In today’s digital world, a business can only hope to succeed with a comprehensive marketing strategy employing various approaches. However, professional word-of-mouth advertising has endured and thrived over the years. In today’s era, it is called referrals or referral marketing.
Your strategy will likely include a well-designed website with relevant, high-quality content, paid to advertise, an active social media profile, and effective SEO. However, today, trust in your advertising is more vital than ever. And because of the trust that comes with a referral which are priceless.
Simply put, what is referral marketing?
Specifically, referral marketing encourages current customers to recommend your company to their friends and acquaintances. The focus should be building a loyal fanbase of customers who genuinely value your products or services. This is crucial because it is the most effective strategy for luring new customers to your store. Referral marketing is highly effective if executed properly.
Stages For Referral Marketing
- Happy Clients
The first and most essential stage of referral marketing. This is a recommendation from a happy customer who did so out of the simple joy of being able to help others.
This could be as simple as a “bring your friends here and get a free coffee” campaign or as complex as a referral program on your website. The crucial point is that it does not seek financial gain.
- Referral Networks
It is at this second level that recommendations are made. At this point, word of your business’s wares has begun to spread. Adding credibility occurs at this point. Sooner or later, they will cave in and buy your wares. Reputation is also important at the second level. If word of mouth spreads, you’ll gain a reputation for providing an excellent service or product.
Maintaining a high-quality product or service and delivering on your promises is crucial; otherwise, your customers will discuss how you didn’t provide.
- Ask for Experience Sharing
A third step in the referral marketing process is discussing a positive encounter. Customers are more likely to return after a positive experience and to recommend the business to others. This is advanced knowledge in the field of word-of-mouth advertising. In business-to-business transactions, in particular, word-of-mouth promotion can help expand clientele.
Spreading the word about your company, service, or product through word-of-mouth is an excellent strategy for growth. Giving incentives to your existing clientele is another great way to get the word out. Positive word-of-mouth from satisfied customers is the key to sustained business success.
- Introductory Stage
Referrals are made to prospects at the fourth level. This could be a more general introduction to the company, as when a potential client is shown around the office.
There are also situations where the referrer “pushes” the prospect to meet a certain person.
- Close the sale
Concluding the sale is the fifth and final step. There are numerous strategies for closing a deal, but all of them should adhere to the same general principle. The quicker you can complete the sale, the better. To maximize the success of your referral program and generate high-quality leads, you must close the deal as soon as possible. You can increase your sales by employing any number of proven strategies.
Benefits Of Referrals
- Customers trust referrals
Customers put a lot of faith in recommendations from people they know, making this benefit of referral marketing the most alluring. According to a recent survey, consumers now place more stock in peer endorsements and reviews than in traditional forms of advertising. The likelihood of a sale is increased by four times when a friend makes the recommendation.
Customers who participate in referral programs are likely to remain loyal to your business. One of the main advantages of referral marketing is reduced customer acquisition costs as compared to focusing on customer retention.
- Increased reach
You can significantly broaden your reach by enlisting existing clients to spread the word about your business. While there are some places and events where commercials can’t be shown, satisfied customers can talk about your company to anyone they like. Customer referrals are a great way to grow your business because most people have various friends.
Referred customers are more valuable: In general, customers who come to you via referral have a higher likelihood of becoming repeat customers. Your friends, family, and coworkers typically have a 25% higher lifetime value than other customers.
- Greater ROI
Referral marketing is an inexpensive form of promotion compared to more conventional forms of advertising, such as online banner ads, even when you factor in the cost of discounts and freebies. By awarding points rather than an immediate present or price cut for each referral, you can streamline your referral marketing system rewards into your overall loyalty rewards program and save even more money.
- Save money on new customers
New, loyal customers can help you save money. Referral marketing is one of the most cost-efficient strategies for attracting new customers and keeping existing ones reliable. Referrals are a great way to increase customer loyalty because people tend to remain customers of businesses they have been told about by friends and family.
