7 Marketing Strategies to Increase Referrals

A business that runs on referrals can thrive even if you promote it. This means that there are enough people who believe the brand that they are willing to push it to their family and friends. But this doesn’t happen overnight. There are things that you must do so that potential referrers will do this for you automatically. Here are seven strategies on how you can get more referrals to your business. 

Have a Referral Program


The most natural and obvious way to increase referrals is through a referral program. These programs are created so that you can give your prospects a reason to promote you. Instead of merely approaching your prospects and asking them to support you, you’ll ask them by offering them a reward. This reward will act as bait and will encourage them to take action.


Why This Works


Referral programs work because it utilizes the power of customers and brand advocates to promote the business unlike other forms of marketing which work through manual effort. Referral marketing can be a one-time promotion where your customers will do the promotion work for you. Since advertising is not manual, it is not dependent on your efforts. This means that you can get more referrals, even if you stop promoting your website. 


How to Do This


Creating a referral program is easy. You need referral marketing software to create one. This is better than coding a referral program from scratch. If you do that, you’ll find that it can be quite hard to develop a program or a database to support your plan. With software, you can easily set up a referral program with just a few clicks. The best part is that there is software for just about any platform. It doesn’t matter if you are running a Shopify or other eCommerce website. There’s a referral software that can work for you. 


Use Influencer Marketing


Another way to encourage referral is to use influencer marketing. This is a form of marketing that utilizes the power of influencers to generate traffic and sales. 


Why This Works


Influencers are people who have a considerable amount of followers. These followers are more than just content consumers. They also respond to the promotions of the influencer. Influencers are called as such because they can encourage action. And this is what makes the method so valuable to business owners. It may be more useful to promote your products and services to influencers instead of doing it manually through search engine optimization or social media marketing.


How to Do This


You can approach influencer marketing in different ways. The most obvious approach is to email the influencer about the value of your products and services. You have to form your pitch in your email. But you can also be creative. You can encourage an influencer to work with you by giving them free products and services. Once you do this, you can ask for a review. You can also collaborate on products and services. This is a great way to get influencers to promote you instantly. Another technique is to create an exclusive discount code. When you do this, the influencer will share it with his or her followers, and your brand will instantly get promoted. 


Create a Contest


Another creative way to get referrals is through a contest. This encourages your prospects to do more than take action. You can also help them to be competitive when it comes to getting referrals. 


Why This Works


Running a referral program may not be enough. If you create a referral program and expect people to sign up, you’ll often feel disappointed. It is essential to give them a reward that is on top of their referral incentive. You can do this by running a contest. You can give away pre-packaged or high ticket versions of your rewards and give them away as prizes.


How to Do This


You can only create a contest if you have the prize and the mechanics. The reward should be attractive to your target market. Think of a product that you give away that will seem appealing to your target market. Then multiply that by 2 or 4 so if you have a product subscription. You may want to give away a 2 to 4-month subscription instead of just one free month. This will make the contest more attractive to your target prospects. The next thing that you must define is the rules. In this section, you should look for activities that your candidates will need to do to qualify for the contest. It is essential to let them do something that will be valuable to your brand. For example, you can ask them to like or comment on your contest post and to share it with their friends. When they do this, they will be spreading the word about your brand while also promoting your referral program. This will help you hit two birds with one stone. You can get the word out of about the referral program while also getting more engagements to your social media pages. 


PRO TIP: Can’t think of a prize for your contest? You can collaborate with other brands on this. Some brands go to the extent of combining their products into packages with different brands, and they give this away as a prize. It works well in just about any niche. It works on digital products as well. 


Run an Affiliate Program


Word of Mouth Buzz Magnet Attract New Customers Magnet 3d Illustration


You can also get referrals through an affiliate program. Referrals don’t only pertain to the leads that you got from a referral program. A ‘referral’ is any person who visited your website as a result of a promotion from an external marketer. This marketer is willing to promote your brand or site not because he or she is paid, but because he or she can earn a reward. This reward can come in different forms. It can be a discount code or freebie (referral programs), or it can be a cash reward (affiliate programs). 


