By Published On: July 20, 2021

One of marketing’s biggest challenges is finding new leads. Pouring through data trying to find the right attributes, researching the best ways to reach your audience and testing the right messages to get their attention when you do find them.

But the best source of new leads may be within your own database. Over the course of my marketing career, I’ve witnessed the impact a passionately engaged audience can have on everything from the purchase of a Winnebago to enrollment in an educational program. And those happy customers and program graduates may be willing – even excited – to refer your company to their colleagues and friends.

A recent article from Forbes notes that 72% of B2B marketers report that referral programs generate good or excellent leads. And those leads are generally more highly qualified and come at a much lower cost than those generated elsewhere.

Following are some tips on making the most of a referral program to start generating warmer leads. Before you get started, though, make sure your customer personas are current and accurate so you can easily segment them to find your prospect target audiences.

  1. Surprise and delight: Go beyond making customers happy – make them ecstatic. Make sure they’re having the best possible experience every time they interact with your brand. So good, in fact, that they can’t help but share it with others.
  2. Sharing is caring: Make it easy for your supporters to share their positive experience on your web site and social media. Stay actively engaged with your strongest customers by responding to their comments and resharing their posts. Consider innovative or indirect methods of garnering referrals using your existing platforms.
  3. Make haste: Did a class of students just graduate from your program? Did you finish working on a successful project for a client? Now’s the time to act – when the experience is top-of-mind and relevant. Be direct – whether it’s sending an email requesting a referral or calling to ask for one personally.
  4. Say “please” and “thank you”: The first key is to ask. And if you’ve already asked, maybe it’s time to ask again in a different way. Regardless of the outcome, the words of your mother were never truer: “Remember to say thank you”. If a client or graduate has taken the effort to send a new lead your way, make sure you show your gratification whether the lead comes to fruition or dies on the vine. But whatever you do, “Do. Something”. There’s no worse action in a referral program than no action at all. Contact them – and the sooner the better.

If you’re ready to move ahead with formalizing a referral program, check out HubSpot’s step-by-step article – applicable for both businesses and educational programs – that walks you through the entire process. It provides information for necessary tasks like setting goals, offering incentives, program tracking and more.

Or, if you need help building a marketing referral strategy or program, give us a call. We understand the value of a good lead and would be happy to help you discover your untapped potential.

About the Author: Carol Wahl

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