As social beings, we re naturally inclined to share our experiences with friends. Whether it s a remarkable or a disappointing incidence, it s likely to come up during conversations among people we re close with. Stories about products, brands, and our customer experience are no exception.
In fact, when it comes to gaining new customers, referral marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate leads. As a business strategy, this free advertising is enhanced by the trust factor. We re more likely to believe our friends and family over an unknown endorser.
But this doesn t mean that you can let your customers do the marketing for you. According to an infographic by Referral Candy, 83% of satisfied customers are willing to recommend good products and services to friends but only 29% of customers actually do. The role of marketers, therefore, is to deliberately influence this process by including it in their marketing plan.
When should you ask for referrals?
Explicitly asking your customers to tell their friends about you can make the difference between bigger sales and stagnant revenues. However, you don t want it to come across as a hard sell. Rather, you must wait for the right timing to pitch your request. Asking your customers to take part in referral marketing would best work in these instances:
• When signing new customers. There s a valid reason why you re generating new customers. Why not ask them to share their customer experience with their personal networks?
• When you get high service ratings. This is an obvious sign that your customers love you. A little encouragement would convince them that your performance is worth sharing.
• Right after customers used your products. Gain insights into what your customers actually feel about your services, and encourage them to tell their friends.
• When you hear them say nice things about you. If they re already doing talking about your brand, you only need to point them to your target audience to help you get new customers.
Remember that subtlety is key in making this business strategy work. Otherwise, customers might think you re only getting in touch with them for advertising purposes.
What do you need to make it work?
To make this work, your entire firm s infrastructure should support your marketing plan. Among the features you ll need for an efficient referral marketing program are the following:
• Transparency. Remember that your customers have to fully trust you before they refer you to people they personally know. It would help a lot if you can be honest and open to queries and feedback as much as possible.
• An efficient referral program. To make matters more organized, devising a process flow to visualize your referral system would foster understanding between you as the brand and your customers as brand ambassadors.
• Sharable online content.There s a huge chance your name will go viral if you allow your content to be accessible and sharable online.
• Great customer service. This is the starting point of all successful businesses. Sure, people talk about poor client relations, but they also notice those who strive to deliver a pleasant customer experience.
As a business strategy, referral marketing is among the most effective ways to grow your community as you attract new customers and boost sales. You probably already have a lot of advocates willing to personally endorse your brand, so don t hesitate to put the word out there and get the ball rolling.