Unless your customers are hugely engaged with your brand, they are unlikely to have the information they need to expertly refer your business onto their own network, even with the best will and intention of doing so. The fact is, the vast majority of your potential referrers may be perfectly amenable to talking about how great your product or service is, but without the messages needed for them to do so (along with an incentive), the chances of that referral actually happening are limited. You can change that by creating a referral toolkit.
By making your own toolkit, you vastly increase your chances of securing those quality referrals. You need to provide the referee with the tools and information that they need to talk about your brand with their own contacts and offer the right incentives that will encourage them to take action.
What should the referral toolkit cover?
Every business will approach their referral toolkit in a different way. Some might send out emails to key clients periodically with a few key messages and a link to share. Others might go down the face-to-face route and even leave hard copy cards or materials to pass on if their business is in an industry that doesn’t routinely use digital media for its marketing or advertising. Some brands will go further and create full online referral platforms with private communities. These provide referrers with access to information, resources and their own incentive tracking accounts, allowing them to earn regular sums for passing on new business.
Regardless of platform and approach, your referral toolkit needs to consider exactly what your referrer needs and then present it in a logical, impactful and effective manner that will engage and incentivise them. It will give them the means of reaching out to other customers and will encourage them to do so.
A landing page
One of the best solutions is to invest in a digital approach and create an advocate landing page. This should be housed within your website or as a private add-on if you are seeking to create a brand community with a sense of exclusivity. It will describe what type of customers you are seeking in terms of industry, location and size.
You’ll give your referrers or advocates different options they can use for talking about your business. This could be as simple and low effort as sharing a branded post on social media. And it could go right through to active and more involved methods of engagement, such as taking on a formal advocacy role at an industry event and speaking persuasively about how great your business really is.
The landing page will contain a short referral sign up form which could require just the name and contact email addresses, although it is well worth adding other optional details such as company name, job title and a phone number.
The site should also provide details of the incentives and benefits that would apply to both referrer and to the new prospect. This will be explicit in explaining the value of the programme, and the incentive itself needs to be meaningful and of value to the advocate. For some companies this will translate into a monetary sum. For others it may be as simple as giving your clients a chance to influence the direction of your service offer and brand development.
Remember, get it right and your advocates will just keep on referring.
To learn more about client referrals and how you can start using them to win new business for your company, have a read of the Sales Director’s Guide to Winning Referrals!