Marketing to your Customers: Referrals

This is the third of a three part series entitled “Marketing to your Customers”. The theory here is a very basic one, selling to existing customers is far easier, and cheaper, than finding new ones. So in order to be successful, it’s vital that you master the basic skills of marketing to existing customers. And those skills are different in many ways than the ones required to market to non-customers.

Part two of the series gave us tips on how to use recurring sales opportunities to make more money.

The third part of this series is the simplest to understand, but probably the least thought-about of the three topics. Assuming you can’t increase the value of each sale, and you can’t expect customers to come back and purchase from you any more than they currently are, there is a third way to make each customer more valuable to you and help growth. Get more word of mouth referrals from them.

If each customer, on average, refers one other person who makes a purchase, you’re doubling your customer base. It’s that easy.

But word of mouth just doesn’t happen on its own. It takes you giving people both a reason to refer someone and a means.

The Reason – The reason the people refer your product or brand to their friends can vary. Either you over deliver on quality or service, or your prices can’t be beat, or your brand has a story that is begging to be shared. Maybe it’s the simple fact that you offer $5 to every customer who refers one of their friends. The key is to identify the reason (survey your customers) and publicize it.

The Means – Once you get the reason down, you have to roll out the means. Assuming that people will take it upon themselves to refer others makes you an idiot. Why limit yourself? Give people simple ways to do it, and help them get the word out. Social media has provided new outlets for word of mouth marketing that can have astronomical results. Ask them to share on their networks. Ask them to submit names and emails. Send them discount cards and coupons to hand out to friends.

The art of the referral is not a difficult one to master. It’s time we put more emphasis on it.

That does it for the “Marketing to your Customers” series. There are millions of other ways and reasons to market to existing customers, but this week’s post give you a good sense of how marketing to existing customers can lead to real growth.

Tell me how I did. Did you like the series? Did you hate it? Tell me why in the comments below.