Referral marketing is one of the most widely used and most successful marketing tactics. We love getting referrals and your customers and partners love giving them. Unfortunately most businesses do not view referrals as a system – which means they are missing out on prospects and revenue.
Create a business that gets talked about
One of the most obvious components of your referral marketing system is in plain site; your business. Want to create a little buzz? Do something remarkable and in a way that will give people something to talk about. This isn’t about gimmicks or stunts, it’s about finding the one thing that your customers appreciate and then taking that to a level that creates passion for your business. Don’t just have “great customer service” but create the Nordstrom’s experience in the Auto Repair Industry.
Set goals and measure your success
Referral marketing effort and effectiveness should be measured like all other marketing tactics. You should establish realistic performance and activity goals. Performance goals might include an increase in revenue attributed to referrals, or overall percentage of new customers gained by referral. Activity goals might include the number of hours devoted to educating your sources and the number of referral marketing assets you create.
Create a detailed description of your ideal customer
The ability to describe in specific detail the ideal customer for your business is vital to the success of any marketing strategy. Without a clear definition of the client you want to attract you will not be able to educate your referral sources. Understanding who appreciates your business and why will give you and your sources a much better chance of identifying and aligning prospects.
Create an education plan for customers and partners
The education of your referral sources will help them provide you with only highly aligned prospects. If your referral sources understand the uniqueness of your business and how that applies to the needs of their contacts and associates they be more likely and willing to send prospects your way. To accomplish this you need to establish an education plan for your customers and partners. The plan would include what information is important to the source and their potential referrals and also the method you’ll use to educate. That includes your web site, detailed information sharing and personal interactions. Do not leave this to a casual conversation unless you want infrequent or unqualified prospects. The more your referral sources know the more they’ll want to refer.
Define the process and consistently work it
Having a defined process for referral marketing makes it easier to implement and continue to do. Instead of wondering whether you should ask for a referral or not, make it part of you new customer package. Rather than scramble to respond to referred prospects, have an introduction template that will help further educate and qualify the prospect. If you think through each step you’ll discover where you need tools and support items and when to use them.
Referral marketing is an area that can have a big impact on your business for a low investment. Establishing a system-based approach will increase your performance and help you get more and better qualified prospects. This checklist will give you awareness to the steps and tools that can help you.