As almost all business owners will tell you, generating leads can be challenging. If you are a seasoned business owner, who’s been doing business long enough, it’s easy to think of a couple of sure-fire ways to generate leads effortlessly. For a novice, who’s learning the ropes, it’s a lot harder; although, it’s not impossible to benefit from referrals from either new or loyal clients and grow your business.
The Power of Customer Word-of-Mouth Marketing
There’s no marketing campaign that can measure up to the power of customer referrals. According to a Google study, about 2.4 million brand-related conversations take place in the United States every day. Clearly, customers are not shy talking about the kind of services they are receiving. With 70–92% of people relying on personal acquaintance and consumer opinion recommendations before making purchasing decisions, banking on attracting more customers through your sales marketing efforts alone won’t cut it. You also have to capitalize on the enormous power of word-of-mouth and incentivize happy customers to promote your business.
The questions remain: how do you increase referral traffic? In this blog post, we are going to explore how you can generate more referrals for your business and how your business can benefit from a formal referral program.
So, let’s get to it!
The Benefits of a Formal Referral Program
Why are referrals so important? For starters, people are generally more trusting of family, friends, and consumers that have used a certain product over any advertisements or branded messages in the media. As a matter of fact, according to a Nielsen study, referral sources are the most trusted form of marketing.
Secondly, referral marketing programs, similar to word-of-mouth marketing programs, are more or less reward systems where you’re rewarding your customers for finding leads for you. The benefit of having customers find leads for you is they typically represent higher-quality, niche leads that are more likely to result in sales. Want proof? Researchers at the Harvard Business Review looked at about 10,000 accounts at a German Bank over the course of three years and saw that customers obtained through referrals are more valuable and loyal than any other type of customer.
Sounds pretty good, right? Let’s get started on how to generate referrals.
How to Generate Referrals for Your Business
Guest post on websites in your niche
Publishing valuable content on your website is a great way to increase your referral marketing. In fact, it is the lifeblood of your website’s success; although, it’s even better when you publish great content on other websites. With that said, it’s not just about guest blogging on the first website you come across. To get high-quality backlinks, you need to target websites in your niche that publish content on topics similar to yours. Guest posting on a website similar to yours makes it more likely they will share your content with their audiences.
Get active on social media
The 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that 89% of marketers attribute social media to being a key platform for generating more exposure for their business. This goes to show that social media is a powerful marketing tool; not to mention, a vital component of your success. And that’s not all; another consensus within the report found that 75% of marketers saw their website traffic increased significantly as a result of leveraging their social media. However, to get the most out of social media, you have to understand social timing. For instance, user data statistics from Quick Sprout found that the best time to post on Facebook is mid-week between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Add value with your blog comments
Need another tip? Comment on other people’s blogs. Writing comments on other people’s blogs might sound counterintuitive. After all, you want to drive traffic to your website, not away from it; albeit, it’s actually a pretty good strategy to help generate leads for your own website. Here’s how you should do it:
For starters, you need to measure how authoritative the blogs you want to comment on are and gauge the responsiveness and receptivity of the readers.
Dedicate yourself to comment blogging for 90 days. Make sure to read each blog and study how their comments are structured, so you can give value in your comment. Only comment where you feel you can add value and design a landing page to direct readers seeking more information on your topic. Keep up on the conversations happening within important blogs in your niche and comment early.
Keep an eye on delivering quality
If you are serious about rising up the ranks and increasing your business’ brand receptivity, then you have to deliver exceptional results. I’m not saying that you have to be perfect all the time; however, the better your services, the more your customers are likely to rave about you. If in the event something goes wrong, do your best to stay on top of the matter. Customers are always keeping their eyes out for how businesses handle conflict. Keep in mind, the better your customer service, the more chances your business has to obtain referrals.
Ask customers for feedback
Your goal is to get more customers your way. And while this isn’t a direct way of getting referrals, it’s definitely a step closer to your goals. When you communicate with your existing customers to find out what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right, referrals become a lot easier to obtain. With this feedback, you’re sure to improve your services, making your existing customers feel valued. Showing your existing customers you value their retention will give them more reason to spread the word about your business.
Have a rewards system in place for referrals
I’m not saying you have to pay your customers for promoting your business. However, having a rewards system in place makes your customers feel valued and motivates them to endorse your business. Here are a few ideas to help you out:
- Feature your customers on your websites and social media pages
- Offer gift cards or subscriptions
- Personalize your follow-up communications
- Target customers with special offers
Now you know the benefits of having a referral program in place and how to generate more referrals. You have learned about reward systems, comment blogging and asking for customer feedback. You have the tools; all that is left to do is use them.