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5 Steps to Building Your First Online Sales Funnel

5 Steps to Building Your First Online Sales Funnel

As an entrepreneur, you understand marketing’s importance: Without marketing, your business would eventually fail due to the absence of new customers. Therefore, if you haven’t already put time and effort into this mission, now is the time to start; and one easy way to start is the utilization of a sales funnel.

What is a sales funnel?

This strategy is so named due to the fact that in diagram form, this particular marketing strategy looks just like its name.

The top category is the biggest one and represents the largest number of people — potential customers. The bottom category represents the smallest number — committed customers — which is why it’s smaller.

Now, here are the five steps to follow to construct your own simple online sales funnel.

1. Create a great landing page.

Your website’s landing page is the first impression potential customers will instantly have of your business. Therefore, take time to make sure that it looks great. A good landing page will also encourage visitors to sign up for some sort of list, or subscribe to the website. This gives you that all-important contact information, which becomes your first line of communication.

2. Present a front-end offer.

The next step is to present potential customers with the opportunity to buy a product or procure your service. “When constructing your main front-end products and associated upsell offers, you should be engineering them with the additional mindset of . . . how will this help create more desire for the next [backend] offer [you’re] going to present them with,” explains Todd Brown of

In other words, at this step you should be “pre-selling” on the next step in the funnel.

3. Give an upsell offer on the back end.

Offer your customers who just bought or are about to buy a product or service the opportunity to upsize, or upgrade, that service. For example, create an offer that will deliver even more benefit to the customer if he or she upgrades. This strategy is called an upsell.

Consider this the steak dinner to the regular offer’s appetizer. You are offering your customers more substance if they choose to upgrade. Of course, that also means you make more money because an upsell typically involves a larger or more expensive item or service.

4. Offer a downsize option.

In the same way that you encouraged customers to upgrade services in the upsell step, this element of the funnel calls for you to offer a downgrade option to certain customers.

No, a downsize option doesn’t represent a failure and should not be looked upon as the loss of a sale. Instead, consider this a way to keep a customer unable to buy from you due to budget constraints. Keep in mind that those constraints may change. Be considerate and offer cheaper options for these individuals to keep them as potential customers.

5. Keep it going.

The last step in the sales funnel is to keep your momentum going. Follow up with all the new customers you have acquired and ensure they are happy with their product or service. A great way to accomplish this is to offer a membership-based rewards program. This will allow you to remain in contact with customers, giving you the perfect means for telling them about new deals and services.

The steps listed here are geared to a business with an online presence. Of course, this might not describe your particular business. However, every business can benefit from the sales funnel model.

Just remember: Your potential customers category, which represents the greatest amount of people, goes on top of the funnel; and the smallest category, established customers, goes on the bottom. The categories in between may be altered to meet your specific business’s needs and sales goals.


How to Build a Referral Program into Your Online Business

How to Build a Referral Program into Your Online Business

You know the power of word-of-mouth advertising. In fact, you swear by it. But what marketers usually miss is that word-of-mouth advertising isn’t something that always has to happen completely organically. With a little strategy, you can encourage customers to spread the word.

Online businesses that create referral programs can track their brand advocates, incentivize happy customers to promote their product, and increase both customer acquisition and retention.

But how do you take an idea like “word of mouth” and turn it into a successful, manageable program that includes dashboards, analytics, and real-time results? In this post, we’ll explore how and why you should build a referral program into your online business.

The Benefits of a Formal Referral Program

What’s so great about referrals? Why not focus on leads? Leads, after all, are the lifeblood of any business that needs to make direct sales.

For starters, referrals and word-of-mouth are the most trusted form of advertising, according to a Nielsen study, and the second most trusted form doesn’t come close.

Second, referral programs still help with lead generation: you’re rewarding people for doing the work of finding leads for you. A referral program is a way to generate leads—and not just any leads, but highly-qualified, niche-specific leads that are more likely to result in sales.

That’s not just speculation. When researchers at the Harvard Business Review looked at some 10,000 accounts at a German bank over the course of three years, they saw that “customers obtained through referrals are both more loyal and valuable than other customers.”

The research controlled for such factors as age and sex and found that referred customers were some 18% more likely to stay with the bank, earning 16% more in profits thanks to the referral program.

What are we left to conclude about the benefits of a formal referral program?

  • The leads you acquire will trust you more.
  • The leads you acquire are more likely to buy from you.
  • The leads you acquire are more likely to remain loyal customers.