An effective referral marketing system allows you to reap the rewards with little additional effort. Although you will have to do some work initially to set up your referral marketing promotion program and award reward points, your customers will do most of the work for you.
- Boosted Engagement
You can boost your online visibility and the likelihood of making money by encouraging more interaction from your audience. A customer who recommends your business to another is more likely to return to your website, whether to redeem a reward or to share their thoughts on a product. Typically, customers will buy more from your store the more frequently they visit.
- Identify loyal clients and cater to them specifically
Customers appreciate it when they are valued. In the meantime, 68% of customers bail because they feel the brand isn’t caring about them. Using a referral marketing platform, you can identify your most loyal customers and offer them special perks in exchange for spreading the word about your business. Also, by looking at the bigger picture, you can better tailor your product offerings to the demands of your target audience.
Strategies To Ask For Referrals
1. Referrals Via Email
It’s 2023. If an email can accomplish the same goal, people see no reason to pick up the phone and have a conversation. Sending direct emails to current customers is a great way to solicit referrals. With a solid referral email template at your disposal, it’s simple to send one off.
Remember that you don’t want to appear needy or insistent when requesting a referral. Avoid unnecessary equivocation. The general public universally reviles that. Be direct in your request for a referral when emailing a client. To make the “ask” appear as natural as possible, the subject line should be crafted with care.
Here, you’re capitalizing on your already-established rapport with a client. New customers should not be asked for referrals. Please don’t make it seem like you’re only communicating with the client to beg for favors; that’s not how anyone wants to be treated. Asking for recommendations can be tricky; avoid sounding too eager to cash in on the relationship.
A simple email request for recommendations is outlined below. Try inserting one of these phrases as a fitting conclusion to your email. The question could also be embedded in a humorous image that leads to information about your referral program.
- Is there a friend you can think of who might benefit from our offer?
- When you think of a friend who would appreciate our product, do you have anyone in mind?
- Do you know anyone who could benefit from what we offer?
Subject: Request for Customer Referrals
Dear [Customer’s Name],
I hope this email finds you well. As a valued customer of [Company Name], I wanted to reach out to you and ask for your assistance with our business growth.
We are always looking for ways to expand our customer base and provide our products/services to more people who could benefit from them. That is why we are reaching out to our loyal customers like you, to ask for your help in referring any friends, family, or colleagues who may benefit from our products/services.
If you could take a moment to think about anyone you know who could benefit from our products/services and introduce them to us, it would be greatly appreciated. In return, we would happily offer you [an incentive for referrals, such as a discount on your next purchase, a free trial of a new product, etc.].
Thank you for your continued support and for considering our request for referrals. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or would like to discuss this further.
2. Referrals Via Phone Call
The telephone is another great way to ask for recommendations. Telling the person on the other end of the line why you are calling is crucial to making a successful request. Always be conscious of how much time a client is giving you. However, what’s the best way to do so over the phone? The solution is straightforward: say so.
And unless you’ve honed your referral-seeking skills, it’s wise to stick to a script. A script is helpful whether you’re trying to drum up business for website maintenance services or anything else.
It’s best to wait for a reply after putting in a request. Some people will give you a name on the spot, while others will say they need time to consider it. Some will outright refuse, but you shouldn’t let that discourage you. Clients may only sometimes be willing to provide their full names when asked.
- Use your best judgment:
Rather than pretending to be knowledgeable about something, try learning about it. It would help if you were an expert in your field before you could successfully educate a client. With an informative response, you can earn the other person’s respect. If you respond well to their questions, they may be willing to provide you with a referral.
Asking, “Do you know anybody who wants to learn about this subject/topic?” is an excellent way to find people to refer to.
- Comprehend and address issues:
Some of your clientele may be searching for a sympathetic ear. Assure your clients that you have fully grasped their requirements by demonstrating empathy. You can request a referral after you’ve earned your customer’s trust.
