Business owners know full well that finding the most qualified leads takes time…lots of time! So, what if there was a way to skip the time it takes to develop “cold leads”? Now close your eyes and imagine building a referral network. Plus, it won’t cost you a penny! Does it sound too good to be true? This can be done by adapting the reference network. A referral network is a group of people who already know and trust you, understand your business concept, and want to recommend people who are interested in buying your product or service. It’s an extremely effective way to create a steady stream of very warm leads. Here are 4 tips for creating a powerful referral marketing strategy.
Referral Marketing Tip 1:
Build a strategic sales team
Do you know any companies with which you share common customers? You should run, not walk, to find out who they are and how you can team up and benefit from each other. The key to this is to learn as much as you can about each company so you can promote their products or services just like you would. This new strategic sales team will allow your business to grow faster because they will work on your behalf. It makes so much sense to work smarter, not harder!
Referral marketing simply brings together complementary businesses that serve the same target customers but are not considered direct competitors. For example, if you are a…
- Business consultant, you can partner with accountant, lawyer, graphic designer and banker
- Business Writer, you can partner with web designer, PR firm and ad agency
- Realtor, you can partner with mortgage lender, appraiser, title service and home builders
- Maid Service, you can partner with landscaping service, carpet cleaning service and handyman service
- Catering, you could partner with a florist, wedding planners and an event facility manager
Referral Marketing Tip 2:
Develop a marketing campaign As you and your new “strategic sales team” develop a strategy, think of simple and inexpensive ways that you can all benefit from each other. Here are 3 easy-to-implement marketing ideas:
- Letter of Approval: Send letters of introduction to each of your contacts. Imagine if each of you had 500 contacts? In a 3-way partnership, you have been exposed to 1000 potential customers!
- E-newsletter: The use of e-newsletters has quickly become an indispensable component of the advertising campaigns of many companies, large and small! If each of you published a monthly e-newsletter (12 times a year) including a partner’s page, imagine in one click on a link, the potential traffic to your website? It’s a simple, inexpensive, and profitable way to get introduced to warm leads! Consider increasing your chances by creating a landing page that includes a “free offer” or “discount” on specific services.
- Media: Do you use social media to promote your business? Hope the answer is yes! If so, create a marketing strategy using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to mutually benefit each partner. It’s a great way to share weekly or monthly news. For example, I have over 3100 Twitter followers, 1000 Facebook fans and 400 members in my LinkedIn group. That’s 4,500 potential customers from which each of my strategic partners can benefit.
Referral Marketing Tip 3:
Go ‘demand’ with existing customers Providing quality customer service is vital and should be an important part of your business model. Right? If you’ve spent time building relationships, building communication, building trust, and resolving potential issues or conflicts, your customers will see little risk in recommending your business to their peers.
Just as people do business with people they know and trust, they also feel more comfortable when a product or service is recommended by someone they know and trust. have confidence. A prospect who was referred to you has already been informed of the quality and professionalism you offer your clients.
For clients who regularly refer leads, consider creating a referral program; offering them a $50 referral fee, a 20% commission on each prospect’s initial sales, or a special gift.
Referral Marketing Tip 4:
Build a blogging network As you regularly post relevant content, you build a loyal group of subscribers. Be patient because it takes time. As your followers get to know you, they’ll feel comfortable passing on leads and referring you to potential customers. In addition:
- Invite guest bloggers to contribute new content and reciprocate.
- Interview subject matter experts. For example, I publish a monthly series of written interviews; ‘Successful Women Speak’ featuring established female authors and business owners. My subscribers receive informative and thought-provoking content and respondents link my blog post to theirs, driving new traffic to my blog.
I recently listened to the Tom Joyner Morning Show where blogger Necole Bitchy was interviewed. A few years ago, she was unemployed and started a blog out of necessity. Today, NecoleBitchie.com is considered one of the fastest growing celebrity urban blogging sites on the internet, with over 3 million monthly visits. So be persistent and consistent in your efforts.
In conclusion, there is tremendous power in creating a strong referral network. It’s not about getting sales, it’s about building strong relationships with people.