We all know that word-of-mouth marketing works. And very effectively. This means that any small business, or even freelance workers, can grow their business impressively, or increase their client bases, simply through the use of even the most casual referrals. When you go one step further and enact an actual referral program that any random individual can benefit from, you have crafted an excellent method for maximizing your public possibilities.
What Can a Client Referral Program Do?
Even in actively seeking out referrals you are likely only adding a new element to an action you probably already carry out on a regular basis. Advertising and selling your own products or services. So what can a professionally created program do for you?
- A functionally structured client referral program that provides examples or guidelines can make it incredibly easy for clients to refer you to others.
- A flexible referral program can provide you with a quicker path to the most ideal clients.
- The referrals as well as those ‘thank you’s’ you hand out for the initial introduction can help you gain loyal clients who will return to you for future services or product requirements.
- A series of ongoing introductions and referrals will undoubtedly help you increase your business network and your business growth.
Take Into Consideration
While there are many issues that should be taken into consideration when creating a client referral program, there are a few elements you should absolutely have an understanding before beginning to share your referral program with others.
While research and planning is the best starting point for setting up your client referral program, you must also consider your goals for the program itself. Once you have your goals in mind, make sure the format you have chosen for referrals works well with the specific targeted individuals that you will desire referrals from. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to help determine the best path to success.
What will you offer as rewards or incentives?
In the cases of most small business and freelance workers, discounts or even free consultations can be a great starting point for providing incentives. No one expects a struggling small business or individual to grant them endless free services or elaborate prizes.
What constitutes a referral?
Will you reward your referral network with handing over the names and contact information for you to chase down? Or will you require new referrals to make a purchase before rewarding the one who sent them. While this is entirely your decision, you should absolutely make sure you make this clear well ahead of time so that there are no miscommunications or bad feelings within your program.
How will you manage and track your referrals? Knowing who, what and when are the vital elements involved in knowing when it is time to reward. If you do not have a workable system, whether a full database or a simple filing system, you may be doomed to fail. If needed, spring for a consultation with an expert or purchase a basic database system to get started.
Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture and Referral Marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture and Referral relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.