Share the Love: 5 Tips to Boost Customer Referrals

The concept is simple: You have customers. Your customers have friends. Your customers’ friends probably “walk alike, talk alike.” In fact, they most likely like a lot of the same things — clothing, travel, social causes, Instagram posts, events etc.

You with me? It’s pretty simple. If your customers like your products, then their friends will too!

What do you think of when you hear “word of mouth marketing?” If you just said “social media” to yourself, you’re not alone, but it doesn’t start and end there.

Word of mouth is actually more powerful when it happens in the real world too.

In fact, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association found that two-thirds of all referred purchases come from real world recommendations, vs. one-third that are discovered online. Recommendations made by people are 10 times more powerful than impersonal ones. Need more convincing?

92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know.

So why isn’t everyone doing it — and doing it well?  The truth is that “referral marketing” isn’t easy … and it’s so much more than automated referral links and pre-populated spammy messages for your customers to annoy their friends with on their social pages.

graphic

But with a little planning, finding the right customers, and then giving them the tools to make referrals online AND <<drum roll please>> in the REAL WORLD … You will be able to turn your business into the next $1 Billion Brand.

Inspired by the book Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, here are 5 tips to get your customers talking:

  1. Talkers

Find your most authentic voices and actually talk to them. Understand why they love your product and how they talk about it to their friends.

I’m the talker in my friend circle. If I find something and it works, I tell everyone I know — and often who I don’t know — everything I know about it. All of my friends now subscribe to SunBasket, own a VitaMix, have been to Iceland, and wear Allbirds to work.

You don’t have to use discounts or product; things like early-bird access and newsletters often attract people like me who are authentically your most valuable customers and want to learn more or just support your brand. Using these “incentives” makes it easier to collect their contact information, which means you have a more personal way to engage them.

  1. Topics

Using real the feedback you get from real customers makes it easier to engage a larger audience more authentically. Create topics for your Talkers to organically talk about based on the topics they are interested in.

Niyama Sol ambassadors, for example, were asked: “Take a photo of yourself in your favorite place to do yoga on your personal Instagram.” Hundreds of real people shared their story to their friends and the brand saw lift quickly.

  1. Tools

Create an easy format for you and them.

Getting 10 customers to talk and spread the word about your brand to their friends is manageable; 100 customers a little harder; 1,000+ customers and it won’t scale unless you have the right tools in place.

One more time … MAKE IT EASY … You will thank me later.

Don’t complicate it for your customers. Add a sign-up link to your website and automate an invitation to join the ambassador program when a customer makes a purchase. Once they have joined, keep making it easy — give them access to your brand’s story, referral links, and topics to stimulate their storytelling about your brand.

Ensure that they are able to share their unique referral link or code and tell their story quickly on as many platforms as possible without any hassle. This includes social media channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and the like.

  1. Taking Part

Great. You have them talking the talk, now you need to show them that you can walk the walk … WITH them.

You want people to purchase your product without having to convince them. So the only way to do this is to make sure you are listening and engaging with your Talkers, and then rewarding them for authentically spreading the love about your product in the real world to their friends.

Make sure you make it easy for your Talkers to talk to you and encourage them to give you feedback. Big retailers like Sephora, Amazon and Nordstrom ask every customer to leave a review.

If they ask a question, you answer.

If they have a suggestion, you listen.

If they had a bad experience, you get a chance to fix it.

  1. Tracking

Understanding the data behind what is working and who is working the best for your brand is important.

You will find that some of the best Talkers don’t feel comfortable sharing a referral link online, but they will talk to anyone who listens in the real world. Or you may find that some of your customers are great content creators with high engagement, but they don’t see themselves as an “influence.”

Reward them & engage with them equally.

These are your “diamonds in the rough.” Love them and hold onto them dearly. They will intrinsically help you attract more people like them and are the best advertising investment you can make.