Most referral marketing programs don’t work because companies haven’t laid the groundwork for meaningful customer relationships. Before you can ask customers for referrals (which is kind of a big deal), you’ll need to consistently engage them, and turn them into brand advocates.
To do this, invite your best customers to join an exclusive online hub—known as an advocate marketing program—where they can get to know your product or service even better, and interact with you directly by sharing feedback and participating in fun or educational challenges.
By communicating regularly with your customers, educating them about your brand and offering them valuable resources (like networking opportunities, exclusive access to new product features, etc.) they’ll be excited to tell friends about their awesome experience.
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Just after they launch your program or implement your service, as they’re looking forward to seeing results
When you learn that they got amazing results from your product or service
When they say nice things about you
You should also have methods for continuously reminding customers to submit referrals. You can:
Include a link to your referral submission page in your email footer, blog posts, newsletters, login pages, etc.
Launch a referral contest to fuel their competitive streak, and keep them engaged
Integrate your referral process with your advocate marketing program to stay top of mind for your customers, and recognize them for referring their peers
3. They clearly communicate the referral process
Advocates are more likely to give you referrals if they know you will treat their referred friends, family and colleagues like gold. That’s why it’s vital to give advocates transparency into your referral workflow.
We have a challenge in our advocate marketing program, Influitive VIP, that asks advocates to send us referrals. The challenge looks like this:
After an advocate submits a referral, they can log in at any time and see how the referral is progressing through our four-part sales process:
A sales representative contacts the referred lead to schedule a demo
The referred lead becomes a customer
Advocates want to know how a referral is going and if they can do anything to help because they want to see the referred lead turn into a customer. Involve them at all stages and close the feedback loop so your advocates feel good about referring again and again.
Referral marketing programs have a huge impact on pipeline
Although referrals represent just a small fraction (3%) of the overall leads generated by our marketing team, their impact on our sales pipeline and revenue is extraordinary.
Nearly one quarter of our opportunities in 2014 were created from referred leads, and 38% of our customers can be sourced from our referral marketing programs.
So, what are you waiting for? You probably have lots of advocates who love your service and are willing to give you referrals. When you put the word out, you may be surprised by how many referrals your advocates send your way.
Influitive Exposed is an intimate look at how we’ve mobilized thousands of customer, employee and partner advocates to submit referrals, write reviews, act as references, contribute to content and more.