Referral marketing is one of the convenient and effective ways of marketing. It has the potential to create a win-win situation for all the parties associated with it. As businesses get a chance to expand their customer base, existing and new customers get rewarded for their efforts.
Referral marketing also leads to an increase in social credibility as customers have shared positive word of mouth.
However, this situation happens when you have an ideal situation, and this perfect situation needs effort and time.
In reality, most of the customers forget to tell others about you, even if they had a memorable experience. That means you could be losing potential revenue.
Luckily, there is an art and science behind the process of promoting this behaviour more often.
That process is called referral marketing.
What is referral marketing?
Referral marketing is when your existing customers recommend your products and services to their friends and family. Referral marketing is also known as word-of-mouth marketing, and it happens organically.
The role of a referral marketer is to intentionally influence the process so that more people can get connected to the brand.
Why is referral marketing so influential?
We all have a habit of sharing experiences with our friends and closed ones.
Whenever we have a good experience, we tend to share it with friends and family because we have loved that product and have a favourable opinion.
And if we have an awful experience, we tend to spread it to maximum people to make them beware of the products.
According to Nielsen, more than 90% of customers trust recommendations from friends and family. And it makes referral marketing so powerful.
According to McKinsey, referrals influence up to 50% of purchasing decisions. Not only that, but referrals also generate sales that are two times more than paid advertising.
Referral marketing is free!
Yes, you have read it right. It is free as you have advocates who will spread word of mouth for you.
You might need to fix some essential and necessary assets for initial seeding referrals, but it’ll be like a virus when it kicks off. It works as a chain; for example,
customers will refer to their friends, who will refer their friends and family.
It’ll be unbreakable and unstoppable. Lots of businesses have earned millions of dollars by strategically applied referral marketing.
If referral marketing is so influential, why are you making less than half of the referrals you should be making?
If referral marketing has so much potential, why are you getting a few referrals? How can you make your content viral?
According to a study, 83% of your happy customers are ready to refer you to their friends. But only 29% of them actually do.
Why is there so much disparity?
For getting results, start with word-of-mouth. For making people talk about your brand or product: you have to offer them something. It means to make people talk about you; you need an authentic and reliable product.
The real problem is – how do you obtain it?
You can obtain it by one of two things (or both):
A product with unexpected efficiency is a product that unlocks a particular problem better than anything else in society. When we say unexpected, that means that product should be innovative, and it involves either designing something that had not existed before or tackled a problem that has long been present but neglected.
Tell a meaningful story.
You can represent a meaningful story that your consumers can get behind. A story about how you started your company, what made you choose your products, and developed.
Whatever it is, you can tell an incredible story that your customers love.
How do you tell a story that will move your customers and ask them to accompany you in your mission?
But before that you need to answer three questions:
- How do you improve your customer’s life?
- What do you stand for?
- What do you dislike?
Once you answer these questions, you can start implementing these answers into your brand and its marketing endorsements – your images, logo, website, etc.
How do you execute referral marketing in your marketing strategy?
Make the product experience shareable.
There are various ways in which you can create your customers’ experience to be shareable.
For instance, you can design your packaging and unboxing experience for the social media sharing experience.
Provide outstanding customer service
Happy customers are more likely to support you. How do you get satisfied customers? The best way is to provide exceptional customer service to them.
Despite repeated reminders on how customer support can push business, genuinely excellent customer service is rare. Most of the companies fail to meet expectations. But if you want your consumers to share about you, you have to deliver exceptional customer service.
But how to make the customer experience better and shareable.
Monitor your entire support experience. Assume that you’re a customer visiting your store. Would you, as a customer, share your experience with friends?
Sometimes all you have to do is give after-purchase support—another element of customer support you can consider combining live chat. Connecting live chat into your store (before the checkout process) permits you to manage complaints and clarify questions before the cart is checked out. Combining live chat can limit cart abandonment problems, too – consumers will feel more confident in buying from you knowing that there is a live person on the other end willing to hear their questions.
Discover which part of your customer support process you can optimize.
Create viral content
Word-of-mouth marketing, not a new theory it is a traditional theory. If you want to content to go viral, then all you have to do is to find out which content performed well in your industry, improve it, and promote it.
Here’s a simple guide on how you can do this for yourself:
#1. Find content that has performed well in your industry
Go to Ahrefs Content Explorer, and type in a relevant keyword from your industry.
Content Explorer will display all the content that has proven to be popular in your industry. Classify them by social shares. Continue scrolling over the list of articles, and start noting down ideas.
#2. Improve the content
After discovering the topics, you want to create, go through the content that has generated tons of social shares.
Scrutinize the content. Why did it work? You have to discover the critical factors of its success so you can produce better content.
Here are a few tips you can count while improving a page:
- Make it more in-depth
- Make it more up-to-date
- Create a more extended list
- Make it better outlined
- Make it different/target a different angle
#3. Promote it
Content will not be seen if you do not promote it. Once you’ve published the piece of content, start promoting it. Imagine you’re a producer who just released a blockbuster movie – you’ll need to be everywhere where everyone can see it.
Promote it on Facebook and LinkedIn Groups.
Explain questions on Quora or share it on forums. Reach out to people who have email lists and request if they would include it in theirs. Reach out to journalists and see if they have an interest in covering it. Segment your content by a number of followers, and stand out to them and see if they would be interested in sharing your content.
#4. Leverage the power of influencers
Influencers are people who have a large number of followers. They possess enormous influence over their followers who try to look, dress, think, or live like them.
Every recommendation given by these influencers holds power over which product trends, which product goes viral, and which product gets sold out.
It means that it is a large opportunity to work with them to promote your products to their audience – and spread word-of-mouth for your brand.
You can get them to endorse your product by getting them to model for your ads.
It oughtn’t to be a large-scale, costly campaign either.
#5. Implement a referral program
A referral program is a planned, systematic way of getting new customers to make referrals to your business. It is a way to incentivize your existing customers to spread positive word of mouth and get their friends to purchase from your store.
To make a referral program successful, there are two main components you must optimize.
The most important component of a referral program is the incentive. After all, a referral program is a way to reward your customers for spreading the word.
Getting the right incentive makes 80% of your referral program’s success. Think clearly about what would be a significant consideration for both the advocate and the friends they are referring to.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, and don’t worry about switching up your incentives along the way.
Here are a few tips regarding incentives.
- If you’re selling something, people buy once/rarely buy, give cash incentives.
- If you’re selling something, people often buy, give a discount coupon.
Without promotion, nobody will come to know about your referral marketing program. Make sure it is noticeable so that your existing customers know about it and join your program.
You can let visitants know about your referral program by adding a link to your website’s header. You can also add it to the footer. Forward an email to your existing customer and invite them to participate.
In this article, we have seen how Referral marketing can be a compelling component of your marketing strategy.
Do not wait for the things to happen to, take a chance and experiment these strategies
Try out some of the tactics mentioned in the article to help you improve your brand’s audience and customer base.