If you’ve identified referrals as a potential marketing strategy for your business, you need to begin finding specific referral strategies that will work for you and your customers.
Once you decide on these, you need to systemise them so that they become a core part of your business activities, not something you do when you remember, or something you ask your staff to do when they have some free time.
Here are three easy to implement referral strategies you should consider.
1. Stay in touch with your customers
I’d recommend making contact with your customers at least every three months. Astoundingly, most businesses spend five times more money on trying to attract new clients than they do on keeping their existing clients coming back.
Related: The 4 Things Every Customer Wants
Focusing on your existing clients first makes better business sense – after all, they’ve already experienced your product or service (which should be excellent, it goes without saying), so it should be easier and less time-consuming to persuade them to keep doing business with you than to bring in a first time customer.
If you can convert them into raving fans, they are also likely to refer you. Keeping in touch doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming either.
It can be as simple as sending out a newsletter once a month, showcasing your special offers available only to newsletter subscribers.
2. Teach customers why it’s good for them to refer you
To encourage your customers to refer you, remember the WIIFM principle (What’s In It For Me).
Customers will want to know what the benefit is to them for referring others to do business with you. You need to explain to customers how referrals will help you, and how you will help them in return for giving referrals.
There are many rewards you can offer for referrals, but what’s important is to explain to customers the mutually beneficial nature. For example, “By referring new clients, you’ll help my business to save on marketing, which allows me to pass on greater savings to customers like you. In return for a successful referral, I will offer you…”
3. Thank every customer
The easiest way to make your customers feel special and ask them to come back and refer friends to you is to thank them. Few businesses do this, which makes it a golden opportunity for your company. A hand-written thank you note goes a long way.
If you have the budget for it, send each customer a small gift with your company logo on it (make sure it’s not corporate junk, but something you would like to receive yourself).
You could send a gift related to the business they’ve done with you. For example, if you’ve sold them a car, send them a car wash voucher (this is also an opportunity to build a partnership with the local car wash to send each other referrals).
Send your thank you a few days after the customer has made the purchase. Although it’s easier for you to give them a thank you when they complete a sale, it doesn’t have the same impact.
Customers are excited to take their purchase home after buying it, but that feeling wears off after a few days. Receiving a thank you from you a week or so after the purchase can reignite that excitement and keep your business top of mind.