The bank earned some 60% profit from their initial referral investment. If you knew of a way to get trusting, loyal customers that generate 60% profit on your marketing dollar, you’d at least consider it, wouldn’t you?

How to Integrate a Referral Program into Your Business

A referral program is a great way to find qualified leads in your specific niche. But how do you go about integrating a referral program into a highly sophisticated sales funnel?

Decide on Your Offer

In the world of referral programs, there is no getting without giving. You first have to come up with an offer that works for your brand.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. What are they looking for? What kind of incentive will actually get them moving on the possibility of showing off your product to a friend or confidant? Some businesses create contests, while others simply announce that if customers refer a friend, they get a flat payment.

When it comes to the retail industry, most customers want deals. Stitch Fix, a subscription-based clothing service, capitalized on this desire by implementing a referral program that would give customers $25 in store credit.

Implement a System that Puts the Customer in Charge

If there’s anything you’ve learned in building a business already, it’s this: never make things difficult on the customer. That’s as true for purchases as it should be for referrals. Your goal is to make the process of referring new customers and earning their rewards as easy as possible.

You’ll find some tools for implementing ease-of-use later on in this post, but for now, focus on a few key items:

Social sharing. This is the digital age, so you want to make sure your program is shareable. If you’ve created a substantial incentive to customers, you’ll give them reason to spread the word. Make sure that your referral tool makes it easy for them to share. Stitch Fix makes it easy for customers to refer their friends by including a social sharing widget right in the dashboard.

Most Innovative Ideas for Employee referral bonus programs.

Most Innovative Ideas for Employee referral bonus programs.

Employee referral bonus programs are considered suitable, and the result is bearing practices in companies instead of traditional methods. Recruitment is a significant churn around the process for companies. The on-going cycle demands a vast database that needs to be screened & scheduled for recruitment. 


The Employee recruitment sources as the default ones being

✅ Advertising through Print media.
✅ Advertising through online job portals.
✅ Showcasing job posting on the company website.
✅ Arranging job fairs.
✅ Campus placements.
✅ Recruitment agencies.


All the above activities demand investments to attract the right talent. However, there is no guarantee that high sources will attract the right talent and retain. 


What is an Employee Referral Bonus Program?


An employee referral program is introduced by companies to get new hires by referral recommendations from in-house employees. There is a bonus linked to the referral program to encourage employees to refer to a skilled workforce.


Advantage of the Employee Referral Bonus Programs.


Better recommendations

A skilled employee has his/her circle of similarly skilled employees and can recommend from his ex-colleagues, friends, or friends in similar or competitor organizations, and this has higher chances of bringing the right talent and immediate closures.


 Increased retention of referring an employee

The referring employee not only remains motivated by attracting the employee referral bonus but feels obliged to stick around and support the employee referred by him and joined.


 Reduced recruitment cost

The companies can announce highly attractive bonus vis-à-vis paying considerable fees to recruitment agencies. The referral process any day brings down the recruitment cost considerably.


 Seek candidates who are not looking for jobs

The referral process helps to reach those people in the job market who are just dormant and not hunters. Some candidates are all over the place and might not turn to be a long-term employee to the organization. Attracting need-based employee should not be the motive, but will-based employees.


 Talent across geographies

If your company is spreading across geographies, employee referral is the best way to attract local candidates in the respective locations.

Making Employee Referral Program Ideas Work

Making Employee Referral Program Ideas Work

First of all, if you already have an employee referral program but it isn’t working as expected or you want to super boost your referral rates, you have come to the right place. In case you don’t have a referral program and unsure about it, drop everything and read about why you need to have one. While you are at it, here are some employee referral program ideas that worked like a charm.

It’s probably easier to spot a Himalayan snow leopard than a great employee referral program (well, you can obviously use Recruiterflow to manage this). Most recruiting teams think that once you have a reward policy in place, the referrals will start pouring in and their jobs will get easier. Well, no, it doesn’t work that way. You need to understand the motives behind the program and act accordingly. Most research suggests that monetary rewards have a very small impact on referrals. Here’s what you should rather be thinking about.


You need to identify motivations behind referrals. A great workplace environment and employee engagement will lead to more referrals. Most employees refer their friends because of two major reasons.

  1. They want to help out a friend and work with them
  2. They want to help out the company

Understanding that these motivations are there will help you create a better strategy. Think more about recognition and encouragement rather than monetary rewards for your employees. The second most important reason why employees refer a candidate is to help the company and you need to recognize them for it to kick in the positive feedback loop.


