Think about the last product or service you made a plan to invest in.
Did you make the purchase based on the brand’s marketing materials alone, or did you ask around for the best resource to meet your needs before deciding on one?
If you are like most, referrals likely played at least some role in your customer journey. In fact, statistics show that a personal referral multiplies the likelihood that a prospect will become a customer 4x, with around 65 percent of new business emerging from referrals.
While it’s no surprise that consumer confidence boosts when a trusted friend or colleague gives the stamp of approval, the question remains: how can referral marketing be successfully implemented into the marketing mix?
Tap into your current network
Before all else, referral marketing starts with looking around you!
From clients to employees to the couple across the street, consider the people in your life – and the people in theirs. Openly share what you do and the value your company offers. This doesn’t need to be an elevator sales pitch – in fact, it shouldn’t be. Rather, focus on truly conversing. Share your insights, answer any questions, and show up with authenticity – not an agenda.
When approached in this way, your passion will shine through, and will likely start the wheels turning for the person on the other side of the table. Maybe you will jog their memory, and they’ll remember a previous conversation with someone in their circle, seeking a similar offering. Or perhaps this interaction will be the one they look back on the next time someone comes to them seeking a recommendation.
Regardless, this organic approach is both cost-effective and beneficial. By spreading the word about the value your company brings to the table, you will nurture your network and develop warm leads as a result.
Stay present with your network
It takes several interactions before a prospect converts to a customer. That’s why it’s important to not just get out there – but stay out there!
Whether it is through email conversations, LinkedIn responses, or even meeting over a cup of coffee, continuing to build relationships with leads once they have been referred to you – as well as with the individuals who referred them – is critical.
Not only does establishing regular touchpoints keep your brand top-of-mind in the eyes of your target audience and enhance their initial experience… consistent connection with prospects also builds true relationships, which is equally (if not more) important to making the sale.
Consider a referral marketing campaign
Let’s be clear; when it comes to your referral strategy, you are never “done” reaching out to your own network. Your network is ever-expanding, and every relationship you develop adds an additional layer of potential reach.
With that said, you can accelerate your referral marketing efforts by developing an incentivized referral marketing program or partnership. Whether it is one or two strategic partners with whom you establish a referral agreement, or a full-on campaign in which customers become brand ambassadors and earn a percentage of every sale, the theme remains – people build brand trust.
Regardless of how you see referrals fitting into your overall marketing strategy, you must first have an exceptional product or service that is worth a referral in the first place. So keep producing high-quality products, providing exceptional service, and building customer-brand relationships – one person at a time.