It’s appropriate to inquire, “Do you know anybody who is facing similar problems?” when seeking a referral.
- Focus on it uniquely:
All of your customers deserve your undivided attention. Take your time with service and pay attention to a customer’s needs because you’re too busy. Before requesting a referral, you should do everything possible to make the customer more satisfied with their experience.
Conversation starters are great icebreakers that can help you learn more about your customer. You can confidently ask a customer for a referral after ensuring they are satisfied with the service they have received, feel heard, and meet their needs.
Referral request question: “Is there anyone else you recommend for my services?”
- Connect and put in a request:
Avoid leading with, “Do you know anyone who would benefit from [specific product or service]?” when making the actual request.
To get them thinking of potential names, start by having them describe the people and organizations they share mutually beneficial relationships. Then, inquire if they know anyone else interested in purchasing what you’re selling.
If they do, explain your referral program and how simple it is for them to tell their friends about you.
- Extend your gratitude by following up:
It’s polite to follow up a call with an email of gratitude as soon as possible. Aside from being a thoughtful gesture, this also gives them an extra communication channel should they have any questions. You can also send them a link to your referral program to make it simpler for them to refer their friends.
3. Face-To-Face Referrals
Asking for referrals in person is the most effective method. People are usually more receptive to your requests if you are physically present. Please visit them at their place of business and explain the purpose of an appointment when you schedule it.
A meeting demonstrates that you value referrals and are willing to meet with potential clients. If you need to contact a client but can’t physically meet them right now, a video call must be made. Face-to-face communication is always an option, even if you’re working with clients or coworkers in different countries, thanks to online meeting platforms like Zoom and Google Meet used by most professionals today. Thus, it is easy to get a client online for a quick chat. If you master it, this strategy will prove immensely useful.
Of course, nobody is perfect immediately, so it will take some practice before you start seeing results from this approach. However, it is always a good idea to practice asking for referrals in person if you are unsure of the proper way to do so.
4. Website Referrals
Your website serves as the center of your brand, and it is most likely where your customers are making purchases. Referrals are crucial, so use your website to seek them out actively. Even if you’re using referral software, you must find ways to direct customers to a referral program page where they can be asked for referrals. Having a captivating hero image on your homepage is one method of doing so.
Naturally, one of the most optimal times to request a referral is immediately following a purchase. Make the most of this pivotal juncture by implementing this website referral ask tips.
You could include a referral request on the page thanking customers for their purchase. A brief blurb like, “Love us? Tell your pals about it!”
Another way to ask while your brand is fresh in the Customer’s mind is to use a referral program pop-up that appears immediately after purchase.
Subject: Share your experience with [Company Name] and help others find us
Dear valued visitor,
Thank you for considering [Company Name] for your [products/services]. We hope you had a positive experience browsing our website and learning about what we offer.
We are writing to ask for your help spreading the word about our company. As a new business, we rely on the support of our customers and visitors to grow and succeed. If you enjoyed your experience with us, we would appreciate you sharing your thoughts with others.
There are many ways you can help us spread the word. Here are a few options:
- Share our website on social media: If you have a social media account, consider sharing our website with your followers. You can also tag us in your post to help others find us.
- Please leave a review on our website: Our website has a section where you can share your experience with others. Your review can help potential customers make informed decisions about our products and services.
- Refer a friend: If you know someone who could benefit from our products or services, consider referring them to us. You can share our website with them or give them our contact information.
We appreciate your support and thank you for considering helping us grow our business. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
5. Social Media Referrals
Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook profiles can all be used to solicit recommendations for your business. You can ask a specific person for a referral or post publicly, asking the social media community for suggestions. Here’s an illustration:
Respond with gratitude to current customers who share positive comments about your business on social media. You can also use this time to request a referral via private message.
Dear [Social Media Followers],
I hope you’re having a great day! As some of you may know, I run [Your Business Name], where we provide [briefly describe your products or services].