Here are a few companies that had the most genius ideas of employee referral programs.

Examples of Referral Card Ideas and Quotes That Work

Examples of Referral Card Ideas and Quotes That Work

Why not use your business card as a referral card, too? Here are some samples of great referral card ideas to help you promote your referral program.

10 Creative Tips for a Killer Employee Referral Program

10 Creative Tips for a Killer Employee Referral Program

When it comes to hiring methods, we’re big fans of a good employee referral program. They get great results, have an excellent return on investment, decrease cost per hire and bring a multitude of benefits for everyone involved in the hiring process.

You might be thinking of starting an employee referral program of your own, but might be unsure where to start. To help you out, we’ve gathered our favorite employee referral program ideas for some inspiration.

How does a regular employee referral program work?

Traditionally, most employee referral programs follow a pattern that goes like this:

  1. A new position opens up
  2. Employees refer someone they know who would be a great fit for the position
  3. A company hires the referred candidate
  4.  The employee who made the referral gets a reward

The good news is, you don’t have to go by this pattern and you can structure your employee referral program in any way you want.

Employee referral program ideas

If you’ve been thinking about creating your own employee referral program but simply don’t know how to get started, we’ve prepared a few ideas to get you going in the right way.

1. Spread the program beyond your employees

Your employees aren’t the only ones who want to recommend great candidates for a position. If you see an ad for a position where your friend would be a great fit, you’re going to recommend them – so why not get a reward for it? In fact, research shows that 41% of referred candidates come from trusted external sources, and not the companies that hire them.

In many cases, people who don’t work for a certain company can refer great candidates. Given the larger number of referrers, you’ll also get more high-quality candidates, which is a major benefit to opening your employee referral program to anyone.

As for the downside – the larger number of candidates means more time spent on screening. To quickly narrow down a large applicant list, you can use a pre-employment assessment tool to separate the wheat from the chaff.

For successful hires, you can award referrers who don’t work with your company with cash or a product/service you are selling.

2. Get a good tagline

If you work in marketing, you probably know the value of great copy. Just a few different words can make a world of difference in motivating someone to do something – such as your employees to refer someone new for your team.

byo workmates employee referral program

For an example of some great employee referral program taglines, take a look at this great blog. However, it’s best to come up with your own.

Once you’ve chosen one that works, you can use it to motivate your employees to participate. This can be done through posters, email newsletters and reminders, printed cards, Slack channel updates and any other occasion to motivate your employees to participate. You can take a cue from one of the many initiatives of InMobi, a company with an inventive employee referral program.

3. Create a few tiers

Just having an employee referral program is great, but why not take it a step further and make it fun for everyone involved? Create a few tiers for your employees so that they can be rewarded for the number of new hires they referred. For example:

1 referred hire – Newbie

3 referred hires – Beginner

6 referred hires – Senior

10 referred hires – Mastermind

Depending on the number of hires, you can come up with rewards such as financial incentives, days off, badges, T-shirts, mugs and other company swag, hand-written thank-you notes – anything goes.

4. Experience trumps money

While cash incentives for successful hires are the most common rewards in employee referral programs, they’re not the only type of reward you can use. Employees think of cash as just another bump on their paycheck and a cash reward won’t make that much of a difference in their lives.

In the famous study from Wichita State University, participants were asked which they would rather prefer, a cash prize or a tangible gift (TV or a cruise), with most participants choosing cash as the most rational choice. However, when asked which would make them happy or satisfied, emotion came into play and the majority of participants chose a TV or a cruise instead of a cash prize. The reasoning is that the prize is seen as an unexpected gift which they usually wouldn’t go and buy themselves.

In the end, once the cash lands on their account, it’s just another lump sum to pay for an expense such as a utility bill. On the other hand, by offering experiences instead of monetary rewards, you’ll help employees associate the act of referring someone to a great memory instead of having money to spend on something they can buy themselves.

You can give your employees experiential gifts as a reward they’ll never forget. Examples of these gifts include wine tasting, cooking lessons, skydiving, kayaking, picnics – the sky is the limit (quite literally).

In fact, trips may be the best non-monetary reward. In a study from Clemson University, participants rated trips as their most preferred incentive (with a score of 6.4 out 7), followed by cash (6.0) and merchandise (5.41).

