Business Growth

7 Simple Referral Marketing Strategies For Your Small Business

7 Simple Referral Marketing Strategies For Your Small Business

I want to let you in on a little secret.  Are you ready?  Okay, here it is:

Not all customers are equal.

Don’t get me wrong, all customers are good customers.  But do you want to know who your best customer is?

A personal referral.

Customers who are referred to you are more likely to trust you and become loyal customers with bigger budgets. So, if you haven't yet implemented a referral program into your marketing strategy, you're missing out on a substantial opportunity for growth.

When it comes to conversion rates, referral marketing consistently outperforms.

It's a bold claim, but statistics show that people who come to you through referrals have the best chance of engaging with your company, purchasing your products, and remaining loyal. Take a look at the statistics;

  • People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend
  • Customers gained through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate
  • 81% of consumers are more likely to engage with your business when you offer reward programs
  • Your profits will increase at least 16% after implementing a referral program

Now that you've learned about the potential of referral programs, here are some easy referral marketing strategies for your business you can start implementing today.

1. Choose Your Referral Incentive

When it comes to the best referral marketing strategies, there's no receiving without giving. You have to first decide on a reward that works for your business.

Think like the customer. What kind of offer or incentive will motivate them to talk about your product or service with a family member or friend? Try to answer their question of “What’s in it for me?” It can be as simple as giving a flat fee in return, or more complex like a point system contest.

Whatever incentive you choose, make it relevant to your product or service. If you’re in the business of selling coffee, your reward could be something as simple as free pound of their favorite premium roast. This way, you can be sure that the people referred are coffee lovers who’ll likely keep buying from you.

2. Choose the Right Time

Imagine signing up for a service or a product and being asked to share it with a friend before you even get a chance to use it. You know right away that's not the right approach.

The best time to ask your customers to share your product is after you deliver on your promises. It’s when what you offer solves the intended pain points and makes their lives better. Only then will they be eager to recommend your product to someone they know will enjoy it as much as they do. If you're a local personal trainer, for example, the best time to ask your clients to bring their friends is after you've helped them achieve their goals, whether it's losing weight or building muscle.

3. Consider Rewarding Both Sides

Hands down, the best strategy you can implement to maximize the effectiveness of your referral program is not only to reward the inviting person, but also the person who is being invited.

This strategy works because it’s a win-win-win situation where everyone included is happy. Your current and new clients both have something to gain, and you make a new customer in the process. DropBox is a shining example of this strategy's effectiveness. Their two-sided referral program gives both the referrer and the referee more storage. And In just 15 months, they managed to skyrocket their user base by a whopping 3900%!

4. Create a Dedicated Page for Your Program

This may sound obvious, but it’s often overlooked. If your client has to sift through several pages to find your referral program, you'll get little, if any, results from your program.

You need to create a dedicated page for it, one that’s easy to find. It should be complete with a large, bold headline that grabs your customers' attention and content that clearly explains the terms of the program.

After you create the dedicated referral page, it’s time to direct your audience to it.  You can do this a few ways. One way is by adding a simple “Refer a Friend” button on your homepage that will direct those who are interested to your referral program page to get all the details. You can also place a link at the end of a follow-up email when you thank them for purchasing from you. Whatever it is, you need to make it easy for them to find.

5. Make it Simple and Pain Free

You don’t want to give your customers any reason to NOT participate with your referral request, so keep it simple and easy to do. The quicker your customer can understand what they need to do and what they stand to gain, the better.

6. Use a Tool to Build Your Program

It’s no secret that there are many aspects to creating and managing a successful referral program, which can make it difficult and time-consuming. It doesn't have to be that way, though! There are plenty of referral tools and software options available that will help you set up and manage your referral program pretty easily. Here are a few options to get you started:

  • Referral Rock: Referral Rock helps any business get more customers using the most powerful and underutilized asset, the happy customers. It automates every step of the process to scale and consistently measure the success of referral marketing. It helps to acquire customers, scale best practices and build brand awareness.
  • Invite Referrals: Referral marketing software that is multiplatform, fully customizable, and easy to use. There are plenty of features to go around as well!
  • Revetize: Another excellent and user-friendly referral marketing tool. The best part about Revetize is that you only pay for the features you use.

7. Set Yourself Up for Growth

Congratulations! Your killer referral program is bringing in a steady stream of new and satisfied customers, and they all love your business. So, where do you go from here?

Now, you need to keep these new customers and clients around.

One excellent idea is to remind them that your referral program can benefit them too. Keep in mind your happiest customers are not only your best customers, they're also your best source of new customers. They'll almost certainly refer another friend, who will likely refer yet another, and so on. This way, you’re setting your company up for exponential growth!

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-Julie & Jess

Two women on a mission to help you clear the chaos and craft your dream business!


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