With all the advertising and marketing tools CMOs have at their disposal, nothing has quite the impact of referrals from friends, colleagues, and sometimes even complete strangers.

Word-of-mouth marketing

Add a personal layer to a customer’s education about a brand, making them more likely to convert. But in an era where a large portion of human communication is conducted through electronic devices, how will proactive CMOs and their teams best encourage customers to recommend a brand?

Thanks to social media and online review sites, word-of-mouth marketing is no longer limited to in-person conversations. But it’s still important that CMOs know solid methods for getting that conversation started. This article from Forbes goes through a few things your business can do to encourage referrals for your business.

Utilize Brand Loyalists

No matter how long you’ve been in business, you likely have at least a couple of loyal customers. These may be people you see in your store every week or those you can readily identify through a report of your returning customers. As CMO, have your team reach out to those people and offer a lucrative reward in exchange for sending a friend your way.

Utilize Experiential Marketing

When it comes to building a loyal following, the in-person approach still has an advantage. Good CMOs will find opportunities to meet customers in person in a way that allows them to showcase your brand. This type of marketing has the added benefit of allowing you to capture contact information and data about participants, especially if you use an Experience Relationship Management (ERM) platform. You’ll be able to capture valuable data about the impact of your experience and build relationships with attendees in the months following, helping create bonds that will lead to lifelong fans.

Additionally, experiential marketing is a birthplace of social media activity and word of mouth marketing – it’s where you’ll help to spawn conversations, Twitter posts, Instagram stories, and social media mentions of your brand as participants run to tell their friends about their experience.

Find Influences

A recommendation from a customer is powerful. But a recommendation from a customer who has hundreds of thousands of online followers can make a sizable dent in your growth efforts. Often businesses find that offering free product samples or service trials is an effective way to get reviews from those high-profile social media members.

Nurture Online Reviews

Although it isn’t the same as a personal recommendation, online reviews can give a customer the nudge they need to give your business a try. Make sure you have a presence on the review sites your customers are likely to use, such as Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook. Once you have those profiles in place, encourage customers to leave reviews by including links in your purchase confirmation emails and on your website.

Surprise and Delight

Little things can go a long way in encouraging customers to leave a review. That could be anything from providing top-quality service to settling a customer service complaint in an above-and-beyond manner. There are several things you can do to surprise and delight your customers, including offering freebies and sending a thank-you note. Both provide photo opportunities that stand out on news feeds when your customers receive them. While there’s no guarantee you’ll get a referral off this type of behavior, if you routinely go the extra mile for your customers, you’ll find you get more word-of-mouth recommendations than if you didn’t.

Make It Easy

Most of your customers are limited on time, especially if you’re a B2B organization. The easier you can make the process of referring you to others, the better. Have your team write up a social media post your satisfied customers can share or place a form on your website to capture feedback from your customers. If you get permission from the customers completing the form, you can share the information as a testimonial on your own website, helping build confidence in anyone who visits your site.

For CMOs looking to grow the brand on a budget, referrals are a fabulous way to get the job done. With the right approach, you can encourage existing customers to willingly tell others about you. While asking for referrals, however, don’t forget to build an online presence that encourages reviews and testimonials that will win customers for many years to come.

The team at Zephyr Digital Design are experts at spreading the word about your business. Through social media, online reviews, online relationship management, and more, they will grow your customer base. Click here to get in touch with them.