5. If you do give money, don’t give it all at once

We won’t give you the money is the root of all evil talk – money pays for stuff and it’s a great incentive. However, the problem with cash is that most employee referral programs reward the referrer only after the new employee is hired.

A better alternative is to give smaller sums (or portions of a non-monetary reward) along the hiring process for new hires. There are two benefits: first, it facilitates a continuous referral process for the employees so they don’t stop referring new candidates. Second, if the person they referred doesn’t get hired, but makes it to the interview stage, for example, they still get some kind of reward.

6. Fund a cause of the employees’ choice

You don’t have to directly reward the employees who refer someone in order to make an impact. For example, for every successful referred hire, you can donate money to a certain cause that the employee chooses. This can be a charity, or a project of their choice, such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter.


A great example of a reward such as this comes from Toggl Plan. They were recently hiring for a Growth Hacker in their company and used Toggl Hire to test applicants for the position. For each applicant that passed the test, Toggl Plan pledged to plant a tree, turning a standard hiring campaign into an environmentally friendly one.

7. Tailor the reward according to the employees’ needs

Not everyone will want a kayaking trip (who wouldn’t want one, really?), so the best way to encourage your employees to refer a great hire is by giving them exactly what they want. Do you know someone who would really want a Fender Telecaster but they just can’t justify buying it? There’s an easy idea for an employee referral program gift.

While this is the most attractive option for the employees, it’s the hardest one to get right. The most difficult part is communicating the reward before the referral happens.

8. Sponsor a lunch for the new hire and the referrer

What better welcome for the new hire into your company than a meal with the person who referred them? You can sponsor the meal and use it as a unique opportunity for the referrer to introduce the new hire with the company culture and atmosphere.

9. Give a small gift even if the referred person doesn’t get hired

In order to encourage participation among employees, you can give them small gifts even if the person they referred doesn’t the job. This can be anything from a T-shirt, mug, tickets for an event or anything that comes to mind that doesn’t hurt your budget too much – as there can be a large number of referrals.

10. Give days off as a reward

If there’s one thing that your employees will appreciate besides money and gifts, it’s time off. According to research, 93% of people feel that days off increase their productivity. Moreover, 64% of people say that they are refreshed and excited to get back to their jobs after a vacation. As you can see, vacations benefit both the company and its employees, so this makes for a great reward for an employee referral program. However, research has shown that only 15% of companies use days off as a reward for new hires.

As an alternative, you can give the referrer a day or more to work remotely instead of being at the office. As multiple studies have shown, remote workers are actually more productive than those who work in-house, and your employees will appreciate not having to drive to work… Or put on a pair of pants before clocking in. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.


Employee referral programs may sound like a lot of work, but you can adapt them to a model that works for your company. There is no one way that works best for all companies, but the important thing is to give it a try and see for yourself why these programs are one of the most efficient and fun ways to hire great people.

Catchy Referral Slogans To Promote Your Referral Program

Catchy Referral Slogans To Promote Your Referral Program

More than a few people come to our blog looking for referral slogans.

What are referral slogans?

Referral slogans catchphrases that you can use when encouraging your customers to refer their friends to you.

You can use these in your referral emails, on your website, in your marketing emails, and pretty much in any scenario where you’d want to ask your customers for a referral.

(NOTE: If you’re looking to set up a referral program for your store, try ReferralCandy. It’s free for the first 30 days.)

Here are some popular variations of referral slogans we’ve seen over time:

  1. Get [benefit] by inviting your friends to [brand]! (Dropbox)
  2. Invite your friends  (Airbnb)
  3. Invite friends to [brand]!
  4. Invite friends, get [benefit] (Amuze)
  5. Invite a friend and you each get [benefit]
  6. Give X, Get Y (UberTrue&Co)
  7. One more benefit of friendship (Amazon Prime)
  8. Introduce Us: Tell your friends about [brand] and we’ll give them [benefit]! Plus, we’ll give you [benefit]!
  9. Refer a friend and both get [benefit]
  10. Tell your friends about [brand] and you both get [benefit]!
  11. Tell your friends about us and get [benefit].
  12. Refer a friend and earn [benefit] over and over, paid via PayPal!
  13. It pays to have friends!
  14. Help us get the word out
  15. We’re looking for other customers like you
  16. Our way of saying Thank You
  17. Get rewarded for referring your friends

You may want to change up your referral slogan every so often so that your customers don’t get too used to it.

