Marketing solutions for little orgs with big dreams.
Referral Marketing

Securing More Referrals for Your Small Business

With the internet came proliferation of choice like never before. With so much choice in the market, small business owners need effective marketing strategies to reach and retain clients. Referrals are one of the most effective marketing strategies for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. This is because most people typically trust recommendations from people they know.

When a client is satisfied by your services, they typically feel inclined to tell their family and friends about it. One referral can lead to a chain reaction of additional referrals and the ultimate growth of your business.

Why your business needs referrals

References have become an important currency for small businesses for the benefits they offer which include:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Unlike costly marketing campaigns, requesting referrals cost little to no money and time
  • Client retention: Clients who refer to your business are mostly loyal and enthusiastic.
  • Improved conversion: New clients from referrals already trust those who referred them and are likely to advance through the sales process faster.
  • Referral chain reaction: As more satisfied clients refer your business to their family and friends, the chain grows improving the chance of receiving more clients.
  • Expanded client base: As more potential clients are referred to your business by people they trust, your client base grows.
How to Get More Referrals for your Business

As highlighted above, the instant credibility that your business gets from having your clients as your advocates has many benefits. Business owners should be using this marketing strategy extensively. Unfortunately, referral marketing is harder than it looks.

Most clients only provide low-grade referrals. For a high-quality referral, you need a client to provide more than just your business name and email address. Your client should actively talk about your service and bring the prospect to the door. Here are strategies to secure more and better referrals for your business:

Ask for referrals

Referrals are not automatic. While some clients may take initiative to refer your business after a terrific experience, you should not assume that a good job will generate referrals by default. Ask for referrals and you will receive. While you may get some pushback from some clients, most of them will be open to telling their family, friends, and associates about something they have discovered.

Offer Incentives

With referrals, your clients market your business without getting any direct benefit. Nobody likes to work for free. Your clients need to get something from the arrangement to keep them engaged and committed. In addition to expressing your appreciation via email, phone call, or handwritten note, you need to offer a tangible incentive.

The incentive will depend on your business. It could be service credits, discounts, upgrades, or a freebie to entice clients to give quality referrals. Test different referral incentives to find one that works best.

Network with existing customers and other businesses

Once you’ve acquired a new customer, you should not assume that they will remain loyal. You need to nurture the relationship by keeping them engaged. Stay in touch after the sale to build a long-term connection. Continue to provide value through check-ins, informative content, and additional offerings.

Effective business networking is not about asking for favors. It involves creating trusting friendships and relationships. Part of building a strong business network is partnering with other businesses for cross-promotion. You should help other businesses by referring them to your customers, providing testimonials, or promoting their business in other ways. Keep these relationships alive by reaching out a few times a year.

Create a form for referrals

You need to be cognizant of how busy your clients are. You cannot simply ask for referrals and hope that they will follow through. A more proactive approach to ensure that you get referrals is providing a fillable template to eliminate some of the heavy lifting.

Final thoughts

An effective referral program can take your business to the next level. Use newsletters, blog posts, customer mailings, emails, or any other communication means you have available to market your referral program to your customers.

This blog was contributed to JTE Communications by Linda Chase, Need help creating a referral program for your organization? Schedule a free consultation now.

Social Media Marketing Sponsorship

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

orporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not just a marketing tool – it is our opportunity as business owners to contribute to the well-being of of the world around us. If you have not yet considered how you can use your small business to give back, what are you even doing?

There are several schools of thought on what CSR is and how it can (or should) be implemented, so it is not surprising that CSR may look differently for you than it does for others. I would implore you to think strategically when it comes to your own CSR and consider how you can align your do-gooder efforts with your brand marketing.

I was recently inspired by the efforts of Fortina Solutions, a senior living information and referral service provider.  Founder and owner Allyson Nathan must be an animal-lover, as she found a way to support animals while promoting her brand in a way that makes sense. The company contributes to Santa Fe Animal Shelter to spotlight a senior pet each month, and the shelter includes information on the company in its related social media posts.

I can’t lie – I went ahead and copied them. JTE Communications now sponsors a Critter each month in a similar sponsorship/marketing deal! Critters are the non-cat-or-dog residents of the shelter, such as house rabbits, guinea pigs and the occasional snake, bird and other small animal.

Meet Chewy, the spotlight Critter of September – a five-year-old guinea pig with a heart of gold and a love for all things veggie:

I volunteer at Santa Fe Animal Shelter every week, often working with the critters. You might even say that I love small animals as much as I love small businesses and nonprofits! Making sure I keep time open in my work schedule to volunteer is one of the ways I promote CSR, and sponsorship to promote the adoption of small animals is another.

Will this drive new business to my agency?  I sure hope so!  I know that the shelter’s social media pages have followers of all ages from Santa Fe and beyond who happen to love animals and rescue just like I do, and some of them are also business owners who may have marketing needs.

Just last week during a consultation when I asked a client how she heard about JTE Communications she said she was Googling marketing agencies in the area and saw that I had posted photos with a dog and wanted to know more. Sharing your interests with your community is an often overlooked way to connect with target audiences.

Not sure where to start on your CSR journey?  Ask yourself what are you passionate about, and what community activities are you already engaged in?  Connect with the organizations doing work that you find meaningful and see how you can get involved. Schedule a meeting with their director or development manager and see what kind of partnership you can create together. I should know – you don’t need a huge budget to find a partnership that can work for you as well as the organization you support.

Want help figuring out how to best allocate your marketing budget to support your community?  Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me now and lets brainstorm together.

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