How to Boost Customer Referrals with These Marketing Tactics

84% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know more than any other type of advertising. In other words, word of mouth still is one of the most powerful marketing methods you can use. But how can you take advantage of this? Through referrals! They’re cheap, effective, and most importantly, it’s a win-win situation for all parties involved. Happy customers are more than likely to share their experiences with their friends; the referees will get to hear about a great new product while you’ve just earned yourself a new customer. The beauty of referrals is that you’ll leave most of the marketing in the hands of your customers. To put it differently, you’ll bring new people to your business without having to lift a finger. But, boosting referrals is more than just asking your customers to spread the word about your business to their friends. They’d have to do it on their own initiative. So how can you make that happen? Let’s take a look.
  1. 1. Exceed Expectations
No matter how much you spend on marketing, people won’t buy from you if they see that previous customers aren’t happy with their experience. With referrals, that goes on another level. You’ll need to go above and beyond to impress your customers. Treat them like VIPs. Let them know that they’re your top priority. Do this, and you’ll get customers to talk about you in no time. But how? If consumers think you provide excellent customer service, they are 94% more likely to share their experiences with friends or family. That said, make sure to respond to users’ questions as fast as you can, listen to their problems, and try to empathize with them. Let them know that you genuinely want to solve their problems.
And if you’ve made a mistake, admit it! Customers will appreciate sincerity much more than half-baked excuses. Other ways you could impress your customers is by giving them a freebie once they’ve made a purchase, sending them a follow-up email with a Thank You note, or simply asking for their feedback.
  1. 2. Showcase Your Best Customers 
By putting a spotlight on your loyal customers, you’ll feed two birds with one seed. On the one hand, they likely won’t hesitate to share their experience. So asking them to talk about how your business positively impacted their lives is essentially free advertising material. You could use this in testimonials, case studies, social media posts, and even videos. On the other hand, featuring your top customers in promotional materials may get them excited enough to share the news with other people, attracting new customers as a result. Not to mention that you’ll let your audience know how much you value your customers. Besides, experts at Digital Silk, a company that offers services covering web design in New York City, say that displaying testimonials throughout your website is crucial for earning the visitors’ trust. Even though new visitors may not know much about your business, showing that you’ve made previous customers happy will likely earn you their trust right away.
  1. 3. Personalize Interactions 
People love to be treated like superstars. After all, no two customers are the same. The more you interact with consumers on an individual level, the happier they will be, and the higher are the chances to recommend you. So how can you do this? In terms of sending out emails, most digital marketing agencies suggest micro-segmentation. This is the process of dividing your audience into smaller groups based on specific criteria like age, gender, customer behavior, etc. Thus, micro-segmentation will allow you to send highly targeted emails that cater to each segment of your audience. For example, you could send offers that specifically target men or women. Or, you could greet new subscribers with a discount code so you can encourage them to make a purchase. Whereas for loyal customers, you could notify them of new product releases or suggest items that go along with a previous purchase they made. If you’re running an online store, think about integrating quizzes within your website. You can ask your visitors about their preferences and display products based on their answers. Quizzes turn your website into a visitor’s shopping assistant. Consequently, you’ll improve your customers’ shopping experience and convince them to recommend you to others.
  1. 4. Keep Customers Engaged 
To get more referrals, you’ll need to build a healthy relationship with your existing customers. And that takes time. Your brand has to be on top of their minds. So a one-time purchase wouldn’t do the job. That said, try to find ways to keep customers engaged with your business. For example, you could send them offers that relate to past purchases. Or, provide them with informative content that will add more value to their purchase, like how-to guides on how to maintain and fix your products.
  1. 5. Encourage Social Media Sharing 
Most people love to share their stories on social media. Why not ask your customers to write a few words about their experience with you and post them on their social accounts? This will help you get your brand in front of their friends or family. So you’ll likely see a few new customers coming in. To make it more effective, consider giving them a small reward in exchange, like a discount code. Also, you should make the proposal at the right time. After completing the purchase would be your best bet. That’s because, at this point, customers are most excited about their order. So they’ll be more likely to share their thoughts on social media.
  1. 6. Host a Contest 
Speaking of social media, hosting a contest is a great idea to boost referrals. Come up with an awesome prize, then encourage your followers to refer their friends so they can get a step closer to winning the contest. Everybody likes free stuff, particularly if the prize is something special, so word of your contest will spread around in no time.
  1. 7. Implement a Customer Loyalty Program 
As long-time customers will be your primary target, consider implementing a customer loyalty program. You could create a score-based system where your customers would earn a certain number of points for each referee they manage to bring to your business. You could also extend beyond referrals. For example, your customers can receive points after purchasing or sharing one of your products on social media. Once customers gathered enough points, you could offer them a significant discount or a free item. This way, you’ll get your customers hooked on the loyalty program, keeping them engaged with your brand. Furthermore, a loyalty program will make your customers feel like their valuable assets to your company. Thus, they’ll be more inclined to help you grow.
  1. 8. Give Incentives to Referees 
Rewarding customers for bringing their friends is only one part of the job, though. You’d also need to give the referees something in return. Otherwise, you’ll most likely not see any significant results. After all, the point of referrals is to attract new customers, right? That said, you should give new potential customers a welcome discount or something that will motivate them to make a purchase.
  1. 9. Refer to Others 
You should refer people to other businesses as well. If you want customers to recommend you to their friends, they’ll likely expect the same from you. By doing this, customers will feel like they’re awarded for sharing your business with others. Furthermore, the companies you’re sending people to will probably refer customers back. So it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. But, pay attention to the company you’re referring people to. You wouldn’t want your customers to have a bad experience. Otherwise, they might blame you. You shouldn’t send people to companies that may be better either, as that may lose you customers. You should instead refer to businesses that are on the same level as you.
  1. 10. Offer Different Options for Support 
Upon asking your customers for referrals, someone will turn you down eventually. That doesn’t mean all is lost, though. But you shouldn’t insist right away, either. Give your customer some space and after a while, offer them a different way to support your company, like writing a review or a testimonial. You could display the feedback on your website or social media page afterward. Although this won’t bring new customers directly, your customer may be more inclined to do these lower-effort actions, and they still drive new leads to your company.
  1. Final Words 
Whether you’re running a large or small business, referrals should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. It’s cheap, doesn’t take that much effort, and your business, your customers, and the referees all stand to benefit from this strategy. Author bio Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for DigitalStrategyOne.