For more inspiration, check out the social sharing messages that actual advocates use on Twitter!

What’s the word on referral marketing? How to create a referral marketing strategy

What’s the word on referral marketing? How to create a referral marketing strategy

We’re living in a world where advocacy is everything.

Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?/

  • Companies with a referral program close deals faster than those without.
  • The lifetime value of a new referral customer is 16% higher than a non-referral client.
  • 92% of respondents trust recommendations from people they know.

It’s no wonder that every organisation — from sensational startups to worldwide enterprises wants to know how they can snag more customer referrals. The only problem is, asking for referrals can be complicated. After all, you don’t want to come across as annoying, or desperate.

The good news is that your customers are happy to advocate on your behalf. According to one study, 83% of satisfied customers say that they’d be happy to refer a company to friends, industry peers, and colleagues. The only problem is — only 29% of those customers make that referral.

So, what gives?

For most brands, the problem is a lack of referral marketing strategy. If you don’t have the right plan in place to cultivate your ambassadors and ask them to share content on your behalf, then their powerful messages go unheard and unseen. A referral marketing plan is the key to capitalising on the undeniable power of word-of-mouth marketing.

Whether you’re reaching out for the support of a professional referral marketing company, or you’re going it alone, the following guide will give you the support you need to launch the best referral marketing ideas, leverage your loyal customers, and power-up your profits.

What is referral marketing? The benefits of a referral marketing plan

Let’s start with the basics of referral marketing.

Over 2.4 million conversations related to brands take place in the US every day. This means that people really aren’t shy anymore when it comes to talking about company experiences. All you need to do is figure out how to leverage that chatter for your brand.

If you can sway the conversations your customers are having in your favour, then you can benefit from:

1. Precision-targeted sales

If you’ve struggled to get the right audience onto your landing pages in the past, then referral marketing could be the key to your success. After all, about 14% of the customers that visit your referral page will actually convert, which is a much higher rate than most digital marketing strategies have to offer.

With a referral marketing strategy, you can make sure your message gets out to the people in your user persona list, who are most tempted to work with your brand. These are people in the right demographics, the right location, and the right stage of the buyer journey.

2. Improved Trust

Today’s customers are more empowered than ever. Before they decide about how they want to spend their cash, they need to make sure that they can trust the brand they’re working with. Your clients are already looking for evidence that they can trust you online in the form of reviews and testimonials.

Who better to convince your customers that they should buy your products than their very own peers? After all, we’re far more likely to feel comfortable buying something that our friends recommend, instead of deciding based on advertising materials.

If you need proof that a referral marketing plan will create trust, just check out this Neilson Trust Study saying that referrals are the most respected form of advertising by far.

3. Market reach and brand recognition

In the past, referrals were great – but they weren’t too much of a big deal. Without the internet to add volume to the words that people said, a customer’s review could only go so far. Of course, now that we’ve entered the digital world, there are more ways for people to make their voices heard than ever before. Today’s clients can share their opinions on public forums, Twitter, or even Instagram.

Because referrals have such a huge reach, it’s easier for companies to accelerate their brand marketing strategy and improve recognition for their company. For instance, if a customer uses a branded hashtag when referring your company to their work friend, then everyone in your network will be able to see this positive feedback.

Wooing word of mouth: Tips for the perfect referral marketing strategy

You know why referral marketing strategies are valuable, now you need to figure out how to get the most out of your own plan. Referral marketing is all about putting your message into your customer’s mouth. Essentially, you want them to tell other customers all the positive things you’ve already been saying about your company.

While you can’t force people to say what you want them to, you can make it easier for your clients to share the positive comments that can boost your company profits. After all, today’s customers are compelled to talk about their experiences. People want the social points that come with visiting a new restaurant and talking about it on Facebook or sharing a pic on Instagram.

All you need to do is give your clients the right nudges, and you can transform them into the perfect ambassadors for your brand. Here are a few tips to help you craft the perfect referral marketing plan.

Step 1: Get closer to your clients

Before you ask your customers to do something for you, you need to make sure that you have a strong relationship with them. Even if they are happy to talk about your company with a review, or testimonial, they might not want to put their reputation on the line by referring you to a friend too early in the relationship.

good way to nurture endorsements is to ask your customers to join an exclusive “VIP” club of members online. When they sign up, you can ask for a few basic details like where your clients come from, what they like most about your brand and so on. This information will make it easier for you to create tailored experiences with your referral strategies in the future.

