Referral marketing, as you might expect, is the promotion of your business to new customers by referral. Often known as word-of-mouth, this is where you do a great job and your customer recommends you to someone they know.
Referral marketing is a particularly good strategy for ‘consultancy’ types of business, especially when the client will be sharing personal or private details with you, this could include bookkeepers, personal development coaches and HR consultants.
It can be a natural process, but there are ways you can influence referral marketing to improve its effectiveness and the speed at which new business happens.
Attending networking events or groups is a great way to meet prospective customers. Unfortunately just going along once is not enough and in order for networking to result in effective referral marketing other strategies must be employed, however once you have won a client in a networking group they can recommend and refer you making the networking much more effective.
Using social media is a great way to keep in touch with customers and prospective customers. When used in conjunction with something like networking it is a great way to inform people about what you do, who you do it for and how good you are at it, as well as sharing your expertise.
Blogging and Email Marketing
Two more great strategies for keeping in touch with prospective referrals and demonstrating your expertise on a regular basis. Remember anyone who is recommended to you will likely first go and check you out before they call or email, so the more content you have out there the better!
Encouraging your customers to give you reviews on Facebook, Google, Trip Advisor, Linked In or other sector specific review sites can result in referrals even where people didn’t personally make the recommendation. Remember to add these reviews to your website and share them in your social media.
A Clear Website
You need a website that prospective referrals can visit to find clear information, it MUST contain
- Information about who you are – your skills and experience
- Details of your Services – that are clear and easy to understand
- Outline of work you have done, case studies, what the problem was, what you did and what the result was
- Testimonials from Happy Clients
- A Blog (see my point above)
- Clear contact details so they can get in touch to buy!
Recommend a Friend Schemes
These sort of schemes work well businesses such as beauty therapists, hairdressers and other companies that provide regular services. You offer a discount to customers who recommend you to their friends or relatives, so they get say 20% off their next appointment for recommending and the friend gets 20% off their first appointment.
One of the great things about referral marketing is that part of your sales job is done….the prospective customers has already been reassured that you are good at what you do, all you have to do is close the deal.
One last point is that Referral Marketing should not be confused with Multi-Level Marketing – also known as the Pyramid Scheme – totally different thing.