B-to-B Marketers: Are you Using Referral Marketing as Part of Your Overall Strategy?

I don’t know about you, but referrals are a great source of leads and customers for us.

It takes you down the sale funnel much more quickly if someone says something nice about you and recommends they talk with you.

Now we may all do this in person by networking and asking for referrals from people who now like and trust us. But have you taken that to the next level with your online contacts?

Referral marketing engages people online through daily interactions on the web. By recruiting customers to help drive new business using online is more relevant because you share the same interests and values as your existing customers.

Extole has an ePaper out, Fact vs Fiction: 5 Referral Marketing Myths. They give examples of what companies are doing and focus on:

  • Referral marketing as a high impact strategy for driving new customer acquisition.
  • Referral marketing reaches audiences SEO and SEM don’t.
  • New customers acquired by referral marketing have high retention rates and stronger loyalty.
  • Referral marketing is cost effective.

The paper is an easy read and you can download it here.

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Have You Ever Considered Word of “Mouth Referral Programs” to Reach the Professional Tradesman?

Sometimes we’re so close to the woods that we can’t see the trees. As marketers, we’re all so busy trying to execute our plans, from using the latest digital options and lead nurturing programs, to doing some traditional direct mailers and participating in a key trade show that we often overlook the obvious – Referrals!

When was the last time you bought something major that you didn’t ask a friend or business associate what their thoughts were on that particular product or the proposed solution you were thinking about.

2 men talkingThe professional tradesman is not different. He will ask another peer or a distributor friend about ways to solve the problem. That’s why word of mouth (WOM) plays such an important part. Here are some interesting stats:

  1. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from their friends (Nielsen).
  2. 80% of all B-to-C and B-to-B purchases involve some WOM recommendations during the purchasing cycle according to Forrester.

I recently downloaded a Referral Marketing Guide from Extole that outlines six steps to take to make sure your WOM program gets results. They not only give you the steps, but practical examples of how to incorporate into your current programs. They also give you case studies.

Here are the six steps they recommend you to follow:

  • Create a compelling offer
  • Promote a referral program
  • Make it easy for advocates to refer
  • Personalize the friend experience
  • Keep referral programs top of mind
  • Monitor and optimize the program

According to the study, WOM recommendations result in a 3-5 times higher conversion than other channels. It makes sense doesn’t it; you value the opinions of others. So as marketers, we need to harness the loyal brand advocates that we have and have them help folks through the selling cycle.

If you haven’t used a WOM campaign to reach those contractors, maybe it’s time you rethink your strategy. After all, we’re all in it to ultimately sell something, and WOM has proven that it will help the customer through the sales cycle by letting others help you sell.

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