Word of mouth is still one of the most influential marketing tactics for reaching new customers and growing your business. Here are just a few reasons why.
- Word of mouth marketing impressions result in 5 times more sales than a paid media impression.
- People are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend.
- 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing.
And, while we may all agree that word of mouth is important, very few businesses have a formal strategy for developing a pipeline of referrals from their customers and fans.
3 Ways to Create a Referral Pipeline with Existing Customers
If you want to leverage the power of word of mouth marketing, here are a few simple ways you can start building a pipeline of referrals from your current customers or industry partners:
- Ask raving fans to share your content. There is no point in creating content or regularly posting on social media unless it is being shared by other people. However, most brands just “hope” that someone will share their content. Proactively asking those customers you would consider to be “raving fans” is one of the easiest ways to spread your content and reach new customers. If you start with 20 content distributors, you can drastically increase your ability to reach new customers by leveraging their networks.
- Integrate simple and subtle ways to ask for a referral into your everyday tasks. One reason businesses don’t get more referrals is because they don’t ask for them. While you don’t want to badger a customer about telling others about you, there are simple and subtle ways you can ask for referrals in your interactions. Including a quick note on invoices of customers who have a positive relationship with you is one way. Encourage customer service representatives to include a script like this in their emails: “Thank you. I’m glad I could help. It’s been great to work with you. If you know anyone else I might be able to help, it would be great to hear from them.”
- Create a network of “unlikely” referrers outside of your direct industry. In today’s hyper-connected world, everyone can be a referrer. One of the best ways to create a referral network is to identify the “unlikely connections” that all sell to the same type of person but sell something different. For example, build a network between a marketing person with a graphic designer with an HR consultant with an IT consultant with a web developer. They all have the same client yet all sell something different.