Step 2: Reward and recognise

Of course, your customers won’t sign up to these membership programs out of the goodness of their hearts. They’ll need something in return. Real brand loyalty is the perfect precursor to a referral strategy. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your customers feel more strongly about your brand with a few rewards.

If you’re worried that monetary rewards or free items might cheapen the referral marketing experience in some way, remember that you don’t have to actually pay people to refer you to their friends. Instead, you can offer:

  • Discount coupons for their next purchase.
  • Early access to sale events.
  • Exclusive perks and product upgrades.

Step 3: Build on affinity and transparency

Aside from letting your customers know that they’re going to get something in return for referring your brand, you also want to make sure that you’re building strong relationships with each advocate. The best referral marketing programs take advantage of the affinity that exists between a customer and a company.

Remember, today’s customers deliberately connect themselves with brands that share their values and make them look better in the eyes of their peers. With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure that you’re highlighting the parts of your identity that matter most to your customers. For instance, when you’re asking people to join in with your referral marketing plan, let them know that they’ll be giving something back to the environment because every referral leads to a new tree planted or another dollar donated to charity.

At the same time, be transparent with your requests. Let your clients know:

  • How the referral process works.
  • How information they provide is used.
  • What will happen to the person they refer.

How to Build a Customer Referral Program

How to Build a Customer Referral Program

One of the basic tenets of customer success is using your service to create advocates for your business. A happy army of satisfied customers can do a lot of legwork for you. And when word-of-mouth referrals make up 20-50% of most purchasing decisions (especially for new businesses and in emerging markets) why not take advantage of the opportunity?

But there’s a catch: assuming your customers will refer you to their connections simply because you provide exceptional service is idealistic at best. Referrals only happen out of the good of a customer’s heart some of the time — for the rest of it, giving customers a reason to refer will work wonders. As with most things in business, a plan is necessary.

If you’re looking to grow your business, retain the customers you already have, and reach your revenue goals, it’s time to implement a customer referral program. Simply having one is good business sense, because it reveals two things:

1. That you’re confident enough in your services and team to know that a referral program would be a positive investment and

2. You know that despite your good service, some customers might need a push to go out of their way for you.

The reality is, however, that you’re effectively asking your customers to stand in place of your marketing and sales departments. And when referrals are the heart of generating new business, operating with tact, consistency, and patience is extremely important.

What Exactly Is a Referral Program?

A referral program is a word-of-mouth marketing tactic that encourages customers to advocate on behalf of your brand. Rather than writing reviews online, or submitting customer feedback surveys, referral programs let customers share their brand experience with partners, colleagues, and friends.

The purpose of a referral program is to attract new leads to your business. But, you’re not just bringing in anyone. By asking customers to think about people who would benefit from your product or service, they’ll refer leads that are a good fit for your brand.

This only makes it easier for your marketing and sales teams to nurture and engage customers because not only are these leads a good match for your business, but they’re also familiar with your company and its reputation. Since they’ve been referred by someone they know, they have a reliable resource telling them that your company is trustworthy and produces a positive customer experience.

If you’re ready to start leveraging word-of-mouth at your business, read on to the next section for tips on how to create a customer referral program.

7 Marketing Strategies to Increase Referrals

7 Marketing Strategies to Increase Referrals

Referrals are one of the best ways to get more business, as a whopping 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know.

But, many marketers forgo referral programs altogether, and those who have referral programs often struggle to get them off the ground.

Whether you have a formal referral program in place or not, your business probably already has new customers coming in via word of mouth marketing. By exploring these opportunities, you’ll find yourself in a gold mine.

After all, when someone comes in as a referral, much of the hard work has already been done. Someone else, probably a happy customer, already provided you with credibility and a sense of trust, both of which are needed for creating a sale.

It’s clear that referrals should be a huge focus for your brand. So, how can you get more of them? Here are 7 marketing strategies to increase referrals for your business.

1. Go the extra mile for subscribers, prospects, and customers

Any time someone interacts with your business, they should have a good experience. When you provide exceptional experiences, people take notice. When people take notice, they tend to talk. This talk causes referrals.

So, if you’re able to fulfil a client’s needs, that’s great. If you’re able to go above and beyond, that’s even better. By going above and beyond, you set yourself apart from all the noise that surrounds you.
Going the extra mile doesn’t have to break the bank either. Here are a few ways to go the extra mile:

  • Offer some extras, such as time with a staff member, or a freebie like a t-shirt or a magnet.
  • Sending friendly reminders via automated emails to help them stay on top of their obligations.
  • Just be nice! You can’t go the extra mile if your customer interactions aren’t sincere.

