Businesses invest a lot into marketing efforts that bring in new customers, but what are you doing to increase your customer referrals?
With more than 2.4 million brand-related conversations happening in the U.S., consumers are obviously already talking about their experiences with brands, for better or for worse.
Customer referrals are when existing customers introduce their family, friends and contacts to become new customers with your company.
After all, consumers view other consumers as about 14 percent more credible than a brand itself (or its employees).
If you’re providing great customer experiences with your products and/or services, then word-of-mouth customer referrals should be happening naturally. However, investing effort into encouraging referrals will only build on that.
The following are six tips to help you boost your customer referrals and grow your business.
Create a customer loyalty program
Your most loyal customers are the most likely to refer others to your business. You can embrace and nourish this with a customer loyalty rewards program, which is a marketing approach that recognizes and rewards customers who purchase or engage with a brand in some way on a recurring basis.
As part of your progam, you would give out points, perks, free products and coupons, even graduating customers to higher levels of loyalty the more they buy if you want. However you structure it, the overall goal is to encourage the customer to become a more regular consumer or (even better) a brand promoter. Customers who are so loyal that they are actively promoting your brand are exactly what you want.
You also can have a very simple referral program (as opposed to a full customer loyalty rewards program), where your customer refers a friend in exchange for an incentive. And that’s it. Just think about what works best for your brand.
Check out our five tips to successfully promote your loyalty rewards program, and see our six tips to grow to create brand loyalty for your business.
While seemingly a general tip, delighting your customers during every step of their customer experience with your brand can play into your overall customer referrals.
Take the time to audit what your true customer experience is like for a brand new customer. Consider:
- How easy your website is to navigate?
- Is it easy to contact your business with questions?
- How thorough and responsive is your customer service?
- Is there a clear path for purchasing?
- Are you offering a quality product or service?
- What if there needs to be a refund or return?
- How do you follow up after the purchase is complete?
The happier your customers are, the more they’ll tell others about your brand. And always remember that you never want any customer to be a “one and done.” Think through how you can keep bringing them back.
Make referrals easy
Your customers are busy people. The harder it is to effectively refer another to your business (especially in exchange for a perk or discount), the less likely that the customer referral will happen. (Even with an incentive offered.)
You can offer email templates for them to send, links to easy-to-fill-out web forms or fliers with QR codes that direct to an informative landing page. The sky’s the limit.
Just make sure to identify the best method that works for your customers and communicate it clearly.
Identify and target customer referral opportunities
If you’re interested in identifying key customers who are worth their weight in customer referral gold (rather than asking for referrals blindly and aimlessly), it’s helpful to start with a little research.
LinkedIn can be a great assist with this. At its most basic level, you can identify your customer, his or her company and other networked connections.
By doing this, not only can you limit your targeting to the potential referrals that will have the biggest ROI (return on investment), but you can “do the work” within your ask by letting the customer know who and/or what you’re hoping to connect with.
Flip any negative reviews
Negative online reviews are a reality for every business and something that you already should have a plan for to monitor and address.
However, what’s important to remember is that every negative review is simply an opportunity to make that customer happy and hopefully that follow-up service not only converts them into a happy customer but a loyal customer who tells others about your brand.
Check out our 11 tips to best respond to negative reviews.
Offer different methods of customer referrals
Word-of-mouth referrals aren’t the only way your customers can help spread the word about your brand.
Make sure that you’re encouraging a variety of ways that your customers can “refer,” including (but not limited to):
- Writing a review
- Submitting a customer testimonial
- Serving as a case study
Of course, if you’re asking your customers for referrals of any kind, be respectful if they’re saying no or not acting on it yet. Space out your requests and continue to give different methods. No one reacts well to pushiness, and you’ll never know when it happens to be the right suggestion at the right time for the right customer.
Customer referrals are powerful. Take the time to ensure that you’re doing everything possible throughout your brand’s customer journey to delight and encourage your customers to spread the word.
As you begin evaluating customer referral opportunities, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.