Why This Works


As mentioned, outsiders will only promote your brand or website if you give them an incentive. The incentive must attract them to take action and drive traffic and sales to your site. The great thing with affiliate programs is this reward is somewhat built inside the system. Every marketer who manages to generate sales for you will get a percentage of the profit. This means that every transaction will give them real money. This is more than enough of an incentive to get them to promote you.


How to Do This


You can do this by setting up an affiliate program. Ecommerce website owners are now seeing the value of having such programs on their website. What is impressive is that they can set it up in a matter of hours.  How can they launch an affiliate program so fast? The answer is software. Many referral software also allows you to create your affiliate program. It is all a matter of tweaking the reward.


PRO TIP: Don’t have time to create your affiliate program and don’t have the money to invest in software? No problem! There are affiliate networks that you can use to promote your products and services. These networks will assist you. You need to set up your product, and you are ready to go. From here, your prospects can buy from you using the affiliate network platform. They can then invite potential affiliates to promote your products for you. And they process payouts once an affiliate managed to refer a customer to your website successfully. 


Promote Your Program Offline


You should not limit yourself to promoting your product online. Offline modes of marketing are just as effective in generating referrals. In this section, you’ll learn how to do that.


Why This Works


There are some people that you can only reach offline. This market is not that active in the online space. It may be because they are busy or they prefer offline modes of marketing where they get to talk to the marketer. And that’s okay. It works because the negotiations are done face-to-face. This is more effective in getting sales because you can get prospects to sign up right away. If you use it to promote your referral program, it will be easy. Since the candidate has nothing to lose when he signs up, he will most likely do it if you convince them well. 


How to Do This


There are different ways you can do this. While the most obvious is the direct approach where you talk to the prospect directly, this may not be as effective if you want to invite influencers to promote you. For this, you may have to resort to more creative means. Some brands can convince influencers to join their referral program through events. This can be a small event such as a meetup, or it can be a grand event like a conference. When you do this, you get to introduce your brand to all the attendees as well. Because of this, this method will not only help you get more referrals. It can also help you improve your brand recognition. 


Work with Other Businesses


A less obvious way to promote your business is to work with other companies. This is where you qualify a business to have a complementary product or service, and you promote their business in exchange for them, promoting yours. It is a form of cross-promotion that works well, even in generating referrals.


Why This Works


Ultimately, marketing is about getting the word about your business to as many people as possible. It is all about gaining as much traction as you can by letting other people promote your brand for you. But it is not just your customers or influencers who can help you. Other business owners can help you, as well. So it is crucial to work with them as well. The worst they can say is ‘No.’ And even if they say that you still have nothing to lose. 


How to Do This


It is essential to be creative in your approach, as well. There are many ways to collaborate with other businesses when it comes to generating referrals for your business. The most basic is cross-promotion, where you place a link to the other company on your website, and they put a link of your website in theirs. Aside from this, you can also host events such as giveaways, contests, and offline activities with them. This will give them more reasons to promote you. 


Be Remarkable


You can only get new customers to your business if they believe you enough to buy from you. While marketing may seem simple, it is based on a lot of factors. It is not just the words that matter. You also need to know what makes your business stand out from the competition. You need to become remarkable for your prospects to remember you and think about you when they are on the verge of buying. 


Why This Works


Have you wondered why people remember some brands and forget others? The secret is in their remarkability. If a product, service, or advertisement is not remarkable, it will be quickly forgotten. So it is vital to set up a system that will get your audience talking about your brand.


How to Do This


There is no one way to become remarkable. You need to have a unique product or service that can easily be remembered, or you need to provide customer service that is just beyond the target market’s expectations. Some brands even go to the extent of crafting stories with their ads. This helps them to stand out from the crowd and be remembered. 


Increasing referrals require some creativity and patience. You’ll need to be creative in your approach so that you will stand out from your competition, and you need to be patient for the results are often not instant. If you have these two, you can quickly implement these seven strategies for the success of your business. 


Author bio:

Arlen Robinson is the co-founder and VP of Business Development at OSI Affiliate Software.

He is also the host of The Ecommerce Marketing Podcast where he discusses marketing strategies with experts from all over the world.”


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