Your customer is the best promoter for your business. The key to improving your business is to ask your customers for referrals.

This type of word-of-mouth marketing has been around since the last century. At the start of the digital age, it has become one of the most powerful tools in promoting business with the advent of multiple social media sites.

Attaining loyal customers may be hard at first. Word-of-mouth marketing is a process that takes time to grow your base. But research shows that using your customers as a secondary voice for your brand is a positive and cost-effective promotional strategy.

According to HubSpot, there is a lack of trust between customers and marketers. It could be that perception of marketers as those pesky people who badger the public with annoying sales calls. Regardless, HubSpot found only 3% of marketers are considered trustworthy.

Now, customers may not place a great deal of trust in marketers. But the best resource for attaining more customers and having a loyal base is through customer referrals.

A 2018 marketing study by Texas Tech found that 83% of customers are actually willing to refer a business to a friend. Yet only 29% of them actually go through with the referral. This is because most customers need a motivation factor in forms of a push or incentive to refer a company.

Annex Cloud, a social marketing platform, found that customers are most excited about a product the moment after they buy it. When their satisfaction with your service is high, that’s the best time to mention a referral.

Never think of asking for a referral as a look of desperation for your company. The same Texas Tech study suggests asking for a referral communicates a desire to “improve the lives of your clients.” 

Furthermore, asking for a referral shows that you care about your customer, that their voice is integral in the operations of your business. Showing that transparency and communicating a great customer experience will be beneficial in the relationship between you and your customers.

Businesses can continue providing a great customer experience beyond the storefront. One way to engage your consumer base for a referral is by utilizing social media apps and sites. When users share your business on social sites, communicating back with them is crucial. This way, your platform will reach a larger audience as your replies to your customer will appear on their network’s feed.

Another business tool to increase customer promotion is through incentives. Many businesses use a “refer a friend” system that gives a promotion or discount every time a customer attracts another customer to their business.

Before making any decisions about referral incentives, make sure to measure out your customer acquisition cost (CAC), or the cost of convincing a potential customer to buy your product. It is also important to measure the value of the relationship between a customer and your company.

Regardless, the importance of customer referrals is evident in its results. According to Annex Cloud, a referred customer is 18% more loyal on average than other customers and are four times more likely to refer another customer to your business.

Customer referral marketing is a tried and true way that’s been going on for many years. While it may be difficult to start gaining customers immediately, word-of-mouth has been a successful route for many mom-and-pop and minority-owned businesses, even before social media. So next time you have a great interaction with a customer, ask them for a referral!

Post Author: James Chow