Fun fact! Did you know people are four times more likely to buy from your business if referred by their friend than if they heard about your brand through your marketing campaigns?
Let that sink in for a minute.
Customer referrals and reviews help build a sense of social proof - an assurance that other customers have loved and recommend you.
Customers generally see highly appreciated and reviewed products (and services) as superior. This is what makes customer referrals such a strong asset for your business.
Want to know how to get referrals?
It starts with providing positive and engaging customer experiences. As a business, you can only secure these client referrals by earning your customers’ trust and loyalty. There are several ways to do this.
This article will help you understand how referral marketing works and how to get referrals from your customers.
What Is referral marketing?
Referral marketing is word-of-mouth promotion where satisfied customers refer your business to people they know.
This is an effective marketing method because people trust a customer referral made by their friends or family and are more likely to engage with the business being recommended.
These customer referrals may occur spontaneously, in conversation, or can take place in the form of a business referral program.
Keep in mind that customer reviews are similar to referrals because a person will trust the words and experience of another fellow customer more than the marketing claims of your brand.
This means that you can also use your referral marketing strategies to increase your customer reviews.
How to get referrals from your customers
- Lay the foundation for referrals
- Provide excellent customer service
- Facilitate relationships between customers and your brand
- Generate online reviews - and use them!
- Exceed expectations
- Know your top referrers
- Be sure to ask
- Express gratitude
- Set up a customer referral program
Laying the foundation for referrals
It is crucial for businesses to understand what earns them the most customer referrals.
It is generally seen that a positive customer experience with polite and helpful customer service lies at the heart.
Your brand should look to engage the customer in a way that helps them form a connection with your brand, its values, and the customer experiences that you provide.
Here are some tips to help you secure more referrals:
Excellent customer service
Top-notch customer service is the most significant component of creating a good customer experience, laying the foundation for business referrals.
Think of the customer experience as you excelling at delivering your service or product.
To improve your customer service, you should:
Whether your business is big or small, you’ll have to deal with demanding customers. No matter your customer’s attitude, you must show them respect and personalize your interactions as much as possible. Being courteous and professional will help you get referrals.
This is important if your business relies on in-person or virtual meetings. Being on time can help build your relationship with your customer as it shows you value their time.
Provide a great experience to everyone, every time. You should create repeatable processes and ensure all employees have sufficient training.
You may communicate with customers in various ways: face to face, via email, phone, or social media messages. Being proactive in responding to queries, complaints, or feedback reflects well on your brand as it shows you value customers’ opinions.
Let’s look at an example:
Say you’re an interior designer, and a potential client leaves a message asking if you have time to meet with them in your city, but they can only meet you the following day. As a busy professional, you know that fitting them into your already hectic schedule is a long shot.
However, you can respond to their message promptly and respectfully to let them know that you can’t meet during their requested day. Then, you follow up with ideas for alternative meeting options like a Zoom call.
You can also throw in the option to meet with them for an early morning coffee (before your regular schedule starts). This way, even if you can’t fulfill the customer's request, they feel heard and respected.
Facilitating relationships between customers and your brand
You may be thinking, shouldn’t I be focused on getting to know my customers, not the other way around? While knowing your customers’ needs is vital, it is essential for customers to understand your brand and values.
Customers tend to shop with and recommend brands whose values align with theirs much more than others.
For instance, a brand that generates eco-friendly products through carbon-neutral methods will attract environmentally conscious customers. But to do so, the brand needs to market itself as being eco-friendly, reward customers for going cashless, and celebrate occasions like Earth Day through sales and seminars, among other things.
It’s easier for customers to be interested in you if you take the time to build a relationship with them. But be careful not to overshare; sharing excessive personal opinions can quickly make someone feel uncomfortable, and it makes you appear unprofessional.
Generate your online reviews - and use them!
Your online reviews are almost like personal recommendations. According to Search Engine Land, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So if your business has lots of positive reviews, you’re more likely to make a sale.
In case you have some negative reviews, don’t panic. Instead, you should respond to negative reviews politely and professionally and mention how you’re making changes to improve.
Even if your product is superior to others in the market, it might not be enough to gain customer reviews and business referrals.
The more help you provide to your customers, the better off you’ll be: whether that means reminding them of what they should do next or giving a few extra tips on how to use the product better.
You don’t have to break the bank or go overboard; being helpful can be enough to get you a stellar review and maybe even a business referral.
If you’ve been paving the way for referrals, that's great. You probably have some word-of-mouth marketing working in your favor, and new customers are coming in. The next step is creating an organized strategy to increase your referrals further.
Know your top referrers
Look for patterns and trends within your referral demographics: you can track your prospects and referrals in a spreadsheet or use referral software.
Let’s say you’re a Business to Customer (B2C) business and need to identify your top referrers. Using past data, you can determine whether middle-aged men or young, professional women respond to you better.
You can then use this data to tailor your customer experiences to cater to these key groups better. This will help you secure more referrals from a highly responsive and enthusiastic customer group.
On the other hand, if you run a Business to Business (B2B) company, perhaps you’ll find that other small businesses, particularly startups, refer you most often. Whichever the case, this gives you the ammunition to dig a little deeper so that you can understand what type of customer is more likely to refer your business.
Additionally, you may learn you have a few local customers who promote your business frequently. Invest time understanding what you’re doing right for them and try to replicate it.
Be sure to ask
A big part of a successful campaign or program to get referrals or reviews is to simply ask.
Failing to do so means you’ll miss out on word of mouth opportunities. If you’re confident that you’re delivering an exceptional product or service, and even hear it from time to time, all it often takes is to simply ask a customer if they’ll share their opinion.
If they’re truly delighted, most will.
Showing you appreciate your customers’ efforts to refer and promote your business can set you apart from competitors.
You can do this by providing freebies and other incentives that can be redeemed each time a customer makes an X number of referrals. This also motivates customers to make multiple referrals in your favor!
Let’s go over a few examples of how you can show appreciation to referrers:
A quick email thanking them for their efforts goes a long way. You can also include a coupon for a store discount or free shipping as an additional way of saying thanks.
You can give loyal customers a freebie or discount on their next bill. If you are a software company, you can upgrade their account or give them an add-on service for free.
Your gesture doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. A simple gesture or shout out on social media can easily let customers know you value their loyalty to your brand.
Start a referral program
Setting up a referral program makes it easier to ask for referrals from existing clients.
These programs allow your most loyal customers to get their own custom links which they can forward to people who they want to recommend your business to.
This allows you to build a better, more personal relationship with your best customers while also boosting your organic customer-driven growth!
Make sure your customers are aware of any referral marketing activities or programs you have. Whether that’s having a sign by a cash register, on an invoice, or in your email signature is up to you. Why choose? Do them all. Using your social media profiles is also wise.
Some of the most effective referral marketing programs tend to be embedded in most aspects of the user experience. For referrals to deliver, include your program as part of how you operate.
If you focus on the product or experience, your referrals should follow. Under promise and over deliver is always a way to go.
NiceJob helps you send personal recommendation invites to your customers, letting them quickly share their experiences with their network. We also have a recommendation widget to keep track of all the recommendations you receive.
In addition, we allow customers to share a recommendation link on social media, making it easy for new and existing customers to recommend your business to their friends.
It’s never been easier to increase your referrals and drive sales! Sign up for your 14-day free trial of NiceJob's Reputation Marketing Software today.