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How to Get More Referrals for Your Business

Posted On
Anne Perisho

According to a Nielsen study, 84% of people trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of marketing.

People standing around a large megaphone.

As a business owner, word of mouth is powerful, which is why implementing a referral program is crucial to your success. Referral marketing is a three-way win: you receive free marketing, your customer gets to feel good about referring a service they believe in and support to a friend, and that friend gets a recommendation from a source they trust.

Additionally, customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate than those that come organically. That’s why encouraging your existing clients to refer their friends and family to you can boost your business in a big way. Here are some ways you can get more referrals for your small business:

Offer Great Service

It goes without saying that the best way to get your clients to refer their friends and family to your business is to keep them as happy as possible. You want your clients – and your leads –  to keep you top of mind and in a positive light, and for that to happen, you can’t exactly offer sub-par service. Going the extra mile and providing a memorable experience every time someone interacts with your business will definitely leave a favorable impression. You have to be the person they think of first when it comes to your industry, whether it be accounting, home repair, or any other specialty, otherwise, you won’t make the cut and you won’t get the lead.

Provide an Incentive

More than 50% of people stated that they were more likely to give referrals if they were offered a direct incentive (think gift cards, cash, or a percentage off their next purchase), social recognition or access to an exclusive loyalty program. Even better, offer challenges or promos – “one month free if you refer three friends to us!” – to help get more leads in the door. Offering clients a reward for thinking of you is a great way to encourage customer loyalty and increase your reach. It’s just another example of showing your customers how much their business means to you.

Make it Easy and Intuitive

People are busier than ever these days, especially those with small businesses of their own, so asking your clients to take time out of their day to refer someone to your business may be a bigger ask than you’d think. The best way to make sure people refer is to make easy. Examples of this are providing a simple, visible referral form on your website for clients to fill out when they visit your site or distributing collateral that they can easily give to their friends so that they can easily pass the word. You can even distribute pre-populated email templates for them to send to their friends.  

Other easy ways to get referrals are on sites like LinkedIn, where others can vouch for your skills in a particular field or share links from your company with their connections. Programs like Ambassador and Referral Candy can help you handle online referrals for a fee, and offer easy analytics and reporting for a variety of business types, especially if you’re handling referrals on a large scale.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!

In the end, if you’re confident you’re giving premium customer service and keeping your clients happy, you shouldn’t be shy about asking for referrals. Obviously badgering your clients frequently for them is not a good idea, but a simple request on an invoice to like you on social media or tell their friends about your services is easy and non-intrusive. A small reminder may be all they need to keep you top of mind in their next conversation.

Bottom Line

No matter how much you spend on promoting your service, there really is no better way to get new business than word-of-mouth marketing. Not only is it essentially free, but it also builds off basic human nature – people want to share their positive experiences, and often look for recommendations from those they trust. By creating a positive and intuitive referral experience, you can easily generate leads for your business, no matter the industry you operate in.  

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