3 Ways To Encourage Referrals Online

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The Power of Referrals

Over the past 15 years, I’ve heard this line often, “But Karen, we don’t need to do any marketing. We rely solely on word of mouth.”

Word of mouth is awesome and if you’re getting plenty of referrals, then that’s fantastic, however… it almost always runs out. The conversation eventually shifts to, “Karen, we’ve managed to survive on referrals for the past X number of years but we’ve noticed this drop off. What should we do?”

What a lot of business owners don’t realize is that their marketing efforts and investment (or lack thereof) can actually have a negative impact on the number and quality of the referrals they are attracting. Consider this, if you’ve noticed a general decline in customers, then this means there’s fewer people to refer to you in the future. Then add that if you’re also difficult to find online, referring to you can be perceived as an inconvenience.

According to saasquatch.com, “The average referring customer invites an average of 2.68 people.” 

The Natural Decline Of Referrals

Over the past few years, a lot of businesses have struggled to build their customer numbers back up, regardless of how amazing they are. There’s also the consideration that over the past few years, almost every industry has grown in the number of suppliers available for prospects to choose from.

I remember when I first started Web-Sta in 2006. We were one of about 10 dedicated, professional web design agencies in my region. We were also one of the only female-lead web design businesses – which helped make us stand out even more. Now “everyone and their dog” is a web designer, an electrician, a pressure cleaner, an accountant, a personal trainer, a coach and so on… Customers have more choice than ever before and it’s our job to stand out even more.

Some Ponder-Worthy Referral Statistics

There are literally 100’s more referral statistics I could quote here, however you get the idea. The power of referrals still rings true, however, it’s how we attract them that’s changed.

3x Ways To Encourage Referrals Online

Regardless of which of these three referral activities you decide to roll with, the number one rule is “MAKE IT EASY”. The longer it takes for someone to refer you, or the more inconvenient they feel it is to promote your business the less likely they are to do so. 

Here are my 3 x Ways To Encourage Referrals Online

  1. Ask For Testimonials / Reviews
  2. Be On Facebook
  3. Add A Referral Program To Your Website

Ask For Testimonials / Reviews
Like a referral, online reviews go a long way to contributing to your overall Business Energy Footprint. To make this process super easy for you, use this review request script we created. Email this to your new happy customers often and consistently as part of your regular marketing activities. To make it easy for your customers and increase the likelihood of them actually leaving you a review, do the following:

    1. Have them answer a question specific to what they received from you and your customer service,
    2. Include instructions of where you’d like for them to leave their review,
    3. Add in the direct link/s to your Google Business Profile, LinkedIn Profile, or Facebook business page so they don’t have to go searching for your business online.

You can also send the same request via text. Just note that any links you include might look a bit long-winded and messy, so utilising a free online service like https://tinyurl.com/app will make your text look nice and tidy.

Be On Facebook 
Facebook attracts a LOT of requests for referrals, particularly in local community and networking groups. Most days, there are requests from people looking for local service providers and I often have at least 1 business that I’d love to suggest. If I need to go out of my way to ‘share’ your details with someone, I’ll likely not share anything at all. Having a Facebook Business Page allows your audience to tag you within seconds sending you and your new lead an automated notification.

It’s similar on LinkedIn. If you don’t have a personal or business profile on LinkedIn, it makes it a little more time-consuming to refer others to you using that platform.

Add A Referral Program To Your Website 
A lot of referrals go unactioned, meaning you’d never know you were even being referred to. Many referrals also go untracked. For example, I could refer your business to 100 prospective customers, but unless they mention my name (or I tell you), you’d never know that I referred you. This is where offering an official Referral Program is so powerful.

Via a dedicated “Refer a Friend” page on your website, you could capture these leads (including name, email and phone) from your delighted customers and industry colleagues, while also collecting the above-mentioned information that goes missing. Offering cash back, a prize or a credit (like this) is a great way to encourage these referral partners to utilise this page as they can get something out of it.

It’s then a matter of regularly promoting your Referral Program through your newsletter, socials, email signature and website.

Check out the awesome Web-Sta Referral Program.

Ready To Leverage The Power Of Referrals

To recap, here are our 3 x Ways To Encourage Referrals Online.

  1. Ask For Testimonials / Reviews
  2. Be On Facebook
  3. Add A Referral Program To Your Website

If you’re still not sure where to start, give us a call. From drafting your very own custom Review Request Email, through to setting up your Facebook Business Page and adding a Refer A Friend page to your existing website, we can have you leveraging the power of online referrals in no time.

Get Started With A FREE 15 Minute Consultation