Referral Marketing Communications Plan — Tip #6: Market Your Program!

Referral Marketing Communications Plan Signing with a Pen

Marketing is the same for small business as it is for big business – letting people know you are there and telling them about the good products and services you have to offer. Your referral marketing communications plan is just another part of your marketing mix that needs promotion. The only people who can benefit your marketing strategy from your referral program are those who know about it. Let’s look at several good marketing strategies that will keep your referral program front and center and productive:

  1. Your website is critical to your referral program. Whether your business is brick and mortar or click and order, your website should have a prominent referral marketing area where people can learn about and sign into your referral program – make it easy for people to do what you want them to do. You can send people there from you store or web site… just get them there and get them referring.
  2. The Back of your business card is another marketing “key promotion point.” The back of your business card is “prime real estate” for promotion. You can announce special sales, upcoming events, AND YOUR REFERRAL PROGRAM. Direct people to the referral program information page on your site… since there isn’t enough room on the back of your card for all the details, and on the web page is where they can actually sign up and give you their first lead.
  3. Offer “refer-a-friend” handouts. Your business cards are a good start, and refer-a-friend cards carry the marketing process further. Leave a blank at the top where they can fill in their own name or a referral code (for which they will get a discount or special premium on their next purchase). Then offer the person referred a special incentive also; a discount or other advantageous offer – remember, good marketing makes it easy for people to do what you want them to do. Then, reward the referrer and the person referred.
  4. Make it clear that you want referrals! Many businesses will say right in their marketing materials that they reward referrals. If you want to take a more subtle approach, suggest that if your customer enjoyed doing business with you, they can, “tell a friend,” and get an incentive themselves. Always direct people to your Referral Program so they sign up right away. This is where a Referral Program page on your web site really works well.
  5. Use direct mail and get many more referrals. Either as part of a revamp to your referral marketing program, or when you are just starting it, direct mail using postcards can be an extremely quick and effective way to bring in many referrals. This can be to your existing customers, or to a larger rented list. Let your customers and prospects know how easy it is to be a referrer and what the reward is – then direct them to your web site or let them call in to sign up. Remind them of how easy it is, and that both the referrer and those referred get a benefit… a true win/win/win.
  6. Always, “talk up” your referral program. Again, brick and mortar or click and order, as you are closing your transaction, always mention your Referral Program and get people signed up – it’s just good marketing.
  7. Make sure all you marketing materials attract people to your Referral Program. In In brochures or mailings, always put a mention of your referral program with the link to your referral page on your web site, or a phone number to call to get them signed up.
  8. Use exciting premium items. Inexpensive premium giveaway items like pens, mouse pads, notepads, coffee mugs, etc. are great places to attract new people to your Referral Program. Always select items that will stay with them like pens, coffee mugs, calendars, and note pads – the things they will use many times over rather than just one use and toss. Make sure your premium item is “premium” and conveys the image of YOUR business as a quality business. Spend a bit more for quality, and always convey the image of a quality business.

Marketing and promoting your Referral Program helps your business stay visible with your existing customers, and helps get you new customers day in and day out, so keep it visible and keep it moving.

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