Sometimes your referral marketing effort just needs the right hook or offer to get people to pay attention and participate. Draw from my top 5 referral offer starters and think of ways to creatively wrap your business around one or more of them.
1) Offer special pricing
If you are looking for referrals from your existing clients, you can develop a special price for those clients who refer to a set amount of new business. Then, when a new client asks what the price of a product or service is, you can respond, “Do you want the full price or the special referral price?” This encourages repeat business and can provide a strong incentive to refer on the spot.
2) Will work for referrals
If you can target a referral source that has influence with your target market, you can offer a trial service or product in exchange for an endorsement of your products or services, a testimonial, or a place on the next association speaker panel.
Seek out the leaders in trade groups and organizations you would like to target and offer to perform a service or let them try your product free of charge. Get them to agree that if they like your product or service as much as you know they will, they will send a letter to the membership of the organization promoting your offer. Then write the letter for them.
3) Help a worthy cause
Donate a percentage of business acquired by way of referral to a non-profit agency. By offering to help a worthy cause, you can increase referrals while improving your community.
There are many variations on this referral strategy. You can make donations to a designated charity in your referral source’s name. You can allow your referral sources to designate a charity of their choice. If you have a product or service the non-profit agency uses or buys, you can donate that.
One of the hidden powers behind this strategy is that the non-profit agencies can become strong referral partners. If they benefit from referring clients, then they may be highly motivated to provide referrals. In many cases, non-profit agencies have loyal donors, board members, community activists, and volunteers who would be happy to do business with a firm that was providing funding for the non-profit agency through a referral marketing program.
4) Give away gift certificates
Although the use of gift certificates isn’t a true referral marketing strategy, it can be a great way to generate referrals. If you have a product or service that lends itself to this, you can provide your clients or referral sources gift certificates to use as a referral tool. The idea is that your clients would give the certificates to people they feel would enjoy receiving them. In most cases, these recipients would be new clients willing to try your service by using the certificate.
A consultant might give certificates for a one-hour evaluation assessment. The value of the assessment, if purchased, might be $150. It is important that the certificate communicate this value. Make sure that what you are giving has a high, perceived value.
A plumber could give free service call certificates at each stop and ask the client to hand them out to neighbors.
5) 100% refund for referrals
This is one of my personal favorites because not only is it a terribly powerful referral strategy, it presents such a strong offer that it can become a core point of differentiation.
In other words, the sales message is so strong, you become known for it.
In this strategy, you simply show your clients how they can receive a 100% refund on a specific purchase by simply referring five other people who become clients or make a similar purchase. (Again, you work out the numbers that apply to your business.)
The power behind this is three-fold.
It helps you land clients because people think, “What the heck, I can get all my money back,” and because it becomes a game for them. Structure your offer in such a way that they get a 20% refund (up to 100%) every time they refer someone. That way, they can keep score. It usually makes sense to put a time limit on the offer as well.
Another very important aspect of this particular strategy is that it has a viral component to it.
Anyone who can earn a 100% refund will talk about it. In addition, everyone who comes to your practice by way of this method will already understand the rules of the game and may very well be ready to play the day they become a client. So, that’s 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 and so on. You do the math!
Reread that last paragraph because it is true of just about any referral marketing strategy you create. That’s one of the reasons referral marketing is so powerful.