It’s no secret that referrals are one of the most, if not the most, powerful marketing tools any business can have. Often times, these referrals can come simply because of a satisfied customer who wants to help a friend, but there are other times when you can encourage your customers to spread the word about your business. Take this instance for example…
Most people loathe going to the dentist. In fact, some people may even be Anti-Dentite.
But I’m not one of those people.
Not only is my dentist great at what he does, but as someone in the marketing profession, I have to give credit to Dr. Hans Sperling of Dental Care Center of Hollywood (not a Marketing Matters client, by the way) and his team for being on top of many great practices in marketing and PR. They do a great job with just-frequent-enough e-newsletters, social media and more.
One of the things I appreciate most about the team at Dental Care Center of Hollywood is the attention they give to each and every customer. They are always on time with appointments and are great at reminding you in advance of those appointments through email, text and phone calls.
It’s that customer service that has made me jump at the chance to recommend their services to anyone I find looking for a dentist.
Just recently, a friend was looking for a new dentist and before he even finished asking the question, I was giving them Dr. Sperling’s info. While doing so, I was joking with him that he was probably the third or fourth person I have pushed over to Dr. Sperling’s office and that if their office had some kind referral program, I’d be atop the leaderboard.
Well, to my surprise, a week after my friend’s visit to Dr. Sperling’s office, I come home to find a piece of mail from my dentist. Inside was a personalized letter to me thanking me for sending business their way, as well as two gift cards to be used for dental services.
I had simply been joking with my friend, but he mentioned to the staff that I referred him to their offices and they took the time to thank me for the referral.
Do you have a referal program?
Setting up a referral program for your business can lead to significant opportunities for acquiring new customers and keeping your current customers happy (and keep more referrals coming).
Your referral program needs to be tailored to your business, but most importantly, needs to benefit your customer. Consider some of these options for your referral program:
Thank you gifts – Set up a system like my dentist and be prepared to send your customer a note and token of appreciation for any referrals they send your way.
A customer referral form – When you acquire a new customer, ask them if they would be willing to provide contact information for 2-3 of their friends or family members who may also be interested in your business. For every contact they provide, offer your customer some kind of discount on a product or service.
Provide your customers with coupons – Give your current customers a handful of gift certificates to hand out to their friends and family.
A step-up referral system – Be direct about offering incentives to your customers for referrals and make the incentive “sweeter” for each additional referral they send your way. For example, one referral might be a $25 gift card; the second would be a $50 card and so on.
Social media referrals – Offer incentives for people who simply “check in” or talk about their experience with your business on social media. An easy way to do this is by offering specials on services like Foursquare and Yelp.
These are just a few ways you can tell your customers thanks for helping your business. Regardless of whether or not you provide gifts or incentives for referrals, you need to at least acknowledge any referral a customer sends you. If they took the time to tell someone about your business, you can take the time to tell them “thank you.”