For example, Lyft, a ride-sharing service, goes the extra mile by providing customers with an incentive. Then to top it off, they reiterate why their service is great. Riding costs less for customers than a typical taxi = cost savvy. Drivers are always nearby = convenient.

2. Improve your customer support experience

Obviously, customer service plays a major role in every business. People like to be heard, and they like their problems to be solved. One of the best ways you can encourage referrals is to provide top-notch customer support.

Here are some easy ways to make sure your customer service is in tip-top shape:

  • Be responsive – Make sure you’re staying on top of things. Don’t let customers comments and questions go unanswered for too long. Stay aware of what’s coming in, and what’s going out in response. As long as you show a little flexibility and sympathy, customers will be more understanding when there are issues.
  • Be sincere – The more sincere you are, the better chance you have to make a customer happy. The tone you use, and the way you act towards a customer, can either make or break their experience. If you’re too pushy, you may come off as being insincere. Find the balance, be respectful, and be helpful.
  • Be consistent – Create repeatable processes so that all customers are getting equal attention. Set some standards for customer interactions. Make sure you have customer ticketing software in place that helps make things easier.

For example, Zappos has a customer service department that goes above and beyond. One customer bought shoes for her father, but he had passed away before the shoes arrived. The customer called in to see if she could return the shoes and get refunded. A Zappos call center employee told her not to worry about sending them back, and that she would be refunded. The employee then went above and beyond and sent her flowers as well.

3. Build relationships, as people refer people

Undoubtedly, people refer people and not necessarily the business. That’s why it’s essential to build relationships with your customers.

This is especially important if you’re dealing with customers on a one-on-one basis. You need to make sure you’re doing a good job of listening to the customer and making them feel comfortable.

Even if you work for a large brand and aren’t able to interact with customers one-on-one, you can still build relationships through your digital marketing initiatives. For example, you can send personalized emails that highlight a customer’s individual interests, reminding them that you know them and care about who they are. You can also share be transparent. Showing what goes on behind the scenes helps customers see who you really are.

4. Personalize your interactions as much as you can

The more you can personalize the experience for the customer, the happier they’ll be. Whether that’s remembering information about them, reminding them of something important, or sending them a well-timed promotion, personalization shows customers that you care.

For example, if a customer purchases a new snowboard from your sporting goods website, it makes sense to send out material that’s relevant to that subscriber. You might send information on snow conditions, recommendations for more gear, or a promo code for a lift ticket at a local mountain.  Alternatively, if someone purchases a basketball, they might receive different recommendations.

Personalization results in a more engaged customer-base, one that is likely to refer to your friends, family, and colleagues.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask

Even though referrals often happen naturally, it can be difficult to get people to think about you after they leave. That’s why you should always ask for a referral.

In general, customers are usually happiest post-purchase, so this is a good time to ask for referrals. For example, an e-commerce store typically asks for referrals their thank you or receipt pages. This process can be automated, making it easy for you.

You can also offer incentives to make referring even sweeter. For example, sends an email after a customer has made a booking, encouraging the customer to share with a friend to receive $25 off.

6. Show appreciation to those that refer you

Obviously, everyone wants to be appreciated. But, it is particularly important to show appreciation to those who send more customers your way. If someone refers you, not only are they giving you a compliment, but they are going out of their way to help you.

If you are able to find out who referred you, be sure to thank them. You don’t necessarily have to do some big or grand gesture, but acknowledging their effort is important. Plus, it will further reiterate why they helped you in the first place.

It’s building these type of deep connections that will keep you connected with your target market. This keeps referrals coming in.

7. Start or improve your formal referral program

Having a referral program makes it easy for people to make referrals. Thankfully, there are many solutions out there that can help you track and manage your program. These solutions can also help you in distributing rewards.

Whether you choose to incentivize your program or not, formalizing it will ensure that you’re taking as much advantage of word-of-mouth marketing as you can.

For example, Dropbox started a referral program and offered extra storage space as their incentive. They took a product that people want and need and increased users quickly by offering them a little extra space, for both parties (the referrer and referral). Since customers had nothing to lose, sharing ensued. After their program was implemented they saw a huge jump in membership sign ups with an increase of about 60%.


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