7 Principles to Grow Your Business – Chapter 7: Principle 6 – Increase the Number of Referrals

Harnessing the Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful tool for growing your business. When customers share their positive experiences with others, it creates trust and credibility, leading to increased referrals. By harnessing the power of word-of-mouth marketing, you can expand your customer base and drive sustainable business growth.

Creating a Remarkable Customer Experience to Drive Referrals

  • Exceed Expectations: Strive to exceed customer expectations at every touchpoint. Provide exceptional customer service, deliver products on time, and go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction. A remarkable customer experience will naturally lead to positive word-of-mouth referrals.

Example: A restaurant ensures that every guest receives personalised attention, offers complimentary appetizers, and goes above and beyond to make each dining experience memorable. Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend the restaurant to their friends and family.

  • Delightful Surprises: Surprise and delight your customers with unexpected gestures or perks. Offer small gifts, exclusive discounts, or personalised notes to show appreciation and create memorable moments that customers will share with others.

Example: An online retailer includes a handwritten thank-you note and a small gift in each package. Customers are pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful gesture and often share their positive experiences on social media, generating referrals for the brand.

Implementing Referral Programs and Incentivising Customer Advocacy

  • Referral Programmes: Establish a structured referral programme that rewards customers for referring new business. Provide incentives such as discounts, credits, or exclusive perks to both the referring customer and the new customer, encouraging them to participate in the referral process.

Example: A fitness studio offers existing members a referral bonus, such as a free month of membership, for referring a friend who signs up for a membership. The referred friend also receives a discounted joining fee, incentivising both parties to participate in the referral programme.

  • Advocate Rewards: Identify your most loyal and enthusiastic customers and turn them into brand advocates. Offer special rewards or recognition for customers who actively promote your business, such as featuring them on your website or inviting them to exclusive events.

Example: A beauty brand selects a group of loyal customers as brand ambassadors and provides them with free product samples, early access to new releases, and opportunities to participate in brand campaigns. These advocates share their positive experiences and recommendations with their social networks, driving referrals for the brand.

Leveraging Social Media and Online Reviews for Increased Referrals

  • Encourage Online Reviews: Prompt satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on popular review platforms such as Google, Yelp, or Trustpilot. Display these reviews on your website or social media profiles to build trust and encourage referrals.

Example: An online travel agency sends follow-up emails to customers after their trip, thanking them for choosing their services and encouraging them to share their travel experiences by leaving a review on platforms like TripAdvisor. Positive reviews attract new customers and generate referrals.

  • Engage on Social Media: Establish an active presence on social media platforms to engage with your audience and encourage them to share their experiences. Respond to comments, messages, and user-generated content to build relationships and foster a community of brand advocates.

Example: A coffee shop encourages customers to share photos of their coffee creations on social media using a branded hashtag. They engage with these posts, reposting and thanking customers for their support. This not only creates a sense of community but also encourages customers’ friends and followers to visit the coffee shop.

Cultivating Strategic Partnerships for Mutual Referral Benefits

  • Identify Complementary Businesses: Seek out businesses that complement your products or services without being direct competitors. Develop partnerships where you can refer customers to each other, creating a mutually beneficial referral network.

Example: A wedding planner establishes partnerships with local photographers and florists. When a couple hires the wedding planner, they receive recommendations for trusted photographers and florists who, in turn, refer their clients to the planner for coordination services.

  • Collaborative Marketing Campaigns: Collaborate with complementary businesses on joint marketing campaigns or initiatives. This could include co-hosting events, creating co-branded content, or offering exclusive cross-promotions to reach a wider audience and generate referrals.

Example: A fitness studio partners with a nutritionist to host a wellness workshop. The fitness studio promotes the event to its members, while the nutritionist shares it with their clients. This collaboration introduces both businesses to new audiences and encourages referrals between the two.

By implementing these strategies to increase the number of referrals, you can leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing, create exceptional customer experiences, implement referral programmes, harness the influence of social media and online reviews, and cultivate strategic partnerships. These efforts will help your business grow through the organic and powerful network of referrals, driving sustainable business success.

Sean Dempsey

With over a decade of experience, Sean is an amazing, data-driven inbound marketer who will manage the majority of the marketing funnel for your company. Sean attracts site traffic, converting that traffic into new leads for your business and nurturing those leads to close into customers. Contact Sean about Inbound Marketing.