually buying your products/services. I also find, and so have my own client family members, that people who are referred to our businesses are more loyal client family members.
The steps you will now put in place will create a systematize and formal program so you can become a by referral business.
First, you need to know what you will provide to your past and current client family members when they send you referrals. You must have something that is aligned with your brand and that they will find valuable as an incentive to reward and to thank them for helping you find more ideal client family members.
Take a moment to consider what your current and past client family members would find to be a valuable incentive that would motivate and inspire them to share your products/services with their friends.
You can give a gift, a payment, hold a contest, give a credit on your products/services, or anything else. I give payments for referrals and some of my retail clients (spas, retail stores, restaurants, etc) give a credit off additional products/services. Make a decision right now.
Next, you must make it super-easy for your current and past client family members to refer their friends and family to your business. If they have to jump through hoops to refer people to you, they are not going to refer business to you. I highly recommend you use social media as one way they can share your business with those they know. Just this morning I booked an appointment with my local spa and right after I booked the appointment on the calendar page on their website I saw a share button. I know when I share if people come to the spa (which I love!) they will get a discount and they will love the services. I was happy to use the share button and did so with one click to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. The integration was there built into their website so I could instantly share a business and services I love. If they had a more complicated system I might not have shared. Your referral system must include easy ways to share.
Once you design your referral program, you must market the program. If your past and current client family members are not aware of your program, they certainly won’t get the word out to prospective client family members. You can share by email, you can give out referral links, you can hand out coupons or gift certificates, you can share on social media, etc. I suggest you let people know in a variety of ways. I have used referral links, postcards, certificates and social media posts in my businesses.
I let all my client family members know that when they refer a prospective client family member to us, they will get 10% of any investment that person makes in our consulting services/products forever. I tell them, I email them, I remind them and I send occasional emails, texts, and letters and I also share this with them on social media in the private Facebook groups they are a part of.
This is a key part of my business marketing strategy and I believe is essential.
Every business needs a good referral program that adds to their own client/customer/patient experience by rewarding their loyal customers, thanking them and encouraging their support. When you inspire people who have already done business with you to help bring in more people you can help with your products/services they will bring you great people who are also excited to buy your products/services.
My By Referral Story
I wrote the bestselling book Turbo Charge How To Transform Your Business As A Heart-repreneur® a few years ago and felt a lot of passion about creating a cause to bring thousands of people into awareness of how to do business heart-to-heart. I wanted to reach 1,000 people quickly and to grow momentum for this cause as this is my legacy work. I decided I could bring 1,000 people into the Heart-repreneur® movement if I team up with my client family members and if they created the buzz with me. Instead of just me speaking about doing business the Heart-repreneur® way, I had advocates and ambassadors sharing my cause with others. I wasn’t hunting for new client family members in this case. I could have been. It works the same. I want you to see how referrals work in any type of marketing.
I created a systematized plan to build the momentum. I asked my client family members to share a Facebook group dedicated only to heart-to-heart business owners who wanted to do business as a Heart-repreneur®. Within a few months, we had over 400 members of that group who were really resonating with the cause and aligned with the movement.
I then asked those 400 members to help grow the group to 1,000 members. I mentioned it on Facebook Lives, I did social media posts for them about it, and I messaged some members directly. I asked the group moderators and administrators to share as well. I also incentivized group members with a valuable webinar I would gift them when we hit 1,000 members. We got to 1,000 members fast with little work on my part.
When I decided I wanted to grow to 2,500 members, I also incentivized the group and recently I gave away books and Starbuck’s gift cards to folks who brought in members. I make it easy to invite folks to the group and even do a sample post they can use.
I could use this exact same plan if I wanted to bring in more client family members. In this case, I want to bring members to a Facebook group to embrace them as part of the Heart-repreneur® family. I believe this example will open your mind to the possibilities of referral marketing.
Tools For You
I have shared how to create a referral based business with my client family members for the past few decades. Together we have found some tools that make our referral based businesses really easy to market. I will share those tools with you now to make it easy for you to implement referral strategies in your business.
Avature Employee Referrals
Ambassador Referral Marketing
Annex Cloud Annex Cloud
Referral Partner Management
Post Affiliate Pro
In this article, I have shared how critically important creating a by referral business is for the success of your small business. I told you how to set up your referral program and shared with you how to market your referral program also. I gave you a case study showing you how by referral works even when you are not using it to gain paying client family members.
I also shared some of the top tools my client family members and I have used to establish our referral based businesses and to make them easy for our client family members to use to refer their friends and family to us.
I recommend you don’t waste even a minute here. Take action and don’t delay. A referral system that works can increase your revenue by 5% to 25% or even more if you put it in place, market it and focus on it as one of your top marketing strategies.
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