One of the milestones for success with customers is when the service we are providing turns them into advocates for our businesses. Having happy customers can work wonders in terms of acquiring new business. Word of mouth referrals account for 20-50% (Mckinsey Business Stats) of purchasing decisions, so why not try and take advantage, particularly in new businesses and markets.
However, we are wrong to assume that our customers will refer us to their connections on the basis of exceptional service alone. While some customers may refer out of the goodness of their hearts to a point, eventually we have to give them a reason to. In order to create and implement this program successfully, there must be a plan in place.
If we want to keep our current customers happy, grow our businesses, and reach our goals for revenue, implementing a customer referral program is crucial. It shows that we are proud of what we offer and that we are aware customers need a friendly nudge to go out of their way for us.
1. Make Goals
First, we have to decide what we hope to accomplish from this referral program. Are we trying to gain more customers and revenue? Are we focused on retaining our existing customers as well? Are we trying to gain more credibility in the industry? Once these goals are set up specifically, there are a couple things we should do next:
- Look at how referrals have been dealt with so we know where we are at
- Wingmate is offering a free trial of our affiliate pipeline!
2. Write a list of referral sources
Write a list of all possible contacts, present and past. These can be both present and past customers, leads that did not convert, etc. This will give a solid starting point.
3. Plan of attack for contacting them
Narrow down the list of contacts to closer contacts – people that are already aware of the value you provide and who would help you out without an incentive. We need to make sure we ask these people to help at appropriate times and are patient with them. We also need to be selective about who we let participate; even within the inner circle, we want to make sure the people marketing our product are going to do it justice! Also, we have to consider people we have relationships with, maybe even someone who sent us a successful referral before.
4. Identify prizes/compensation
We have to identify how we are going to reward people for successful referrals. Maybe we want to put people into different tiers for rewards. However, it is absolutely crucial that the person who makes the referral be rewarded in some way.
5. Material to inform customers
Once the program is set up, we need to create resources that work and inform our customers. After that, we need to promote it. Some ways to do that could be through newsletters, blog posts, and product updates. Some other things to set up would be emails specific to different types of contacts explaining the program, an explanation of the types of customers we are looking for, a landing page, tips on how to talk about our product, and some information like testimonials, case studies, videos, or any other material that would help.
It is absolutely crucial to track these referrals, so nothing falls through the cracks. Things that would need to be tracked include the referrer and the referral, when the referral took place, whether or not it was converted, and tasks, reminders, and follow-up plans. Now would be a great time to look at a CRM solution if you don’t already have one. At Wingmate, we have made a very simple CRM and, for a limited time, are offering a free trial of it!
7. Thank them
Thank the referrer and thank the person who signed up!
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