As a small business, consumers are the backbone of your enterprise, it is therefore essential that your consumer group grows for your business to move forward and flourish. While there are a great number of methods you could pursue to increase your consumer base, a referral system in which happy customers act as the best brand ambassadors for your business is one that has proved to be effective. This is often referred to as Referral Marketing, which can occur organically through word of mouth or it can be a strategy levied by your business in a methodical way. Here are guidelines to keep in mind while implementing a customer referral program:
1. Timing is Key:
Asking for a referral from a customer can sometimes come off as too pushy or may put your customer off if the overture seems too promotional. It is necessary to develop a long term relationship with a consumer before approaching them for a referral. Also, after the first request, ensure that you do not send too many reminders of follow ups to your consumer, allow them to take their own time to pass on word of your business.
2. Make it Beneficial to your Consumer:
Make sure to incentivize your referral program, so both the consumer making the referral and the new consumer are rewarded for directing their business your way. This is also a great was to ensure that your new consumers first experience with your business is a good one, one that keeps him/her coming back for more.
3. Create Rewards that Matter:
A consumer that you choose to approach in your referral program will already be one that patronizes your business on a regular basis, when you enlist them in a referral program ensure that you offer them a substantial reward. This could take the form of a coupon, a discount or even system in which they join an “exclusive” club of elite customers.
4. Track the referrals:
Track your referrals and ensure that they translate into actual sales, create a program where your customers are further rewarded for assisting in a final sale. Also, once this sale is made, ensure that you continue to engage your new customers as they could develop into potential participants referring more customers and helping your business grow. Another essential reason tracking is of paramount importance is that you can learn what works best for your business and modify your referral program to include the value propositions that work and remove those that get your business less traction.
5. Allocate resources for Communication and Promotions :
Make your referral program effective by ensuring all your communication and promotional material clearly mentions the rewards and boons that accompany your referral program.
6. Focus on one sector of your business: Your Business has a range of products and services that is offered. Some do better than other in terms of sales as well as growth. Target areas that are doing less successfully but have potential for growth. It is possible that your consumers are focused on only a certain product you offer. Take the time to educate your consumer on all your services, thereby multiplying transactions from one consumer into many. As with any customer service program, making sure your customer is treated like a king and feels valued is key to the success of the program. Make an effort with your referral program that both new and old consumers cannot help but spread the word on how excellent your products and services are.