Too often, a company overlooks the fact that one of its greatest untapped resources is its good reputation. If you have a group of customers that love your products or services, it’s time to strategize around ways to turn their evangelism and advocacy into a steady revenue stream for your organization.
It’s all about the hourglass funnel. Marketers have traditionally thought of the demand funnel as an inverted triangle that ends at the sale. The modern marketing demand funnel looks more like an hourglass, with post-sale programs designed to increase wallet share, cross-sell ancillary products and services, decrease attrition, and promote adoption.
Most of your competitors are focused on top-of-funnel lead acquisition strategies, and many of them are using stale and dry product-based messaging that is all too easy to delete.
Imagine if you turned a little bit of attention away from the ever-pressing goal of expanding the size of your database, and instead cultivated leads by incentivizing the people that already believe in your brand to recommend your goods and services to their peers.
Stirring testimonial videos, educational resources, and thought leadership pieces don’t always have to be exclusively prospect-facing if they deliver real value. Put them to extra use by weaving them into a motivating referral program pitch.
The ultimate reward of the referral program should be truly motivating to your clients: a real incentive. When choosing it, ask yourself if that reward would actually motivate you to take 5 minutes out of your day to send along the name and email of a colleague of yours.
In fact, would it motivate you to take that action more than once, or to share the promotion with your social network? Think big. Enter all the clients that submit referrals into a drawing for money, gift cards, vacations, or unique experiences–not just discounts on your products. You can give them an additional entry for every referral they submit.
Be sure to spread the word.Use a multichannel execution strategy to promote the program on your site, in your newsletters, and on your social properties. Create a buzz and get people excited. You can even incentivize social sharing with contests or rewards in addition to your referral program’s main incentive.
Finally, when the program’s a big hit, consider leveraging it on a regular basis, perhaps even a few times a year, but be sure to watch for list fatigue by keeping a careful eye on your unsubscribe rate. Because you are communicating with clients, you need to treat them with great respect so that they will continue to be loyal brand evangelists for life.
As a DemandGen Account Director and Marketo Certified Expert, Lauren McCormack specializes in data-driven digital marketing, demand generation, content marketing, team leadership, and marketing strategy.