Referral marketing can be a very effective solution. If you’re still at the beginning of your referral adventure then the results may not be hugely significant right away, but fortunately there are ways to change that. It could also be that your results are a little underwhelming after your program has been running for a while. Perhaps your customers are no longer as engaged as they once were or as interested in the incentives. So what can you do to increase their engagement?
To increase your referrals you should reorganize your strategies. Markets change and so your marketing actions should too. If you are wondering what you should do, we have gathered some strategies that may be helpful if you want to get more referrals. But let’s start from the beginning: what is a good marketing strategy?
What is a good strategy?
Your marketing strategy is the plan that should determine your actions; what, when, and to whom. A well-designed strategy will improve the performance of your marketing activities. In order to plan correctly, you should first think about your target.
Marketers often design strategies that are very good in theory, but in practice they do not bring many benefits. Why? A particular strategy might be creative and innovative, but if it is not perfectly matched to the target then it will not be effective. So if you are looking for a good strategy, you should tailor it to your customers first. You need to analyze who your customers really are, what they expect, and what their habits are. If you need to change your strategy because the current one is underperforming, analyze who your target was before and who it is now. Consumers are always changing, and maybe your offer is too. You have to align your strategy with these changes if you want to stay in the game.
A good marketing strategy clearly communicates the company’s USP. But to express it well you need to know what it actually is first. Think about your strengths and what makes customers choose you. What unique propositions do you have to offer them? If you can identify the qualities that make you stand out from the crowd, you should emphasize them in your strategy. They will be a catch that your existing customers can throw in order to attract new referrals.
The strategies below address both of these aspects. Remember to adopt any strategy you choose to the specifics of your industry and your program.
Find the right tool
Half the battle is using a good tool, thanks to which you will be able to create a program that is well-tailored to you and your customers’ needs. Why is it so important to choose the right platform before you start building your program?
First, you’ll be able to fine-tune everything individually to your business. EarlyParrot has a very good option for novices that shows which aspects of your program still need to be improved. Thanks to such hints you can be sure that your program will be well constructed, and avoid a situation when, for example, new users are not notified about the possibility of joining your program.
What is more, it is quite important that such a tool can be easily integrated with your existing platforms. How to create a referral program if the tool is not compatible with your eCommerce platform? Simply put, It will be hard or even impossible. That is why the referral platform you choose should have plenty of available integrations, like EarlyParrot does.
Improve the customer experience
Going the extra mile in terms of customer experience is generally always profitable. First and foremost, you can improve contact with your customers. Almost half of all companies understand that their customer experience is the basis of success, and you need to be one of them. Wondering how this will affect your referrals? Clients will not recommend to their friends a company that, for example, cannot be contacted or has poor after-sales services. So what to do?
First, answer any questions that are asked. If a customer sends a query it should be addressed. Even the simplest ones can be answered, for example, with a link to FAQs. Don’t leave any customers unanswered or you may lose existing ones and they will not be encouraged to make new referrals either..
Remember about a high level of communication. Not only should you inform clients about every level they reach towards a referral reward (here you will need a suitable tool), but also about any changes in the program, new ones, or different rewards. A good way is to remind clients about yourself – send emails to any who have not made referrals for a long time or that are close to earning a reward.
Also, be sure to be regular, diligent, and honest in your communication. If you provide your users with, e.g., weekly industry news, do it conscientiously and deliver good quality. If there are any issues, whether they are your fault or not, let your clients know. Better to apologize for the inconvenience than hide a problem.
Personalization is also an important aspect of your marketing activities. About 70% of millennials may feel a little upset when receiving bulk emails from a brand rather than a personalized message. You probably (hopefully!) refer to your customers by name in your messages already, but it’s worth going a step further.
Ask for feedback about a reward that a client has recently won, or whether the referee was satisfied with the recommendation and your offer.
You can also link, for example, to the profiles of people who created accounts using the referral link of a particular client when you send them notifications about rewards to show some appreciation.
Remember that enough may be enough, though. If a person recommended by a client has not made a purchase for a long time, for example, do not send them a message with the title “why is your friend no longer buying from us?” This is out of place and your client may feel embarrassed. If you want to find out, write to the referee instead and encourage them to visit your web and do some shopping.
Another good solution is sending birthday wishes (of course, if the client has shared the date with you) or gifts on the anniversary of their participation in the program. Shortly before this date, you should ask the customer if they want a gift for the occasion and if they would like it to be sent to the address they provided when setting up their account. The gift could be a small item like a T-shirt, eco bag, or a mug with your logo, if not a bestseller from your offer. Also, don’t forget to include a “Thank You” card for participating in your program. Showing your gratitude for their support will surely result in an even better cooperation.
Build relationships with customers
As already stated above, customer experience is a matter of either being there or not. Building relationships is an important part of this. The closer the bond, the better the customer experience. If you know the basics of referral marketing, you probably know that relationships are its foundation. How can you take care of this aspect even more? Loyalty programs are a good option. You may ask how many programs you can provide to your customers, and the answer is as many as it takes. Referral programs, loyalty programs, or whatever your customers need.
Why not build a relationship based on loyalty by engaging customers with a loyalty program and additionally rewarding them for spreading the word about you? It follows that the more attached clients feel, the more likely they will be to encourage others because they will want to create a community. So take care about communication and your customers’ well-being.
Share case studies
A case study can be valuable material for your audience. First of all, depending on the topic, they can prove that what your business is a good choice. Case studies can also show that your business is popular among your customers, and that they love it. Secondly, you will build authority by sharing knowledge. Such content could be interesting facts to share with friends or family. And this is the core of referral marketing. If someone talks about you well and attracts others as a result, it is worth investing in. Even if the referral doesn’t convert right away, they may be interested in what your business does and make a purchase in the future.
It’s a good idea to publish case studies around your USP. Most likely, no one has created similar content before. As such, this will arouse interest not only in the data itself, but also in what you have to offer. Two benefits for the price of one!
The more you specialize in a given field, the easier it will be for you to attract potential customers. Sometimes it is better to focus on a narrow range of services or products. If you perfect one aspect of your listing, the recommendations will more-or-less generate themselves.
Do you remember about the USP? Create on this basis. Now that you know what makes you stand out from the competition, take advantage of it. Build a unique offer around this aspect only for your customers. Remember that everyone wants to feel special, so provide them with that experience. Communicate not only what makes you stand out, but also what you can offer in connection with it. The more special and unique, the better.
It is also a good solution from a practical point of view. Focusing on one aspect of your offer allows you to perfect it. It will be much easier for you to handle one referral program based on your niche and USP than a few that cover half of your offer. But don’t be mistaken – just because you should be focusing on one segment when building a referral program doesn’t mean forgetting about the rest. Inbound marketing is a good solution here
Which strategy is the best for you?
Building a referral program seems relatively simple. In practice, it is, but it takes some effort to break out or maintain a winning streak. Despite the fact that your customers are the driving force behind referral marketing, a lot depends on you. too. Yes, clients recommend your company, but you must give them a reason to share their positive perceptions about you with their friends.
We hope that you like the above suggestions and ideas and will try at least one of them out. Every good strategy is focused on the target, and when implementing it is worth highlighting your USP. Whichever choice seems best for you, be sure to keep these two aspects of a good strategy in mind.