Promoting a small business is an uphill task and, as an owner of a recent startup or a newly found business venture, you need to have a strong referral program in place. The benefits of networking can never be underestimated and referrals are just one of them. The power of referral market is often overlooked and not utilized to its full potential of driving web traffic and increasing ROI. This is mainly because of tight budgets, time constraints and the non-availability of tech resources. However, what small businesses need to realize is that a referral marketing campaign can be quite effective even without too many hassles or complications. This is because this strategy is only put into effect when revenue is brought in.
What Is Referral Marketing?
To begin with, a referral marketing program is a surefire way to spread positive word of mouth about your brand. Ask yourself one question. Would you go for a brand your relatives and friends recommend you? Definitely, yes! This is because you trust them and know that they will only refer you that brand which they have tried and are satisfied with.
From the company’s perspective, what they need to do is to utilize their already existing clientele base to increase publicity and use the influence of your loyal customers to bring in more potential clients. Nobody can do better marketing than a happy customer. This either comes in the form of traditional word-of-mouth marketing or via social networking sites like Facebook. This is why most businesses both small and large aim to have a Facebook page in the first instance. This is because you don’t have to fake a positive brand image but it will automatically be portrayed by the clients themselves. Often a referral program expects customers to refer their product or service and when it is followed by the desired action, the referral source is often rewarded which provides further incentives to spread positive word of mouth.
- An inevitable boost in sales
Generating sales and meeting new targets every month requires vigorous marketing efforts with consistent efforts channeled towards filling the “sales funnel” with business prospects that are most likely to turn into loyal customers. Lead generation is often done on the basis of reputability and credibility and who do you think contributes positively to the reputation of your business?
- Satisfied customers produce more satisfied customers
Consumer satisfaction is of utmost priority for a business and by trying your best to produce content you are basically inviting more potential customers to owe their loyalty to you. Eventually, all the satisfied customers that you made in the first place will initiate the ripple effect, presenting your brand in a positive light. They are compelled to share their experience in a way that appeals to the rest of the audience.
If you do not want your referral marketing strategy to backfire and see all your sales increase dreams vanish, you need to adopt the right way of going about it.
- Time your referrals
Keep in mind that you do not have to irritate the customer or force them to refer you to other people. Referrals which are spontaneous and heartfelt produce the best results if carried out convincingly.
Always give your customer some time and space and do not bombard them with messages. This tactic may reap benefits in some cases but will not prove to be profitable in the long run as it is far too aggressive. After a customer has bought your product or availed your service give them some time to be completely satisfied with the experience and then ask them for a referral. You may be surprised when it happens even before you ask for it.
- Cross-promotional campaigns
Referrals might not necessarily be generated through your own established clients alone. In fact, you can partner up with other businesses operating in your niche which are basically running like a supporting business and can do your business much profit as it indirectly can bring them profits.
- Referral marketing apps
Social media platforms already provide many dynamic opportunities for your business to grow and prosper. Just think about likes, comments and shares that can make your company go viral. However, to leverage the power of social media in the most effective manner you need to equip yourself with proper tools. By the way, don’t forget to check the article about 6 most common social media marketing pitfalls and how to avoid them. There’s a list of awesome tools that will surely help you!
Ronald McCarthy is a passionate blogger who writes about web design, social media, web development, e-commerce, development and many other topics related to the Internet marketing and print.