No matter what type of business you have, the absolute best form of marketing is and always will be gaining referrals. However as any business owner knows, getting referrals isn’t always an easy thing. In this article we’ll talk about how referrals combined with search engine optimization (SEO) and other forms of online marketing can create a killer, unstoppable marketing strategy.
Why Start With SEO?
SEO and online marketing are the best ways to start a cost effective, targeted, and result driven marketing campaign. By sending targeted traffic to a properly setup website, we can quickly increase any business’ client base dramatically at costs that are much lower than traditional marketing means. This means a better ROI and less costs than other forms of marketing.
As an online marketing company, we have seen fantastic results for many of our online marketing clients as shown in our portfolio, and starting out with online marketing can help any business, new or old, big or small gain new customers and clients to get that base in place to begin targeting referrals. SEO and online marketing will act as a base to gain a new pool of customers, at which point you can begin the referral part of the marketing campaign.
How Can SEO Progress Into Referrals?
Once you get some new customers from online marketing efforts, it’s important to go the extra step with each and every single one of these new customers. What does that mean? Well it means doing ALL of the following:
- Work hard: Work harder than you ever have before to over deliver on all of your promises
- Be competitive: Offer competitive pricing and be more competitive than your competitors
- Offer quality: Offer high quality products/services that will leave your new customers happy
- Customer service: This is perhaps the most important. Be personable, easily accessible, and offer the highest level of customer service humanly possible
Once you follow these four steps, you will have not only a base of new clients in place, but new clients who are extremely happy with your product/service. At this point in time, it’s important to cautiously begin with the referral program.
Establishing The Referral Program
So now we have a base of customers who are happy with our product/service, so it’s now the time to establish the referral program. What you do not want to do is beg for referrals or appear desperate for referrals. But what you do want to do is graciously request referrals from your happy customer base. Some ways to do this are:
- Thank you letter: Send them a thank you letter thanking them for their patronage. In closing, tell them that if they are happy with your services you would appreciate any referrals they can offer.
- Email: If you have a more personal relationship with them, you may want to drop them an email and tell them that since they are happy with your services, you appreciate any referrals they can offer.
- A referral program: Setup a program and send them an email announcing the program. The program can track referrals and give your customers a credit or free product/service for any referrals they offer (this is similar to an affiliate program).
- Do nothing at all: I have found through experience that often times just by following the four steps above to have extremely happy clients, they send referrals and even call or email me to tell me they will be sending referrals. This is the ultimate level you ultimately want to be at.
Exponential Growth Through SEO & Referrals
We mentioned this is a killer marketing strategy, and the reason for that is because of exponential growth. Let’s say we setup an SEO campaign costing $1,000 per month and get you two new clients each month (which is a very low number for an SEO campaign, but just used for example purposes).
Now let’s say those two new clients each month compound for 4 months, giving you a total of 8 new clients. And let’s say you do a fantastic job with those 8 new clients and are able to get 2 of them to send you 2 new referrals each, for a total of 4 referrals. Now you just gained 4 brand new clients as a direct result of that initial SEO campaign, and the process starts again.
With those 4 new clients, all you have to do is make them extremely happy and gain referrals from those new clients, who will get you more new clients who you can then get more referrals from. And all the while the SEO campaign is still running generating you new clients and opening the doors to more potential referrals.
As you can see, this can quickly lead to exponential growth for any company, and at a relatively low cost compared to other marketing. So in our opinion, a successful business and successful referral program starts with having a base for gaining new clients consistently, then exponentially growing by gaining referrals from each of those new clients you attract.
I can personally say as a business owner that this strategy not only works for our clients, but it also works for us. We have seen this exact exponential growth for ourselves, and would love to help your company see the same type of growth.