|Jen Jordan brings a wealth of life and leadership experiences to her writing. After 10 years creating a variety of content for a nonprofit, Jen decided to establish her own writing business. She specializes in creating high quality blog and website content for small businesses. When she's not writing, Jen is a competitive triathlete with a goal of completing a triathlon in all 50 states.|
4 Simple Steps to Boosting Referrals for Your Small Business
Most small business owners agree that word-of-mouth referrals are among the most effective ways of acquiring new local customers. More than 60% of marketing experts say that referral programs generate high-quality leads.
Everyone wants to get more referrals, but sometimes it is impossible to know precisely how to get them. Here are four practical steps you can take to harness the enthusiasm of your current customers and make your business more "referrable."
1. Create a memorable experience for your customers.
Ensuring your customers have a positive experience every time they interact with your business can go a long way toward garnering more referrals. Every small business owner prioritizes treating their customers well, but what can you do to make their experiences memorable and prompt them to talk about your business with others?
One local handyman sends a handwritten thank-you note along with two coupons—one for the customer and one for them to give away.
The key is to give your customers a truly positive experience and help people remember you, so they immediately think of you when someone mentions needing a product or service you offer.
2. Identify influential customers and strategic partner businesses.
Identify your most influential customers. They might not be your best customers, but they are individuals whose voices and opinions matter in the community. Seeking referrals from these people can open the doors to many new customers.
Another way to build a strong referral network is to identify strategic partner businesses with which you can swap referrals. Strategic partners offer complementary services to your own. For example, a local cleaning company might be a great strategic partner for a local real estate agent. Or a lawn care company could be a great strategic partner with a local handyman.
3. Create an incentive program.
Incentives alone are poor motivators for referrals. It’s more effective in the long run to focus on making your business more trustworthy and likable. But incentives can be a helpful tool to add to your overall efforts to get more referrals.
It can be helpful to test a variety of incentives to find what resonates with your customers and prompts them to refer you more frequently.
4. Make it easy for people to refer your small business.
Create tools, resources, and follow-up systems that make referring your small business easy and practical. Studies show that more than 80% of satisfied customers are willing to offer referrals, but only about 25% do so.
Many small businesses send follow-up messages after a customer makes a purchase, asking for a review and offering simple steps for telling someone about your business. Or you can include an invitation for them to mention your business on social media. Making it as easy as possible to refer your business will likely lead to more referrals from your already-satisfied customers.
None of these strategies are radical or require a great deal of time and resources. Often the simplest strategies are the most effective, especially when it comes to garnering more referrals for your small business.