I’m reaching out to ask for your help. If you’ve had a positive experience with our business, are you willing to share your thoughts with your friends and family? A personal recommendation from someone they trust can go a long way in helping others decide on where to turn for similar needs.
If you’re comfortable doing so, please share a post or story about your experience with our business, and tag us so we can see it and share it with our followers. We appreciate your support and thank you in advance for any referrals you can send us.
As a token of our gratitude, anyone you refer to us will receive [insert incentive here, if applicable].
Thank you again for your support and trust in our business!
If you are utilizing referral marketing software, you should also add a link to your referral program in your social media profile’s bio.
You can sign up for your referral program whenever it is most convenient for them, and you can keep spreading the word.
6. Referrals From Competitors
Referrals from competitors can be helpful if you operate in a market where businesses aren’t directly competing for customers. If they are going after different customers than you are, your competitors may even be happy to send business your way. The format you need is provided here.
Greetings, [Name of Competitor]!
I see that you provide help with [insert service here]. High demand has necessitated my declining many potential customers. Because [insert needs here] my ideal clients have, I would happily refer them to you.
If any of your clients need [insert services you provide here], could you provide them with the same? I’d be delighted to provide them with excellent service at a low cost.
7. Referral Via Word Of Mouth
Consumers who are pleased with a service or product often recommend it to their friends, family, and coworkers. It is a non-manipulative form of advertising that emphasizes the value of friendship and mutual respect.
Since people tend to put more stock in the recommendations of people they know and respect, word of mouth is widely regarded as one of the most effective marketing strategies. This is especially true in the modern era when opinions expressed on social media and in online reviews significantly impact how people make purchases.
Businesses can boost the amount of positive word-of-mouth about their brand by concentrating on satisfying customers in every possible way. Customers who bring in new business can be rewarded with discounts or other perks. When happy customers recommend your company to their friends, those friends are more likely to become loyal customers themselves.
We hope this message finds you well. As a valued customer of [Company], we wanted to take a moment to express our appreciation for your continued support. We understand that there are many options, and we’re grateful you chose to do business with us.
As you know, one of the most effective ways to grow our business is through word-of-mouth referrals. If you’re happy with our service, we would be grateful if you could spread the word to your friends and family. Whether it’s a casual mention in conversation or a social media post, your support means the world to us.
Of course, we understand that referrals are a personal matter, and we would never ask you to recommend us if you weren’t delighted with our service. If there’s anything we can do to improve your experience, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
Thank you again for your support, and we look forward to serving you in the future.
8. Net Promoter Score Referral
Using the “net promoter score” technique to collect customer feedback is one of the most effective ways to boost recommendations. The Net Promoter Score has been used by businesses and other organizations for years to learn more about their customers.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an easy-to-understand survey that asks customers how likely they are to recommend a business to family and friends.
Participants are asked to select a number between 1 and 10, but no other information is required. Customers on the fence between choices 7 and 8 are typically persuaded to give a positive recommendation. Those who rate you 6 out of 10 or lower are dissatisfied and require immediate attention.
When a client is overjoyed, they are more likely to respond with a high score. Including a social sharing button in the survey can increase the number of recommendations from participants.
Dear [Customer Name],
We hope this email finds you well. We wanted to thank you for your recent purchase/service with [Company Name], and we hope you have been enjoying your experience with us so far.
At [Company Name], we strive to provide the best possible experience for our customers, and we are always looking for ways to improve. To help us in this effort, we would greatly appreciate it if you could take a few moments to complete our Net Promoter Score survey.
This survey will help us understand how likely you are to recommend [Company Name] to a friend or colleague, as well as any areas where we can improve our products or services. Your feedback is precious to us, and we take it very seriously.
As I thank you for your time, we would like to offer you [Insert incentive or reward for completing the survey]. We truly appreciate your business and feedback, and we look forward to continuing to serve you in the future.
Thank you in advance for your participation in our Net Promoter Score survey.
Reply Template To Referral Message
Hey [Recipient’s Name]!
