Referral marketing is a way to promote your products and services through advocates who help bring out your message to friends, family, and co-workers. It’s more of a personal relationship that focuses on giving value to the ones people trust. Instead of pitching to a bunch of random people, you already have your Day 1 supporters who know and love your product. Sometimes, this can be from a beta launch and inviting a select few to try out your product. When you find they enjoy the product, it’s a lot easier for them to help market it to an immediate audience that you can help cultivate.
Building Trust in Your Community
One of the hardest but most necessary things about referral marketing is building trust. Affiliate marketing has a bit of a trust thing that goes with but it’s more of a corporate act that’s based on transactions and reputation of the company. When you have advocates, you are tying into a niche that helps their closest ones. If they have a good experience, they can relay the message to their friends and family. Let’s say you went to a good restaurant. A person might look up an experience on Yelp or some review site, but to get the review from a friend, there’s a certain level of trust. Why? A past relationship for months and even years will bear more weight than simple text on a screen. You can trust a friend or family member to be brutally honest. They can talk about their experience from the food, the cleanliness of the restaurant, customer service, and even the pricing.
Why is trust such a pivotal thing for companies? Some may want to build a solid foundation before they actually begin a big marketing campaign. If they can get 100 solid supporters who continue to spread the message through word of mouth, they know it has a lot of potential to do well. Also, more advocates are inclined to spend more just because they enjoy the product and feel a part of it especially since they’re the first to know. This brutal honesty can be the difference between continuing on with a working product or going back to the drawing board. Keep this in mind when you begin to build the first stages of your company.
Help Launch a Referral Campaign Through Social Media
One of the best ways to build referrals is through social media. You need to help in every step of the way in order to prove successful. This can be anything from providing banner ads, referral links, and even customizing certain looks for your advocates. Why is social media such as an important aspect of marketing? It helps build a personal relationship through conversation and engagement. People are not getting sold just on the product these days; they want more. There are a myriad of ways you can help accomplish your goals through this avenue. We’ll speak on a few below.
A good example to use is a site like Pinterest. Remember, the beta version was invite only. That kind of exclusivity draws in a lot of attention. People want to be a part of something cool and a bit out of the mainstream. There’s a certain intrigue that allows people to really become invested in your company. Even when you launch your company, those first few hundred people will always remember being first. It’s just like Facebook and how only a select colleges had the privilege to invite people from other schools. Usually when you’re first to something that no one knows about or can’t gain access to, there’s a feeling of pride and discovery. This can make for a very interesting marketing scheme in the beginning. Of course, the quality and value of the site helps to maintain interest even after that “honeymoon” period is over.
Additionally, a good social media campaign can help you build followers and supporters through your transparency. Let’s take a site like Periscope. It’s run through Twitter so it’s like hitting two birds with one stone. Periscope’s strength is in the livestream. There’s nothing like following your favorite celebrity and being in direct and live contact with them in the comfort of your own home. You can talk, response, and even promote right on your stream. The strength in this is interaction. You’ll be able to reach a wider audience because they can share to their followers along Periscope and Twitter. If you have the right links posted in your profile, this helps you build a reputation much quicker. For your referral marketing, it’s all about building trust. When someone can see your body language and the truthfulness in how you answer candidly, this is how you can gauge someone’s validity in whatever they promote.
Using Incentive in Your Referral Marketing
Remember, you should treat your strongest supporters like partners rather than employees. This means you need to keep it interesting or they’ll find the better deal. What you can do is create a contest to not only see your strongest supporters and encourage more sales, but it gives them an incentive to promote. If you have a grand prize, make sure you ask your closest ones to vote on a particular package. This way you involve them in each step of the process and everyone can be happy with the end results. Create a list of different terms and rules. This way you can keep everything organized and track down what goes on. By adding this into your program, you’ll be able to light the fire under everyone and really see who are your power players. Additionally, it’ll create a lot of interest. You’ll be able to rejuvenate your campaign and see what products can be evergreen and others that are a bit more seasonal. Keeping the interest of your strongest supporters will keep your business running at a stable pace. Also, it’ll help you come up with long-term objectives that will help you stay afloat for years.
Referral marketing is a great way to get people involved. You’ll know who your most stable supporters are and help them achieve great goals. This will create a family relationship you can depend on rather than just a simple transaction.