This is a guest post provided by a contributor from Referral Rock.
Many service businesses explore different channels to market their business. As it turns out, referral marketing, is a top option for service pros.
People are actually a lot more likely to use a service or buy from a specific brand when referred by a friend. So when a business taps into their customer relationships with referral marketing, it makes for epic customer acquisition.
Referral marketing programs tend to work best for businesses that are already doing well, meaning they already have a lot of happy customers. This is because these are the people who will be spreading the word, unlike those who are unhappy. However, any service business that strives to continuously improve their customer’s experience should test and see if referral marketing can be a viable marketing channel as the advantages are great (more on this below).
One thing to note: referral programs are not intended to be a quick overnight fix, or some sort of saving grace. They take some work to set up and rely on an already happy customer base, but if again, if you focus on a world-class customer service, your business will be ripe for referral marketing.
What is Referral Marketing and Why Is it Great for Field Service Pros?
Referral marketing is all about using the influence of customers and partners to bring in new leads. It really taps into word of mouth marketing, and encourages customers to talk about a business with friends.
Field service businesses are actually the perfect breeding ground for referrals. In fact, many service-based businesses receive referrals naturally. This is because customers of these types of businesses experience the service first hand and get to know the person/business providing the service, making it even more easy to share and refer.
6 Ways Referrals Can Help Your Service Business
The most obvious reason referrals are great is because they create new business. There are, however, multiple other reasons referrals can help a service business. Let’s cover the other reasons referrals help.
1. Referrals are great promotion
Most people can understand how important it is to promote their business. They also know how expensive and difficult it can be to successfully market their business. So when a service business runs a referral program, they are essentially having their customers do the hard work for them, at a cheaper price than traditional marketing.
The thing is people like bragging. This is especially true when a customer has a good experience. This bragging serves as an open advertisement for the company.
“Hey, I love you new haircut”, “Oh, thank you! Becca at Color Cuts did it!”.
See how easy it is for word of mouth to travel? The reach of one happy customer is pretty outstanding. In fact, you have probably used some sort of service because a friend recommended it to you, which brings us to another reason referrals are great for marketing…
Usually people refer friends who need the service you provide, which means many referrals are actually people in your target market. Customers literally do the dirty work for you and weed out those in their circle who aren’t a fit. This means you’ll get leads that have a greater chance of converting to customers.
2. You’ll get good reviews
There are many reasons you get good reviews. Referrals happen to be one of the reasons. Many customers who refer or have been referred to you will go out of their way to provide you good reviews. This is because these people feel invested in your company. Let’s be real, it’s a lot easier to get customers to provide feedback for you if they feel like they are emotionally invested in your business.
Often times, people will read reviews about a business or service to help them decide if it’s a fit. So by asking for reviews from customers, especially those who have referred you already, you are really doing yourself a huge favor.
3. Return customers increase
You might not realize this, but, people who refer you are likely to remain loyal customers. This is especially true if a coupon or return discount is given to the referrer. As you can imagine, if someone refers a friend to your business, they probably like what you do. If they like what you do, they will continue to use your services. This can be true even when a return discount isn’t involved or given to the referrer.
Referrals create a relationship between a customer and the business. If incentives are involved, it makes the whole system mutually beneficial to both parties. Everyone gets a little something, whether it be acknowledgement, a coupon, or even a higher monetary reward like a gift card.
4. It builds up your trust factor
A referral or recommendation from a friend makes it easy to establish trust. In fact, people would rather have a recommendation from a friend, than hear a traditional ad or marketing tactic.
This trust is easily established because no one wants to recommend their friends to something that isn’t worth their time. People often times will only share if the business is great. This is because customers will also factor in their own reputation. If they feel like sending a referral to you will negatively impact their reputation, they won’t refer.
This is a good thing though. It means your service business will likely receive good leads. And since these leads already have a sense of trust for your business, they are more likely to convert as a customer as well. Usually, when someone is referred, there is a higher chance they will make a purchase. Again, this is because of the trust that’s been built in.
5. Influencers will emerge
This one might be obvious. If you have a customer who is sending you referrals all the time, it means they really like what you’re doing. Any good referral marketing software can help you track your top referrers. This is more important than you know.
Your top referrers can easily transition into influencers and even brand advocates. This is good because these people usually have a really easy time getting their friends to listen. Or, even better, if they have a large fan base or following on social media, they will be putting you in front of a ton more people.
These super referrers may end up deserving a little more than the rest of your referrers. So you may consider adding them to their own elite referral marketing campaign where the incentives may be slightly bigger than your typical program. Or you may offer additional incentives like a brand t-shirt or some other freebie.
6. It’s a great add-on to your scheduling confirmation emails
We’ve all seen confirmation emails that do just a little more than confirm an appointment or purchase. A lot of businesses will tack on current sales and promotions. Some even mention their referral program.
Really, an appointment confirmation is the perfect place to promote a referral program, because often times it means some sort of incentive is involved. If someone knows they are confirmed for an appointment in the future, they may try to snag the incentive (like a coupon), before they get their service done.
Referral Marketing is Great For Service Businesses
Service businesses have many touch points with customers, that can warrant positive customer experiences… which are opportunities to ask for referrals. Even though positive customer experiences, on their own, can lead to natural word of mouth and referrals. Simply figuring out how to ask for referrals from your customers can further increase this word of mouth to happen. And fortunately, asking happy customers usually results in great leads, meaning more business for you.
Megan Mosley is the marketing specialist at Referral Rock who believes every business has the potential to increase their word of mouth. When she’s not working, she enjoys sipping on coffee and hanging out with her dog, Mollie.
Last modified: February 20, 2018