I just had to drop a message to say thanks for that excellent referral you made with [Referral’s Name]. It’s a major client, and we’re stoked to have the opportunity to work with them.
Seriously, your confidence in us and our actions means the world to us! And to show our appreciation, we’re offering you a sweet 20% discount on your next order with us. How’s that for a thank you?
I can’t wait to collaborate with you and [Referral’s Name]. Thanks again for having our backs!
Best Practices That Famous Companies Implemented For Referrals
- Make it easy for people to refer you:
When asking for referrals, it’s essential to make it as easy as possible for people to refer you. This could mean providing a referral link or form that people can use to share your information with their network easily. For example, Dropbox makes it easy for people to refer their friends and colleagues by providing a referral link that can be shared via email or social media.
- Use social proof to build credibility:
Social proof can be a powerful tool for building credibility and increasing the likelihood of receiving referrals. This could include customer testimonials, case studies, or reviews from satisfied customers. For example, Slack has customer testimonials on its website to showcase its product’s effectiveness and build trust with potential customers.
- Express gratitude:
Finally, it’s important to express gratitude for any referrals and follow up with the people who referred you. This can help maintain a positive and professional relationship and increase the likelihood of receiving future referrals. For example, HubSpot includes a thank-you message on their referral page and provides updates on the status of referred leads to the people who referred them.
- Build strong relationships with your customers:
The first step in getting referrals is to create a positive relationship with your existing customers. If your customers don’t trust you, they will unlikely refer their friends and family to your business. Make sure you’re providing excellent customer service, addressing their concerns promptly, and going above and beyond to exceed their expectations.
For example, Apple is known for its excellent customer service. The company’s Genius Bar provides customers with one-on-one support and troubleshooting, which helps build trust and loyalty. As a result, Apple customers are more likely to recommend the company to their friends and family.
- Give before you ask for anything:
Incentives can be a powerful motivator for people to refer their friends and family to your business. Consider offering a discount, a free service, or a gift card to customers who refer new business your way. This not only incentivizes your customers to refer more people to your business, but it also shows your appreciation for their help.
For example, Uber‘s referral program rewards the referrer and the new user with free rides. This incentive encourages customers to refer their friends and family to the service, which helps Uber grow its user base.
- Follow up quickly:
When someone provides a referral, it’s essential to follow up quickly. Contact the referral as soon as possible to thank them for their interest and set up a meeting or call to discuss their needs. If you wait too long to follow up, the referral may lose interest or forget about your business.
For instance, LinkedIn has a feature called “Ask for a Referral” that allows users to request a referral from someone they know. LinkedIn sends a notification to the referred person, making it easy for them to respond quickly and connect with the person who requested the referral.
- Measure your success:
Finally, it’s essential to measure the success of your referral program. Keep track of how many referrals you receive, how many turn into actual customers, and how much revenue you generate from those referrals. This information will help refine your approach and adjust your program over time.
For example, Salesforce‘s referral program offers a cash bonus to employees who refer new businesses to the company. Salesforce tracks the success of its referral program by measuring the number of referrals, the number of hires and the total amount of money paid out in referral bonuses.
Who should I ask for a referral?
You can ask anyone to help connect you with the right people or opportunities. This could include former colleagues, clients, mentors, or friends in your industry or field.
When is the best time to ask for a referral?
It’s best to ask for a referral when you’ve established a strong relationship with the person you’re asking. This could be after you’ve completed a successful project together, received positive feedback, or have otherwise built a rapport. It’s also important to be respectful of the other person’s time and availability and to make sure you’re not asking for a referral at an inconvenient or inappropriate time.
How can I increase my chances of receiving a referral?
To increase your chances of receiving a referral, it’s essential to provide value and build trust with the person you’re asking. This could mean going above and beyond in your work, offering to help the other person somehow, or maintaining a positive and professional relationship over time. It’s also important to be clear about what you’re looking for and express gratitude for any assistance.