Referral marketing is the method of promoting products or services to new customers through referrals, usually word of mouth. Such referrals often happen spontaneously but businesses can influence this through appropriate strategies. Wikipedia

Because human beings are social creatures, when we’ve had a good experience, we are wired to tell others about it. Word of mouth is the most powerful means for marketing there is, but for many marketers and business owners, it’s a dream and not even close to being a reality.

Having customers, or even prospects, talking positively about your products and services is priceless. According to Nielson, “Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising…”

What’s so great about word of mouth marketing (WOMM)? First, it’s a free form of marketing. Kenneth Blanchard talks about customer service that creates “raving fans.” The great thing about raving fans is that they rave about you to people they know, and that expands your credibility to a wider audience.

How do you get raving fans? The key element is over-delivering. If you consistently over-deliver to your customers, your credibility with them will soar, and they will tell others. Just ask the yogurt company, Chobani.

Hamdi Ulukaya founded Chobani in upstate New York and turned it into a billion dollar company in five years. His secret? An Inc. story about him says, “Many credit this success to the unique relationship the brand has built with its customers.”

Still have doubts about whether WOMM will work for you?

Consider the Dollar Shave Club. In 2012, they released a humorous YouTube video featuring their CEO Michael Dubin. Entrepreneur reports, ”
In the first three months after the startup posted the clip on YouTube last March, it racked up 4.75 million views–thanks in large part to shares on social media sites. “

That’s the power of WOMM. On the revenue side, within just two days of putting that video on YouTube, the Dollar Shave Club had 12,000 members sign on with them. At the end of the first week, they had 25,000 customers. In five years, they sold the Dollar Shave Club to Unilever for $1 billion cash.

6 Referral Marketing Strategies

  1. Do you have something for people to talk about? This is the essential ingredient for WOMM. It takes either a WOW product or WOW customer service, or both. WOW means being better than your competition, or offering more value than your competition at your price point. It also means delivering your product (or service) in a way that impresses those who buy from you, and building a long-term relationship with them that “wows” them.
  2. Do you offer exceptional customer service? How well do you handle support issues? Putting the WOW factor into your customer service is a proven path to raving fans and referrals. The follow-up that you do with your customers can turn them into raving fans who refer others to you.
  3. Do you have a compelling story about why you started your business? How about a story about how you created your products, or what motivated you to offer particular services? Bring your personality into your business and you can attract a tribe who resonate with you.
  4. Do you have viral content on your blog? Veteran marketer and digital marketing consultant Neil Patel gives this definition of viral content: “The word “viral” means “relating to a piece of content that is circulated rapidly and widely from one web user to another.” What makes content go viral? First, the content must be so good that it’s worthy to be shared. Second, it must be shared widely enough across enough networks that others get into the sharing action.
  5. Are you promoting your products, services, and content? Use the sharing buttons on your website to promote your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, wherever. The point is that your promotion could be the catalyst to viral sharing. Are you promoting your products and services to your email list? Do you have an email list? If you don’t, start one forthwith (I think that means right away).
  6. If you can bring influencers into your orbit and they will refer you to others, you’ve got a tremendous advantage working for you. When your WOMM comes from someone that others trust and look up to, you’ve taken your referrals to a higher level. How do you get influencers to talk you up? In some cases, it’s a pay to play scenario. In others, an email to someone with 2,500 to 25,000 followers may get you a mention. Explain your brand, and an exchange of mutual benefit. I’ve linked here to the best article I’ve found on this.

You can be a reference for me by sharing this post with your peeps! As always, I welcome your comments and questions and your likes and shares.

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