The Power Referral Marketing has on your Digital Presence
Published: February 27, 2019
I discuss marketing options to countless business owners, marketing directors and business administrators every week and almost every conversation includes one of these two responses:
- “My business is built on referrals, so I don’t need Digital Marketing”
- “I hate only relying on referrals, I would rather go full in on Digital Marketing instead.”
Many business owners are unaware that by combining a referral marketing strategy and a digital marketing strategy into one, customers can be acquired by the sum of relationship building and strategic digital marketing.
Marketing Through Networking (Referral Marketing)
Referral Marketing continues to be a vital source of sales for many small businesses across the country. Referral Marketing is essentially the sales representative or business owner spreading the word of the products or services they offer to their current customers and then their current customer (happy with the product or service) shares it with their family and friends.
Taken to the next step Referral Marketing is similar to Marketing Through Networking. Marketing Through Networking is when a representative of the business attends local events hosted by other business owners, non-profit organizations or lead-generation groups to create relationships and seek referrals.
Both of these referral-based marketing strategies are perfect for small businesses with small marketing budgets because they require developing relationships and trust with other people rather than advertising and educating.
Digital Marketing is a broad term for any type of direct or in-direct advertising through a digital platform, this includes websites, search engine optimization, Google Ads, social media content, social media advertisement, television advertisement and the list goes on.
The major difference between Digital Marketing and Referral Marketing is Digital Marketing seeks to create a relationship between the user and the brand/business, while Referral Marketing seeks to create a relationship between a potential customer and the person within the business.
Digital Marketing is advantageous for many businesses because the brand of the company and is more likely to remain stable no matter the rate of employee turnover. The brand is also the business, so business owners attempting to grow their business outside of the local area, digital marketing can reach those potential customers and start building a relationship digitally. The downside to Digital Marketing is it takes longer the build this relationship when compared to relationships built via Referral Marketing.
Why You Should Combine These Strategies
Digital Marketing and Referral Marketing both have significant qualities that the other does not, but combined your business can reap the rewards of both strategies.
How Do We Do This?
If you are in the Referral Marketing pool, then you want to establish a digital marketing strategy. If you have a website but even you don’t like telling people to visit it, then it’s time for a refresh. It’s important to not stop what you are doing when it comes to your Referral Marketing Strategy. If you are a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, keep going to events, if you are apart of a lead generation group then keep your attendance up. Your digital marketing strategy will take time to develop and grow into something that can assist your Referral Marketing efforts.
If you put all of your eggs into the Digital Marketing basket, then start networking. Networking can be hard if you are more introverted than extroverted or if you are not necessarily comfortable speaking to new people. If this is you, then take my advice and get out of your comfort zone. Over half of the people who attend networking events were uncomfortable, including me at first, but once you get used to the flow of a networking event, it becomes second nature. If your new, I recommend investing in your local Chamber of Commerce and seeing what monthly networking events they have to offer. Sometimes going to a single networking event can jump-start your Referral Marketing engine.
Once you have established your weakest strategy, now it’s time to put both to work to generate more quality leads. Below I will go through a few basic examples:
The Website Push
When attending any networking event, more than likely your competition will be networking in the room with you trying to gain business. If you are in business of real estate, financial advisement or marketing, there could be more than one other competitor in the room.
The Website Push is a great way to separate you from the crowd, by providing the potential customer additional information (furthering the value of your expertise) by referencing a specific blog or page on your website. Let’s look at an example below:
Fred (Real Estate Agent) - Hello, I’m Fred.
Linda (New to Town, Looking for A House) - Hi, I’m Linda. What Do You Do?
Fred – I am a local real estate agent, helping new families find their forever home in ABC town. How about you?
Linda – Awesome, I recently relocated to ABC from XYZ town with my company.
Fred – Welcome to ABC! If you are looking to find some great things to do here in ABC, I actually maintain an events blog on my website so I can help new people become acquainted with all of the amazing things this town has to offer. I will write the address on my business card so you can check it out.
Linda – Wonderful! I would love that! Thank You!
What’s unique about this interaction between Fred and Linda is that Fred knew Linda was new to town, but did not know that Linda was looking for a house. Instead of asking, he provided her with some education instead of a service. When Linda goes to check out all of the latest events that evening, she will also see blogs for “best neighborhoods in ABC”, “best schools in ABC” and a ton of relevant articles.
Linda is more likely to choose Fred to help her buy a house because he has proven his expertise through his Digital Marketing while still leveraging his Referral Marketing strategy.
The Email Capture
The Referral Marketing and Digital Marketing relationship takes time to grow and mature into sales opportunities, however leveraging The Email Capture Method could help that relationship mature faster and become more fruitful. The goal of the Email Capture Method is to capture people’s emails while networking, so they learn more about your expertise. This is how a typical conversation works:
Angela (Health Coach) – Hi, I’m Angela.
Mark (Networker and Father) – Hey, I’m Mark.
Angela – Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you Mark. Do you own a business?
Mark – Not quite, I am planning to start one next year when my youngest starts school. What do you do?
Angela – That great! I am a Health Coach. I help people make the right choices to improve their health without feeling like they are missing out on all the food they love.
Mark – That’s amazing! I have certainly felt like I was choosing between eating healthy and eating the food I love before.
Angela – Well, if you are interested, I send out a free receipt to all of my followers every week to help them expand their food palate. If you would like I can add you to the list, it’s free for anyone to sign up.
Mark – That would be great! Thanks!
What’s significant about this interaction is that Angela, never tried to explain why she was better or more experienced than her competition, she also never tried to get Mark to signup for a free consultation. Angela simply provided a way for Mark to learn on his own.
Now that Mark is apart of Angela’s email list, she can send him specific information based on the conversation they had. This will help Mark understand Angela’s expertise and may help the relationship advance in the future.
The Location Targeting Method
The Location Targeting Method is more a strategic marketing method than anything else and it’s based on the fact that as people walk into networking events or when they leave, the first thing they do it grab their phones.
This method requires a little more prep time than the previous methods and does require you to have a website and a Facebook Business Page. The goal of this method is to capture people’s attention before and after the networking event to either start the relationship, or strengthen the relationship.
Step #1: Decide what networking events have either the highest quantity of potential customer or the highest quality of potential customers. You don’t want to apply this method if you don’t have a high quantity or high-quality networking audience.
Step #2: Set up a targeted Facebook Campaign to the networking site. If you are unfamiliar with Facebook Ad Location Targeting, then we are here to help you with this one-time or reoccurring process.
Step #3: Create an AMAZING ad. This is no generic ad that is going to been seen by thousands of people who have never met you, this ad will be seen by people who have met you at the networking event or are about to meet you.
Step #4: Link the ad to something the audience will find helpful. This could be an Email Capture campaign or a link to a free consultation or even a relevant blog.
Step #5: Run the ad from about 30-minutes prior to the event starting to about 30-minutes after the event ends.
The significance of this method is the introduction to your digital platform, targeted to people who have either recently met you or are about to meet you. By giving away this free information, the user who may have just had a conversation with you an hour before now knows who you are and is more willing to click the ad and learn more about what you do.
Referral and Digital Marketing by themselves can be profitable for businesses, however combined, the results can be astounding! Try one of these strategies today or contact us to learn how we can help you grow your Referral and Digital Marketing Strategies.