5 Steps to Success with Referral MarketingFeatured

Every professional who leads sales or marketing decisions in their career or business wants a steady stream of warm leads, and that's a fact!Yet as women, we typically are NOT taught to be the ones asking:Asking for a date Proposing marriage Asking for a raise Because of this, the act of ASKING can have a very masculine energy and might not be something we naturally get excited about. That is why having a referral program that invites strategic partners into a mutually beneficial lead growth relationship, might be a more appealing way to increase revenue while decreasing marketing efforts.Referrals should not be serendipitous moments that may or may not work out for the good of the business. Instead of banking on random moments, let’s get excited about inviting strategic partners into a custom designed program that will empower these referral partners to serve their clients even better and allow you to reach new audiences of future customers!These five Referral Marketing best practices will guide ANY professional who lead sales or marketing decisions in their career or business. Have referral program talking pointsIt is critical to invite your prospective referral partners into a story where they win, the people referred win, and it is clear why it makes sense for you to win as well. Here's how you do this. Choose a messaging framework that tells a short story around the problem that your referral partners' client base faces, the solution you provide and the happy ending all parties can experience when they engage with you.Use this story framework when you approach your referral partners to invite them to your program and equip them with talking points they can share with their current clients about your services. Set referral invitation campaign goalsThis step is critical to your success because marketing is both an art and a science, with a heavy leaning on the science aspect. With great marketing, we are constantly running experiments and testing ideas and methods. In order to judge the effectiveness of the program, it’s great to know what success might look like. Here's how to do it, set a goal of having x new referral partners each month who send you x leads each. This is most helpful when we have a clear idea of who ideal customers are and who already owns the relationship with our future customers. Track how people find youThis step will help you because you will start to see patterns. Is there a certain type of referral partner that sends more leads than any other partner, yet these prospective buyers are either not qualified for your service and/or hard to work with? Is there a certain referral partner that really gets you and sends qualified leads?When you track how your customers find you, you will be able to start a database of information that will inform your referral program so you make informed decisions about how to optimize your efforts. It's critical to remember this when you are just starting your program to get your referral machine running in a way that will serve you. Narrow down the WIIFM for the people who refer youAs you start searching for referral partners, it might be helpful to refer back to this Elpha article about networking in a virtual environment. When approaching your potential referral partners, as mentioned previously, have talking points that clearly outline what is in it from them, what is in it for who they refer to, what you get out of the referral partnership and a clear vision of what a future relationship can look like. You need to know this step because people are busy and do not want to look silly to their customers. Here's what I mean, when you are asking someone to open up their hard earned audience to you, you are asking someone to trust you with the most valued part of their business!Have a system to keep in touch with your referral partnersAs you grow, keeping up the lines of communication with your referral partners is very important. This might be a CRM or an email marketing system. Either way, make sure that you can easily attach notes that will make it easy for teams to personalize outreach and communication to this special group of people who are acting as champions for your business. Recap and a bonus few tipsDecide a date to review your desired referral campaign with your team and make having a related high level project plan a goal of that meeting. Ensure that this plan includes both an outreach method and messaging and various touch points to make sure everyone is following up with prospective referral partners to make them feel like the valued people they are. Choose an automated system that will equip your referral partners with up to date information about the success that referred clients are seeing and tell them about interesting things that might benefit them. Empower your referral partners (and customers) with an easy to repeat message.Equip your referral partners (and customers ) with a reward system and a way to measure the results. Rinse and repeat.As with any process, these steps are not all inclusive and will change and adapt over time. But, from my direct, day-to-day Referral Marketing experience, these are the best practices that will assist you in getting started with thinking about a referral program and empower you to meet your expansion goals quicker, faster and easier. Related, if you would like other ways to get visible without spending all day on social media, please review the suggestions found in this article:
This is great @AmeliaR! I just launched a referral partner program and your post is perfect timing for me :-) I look forward to following you and getting more tips!
@DianePrince lovely! Your business story is incredible, I am thrilled to hear you are using this growth model!
I loved that you framed this in the context of discomfort. Being an embodied leader means channeling both femme and masc attributes.
@selfazzured Yes! I believe in doing marketing that feels good to ALL parties involved :).
@AmeliaR - great article! Do you have any tips on how to get referrals to work for B2C?