Referral Marketing: How to Get Your Customers to Promote Your Brand
Whether you’re new to referral and affiliate marketing or have been using them to grow your business for years, finding people to promote your brand is always a priority.
The good news is, you don’t have to look far to find some great affiliates (or referral partners, which technically is pretty much the same).
Who better to promote your brand than your customers?
Why customer promotions are so effective
Customers are trustworthy
Customers provide an authentic voice and backing for your business, promoting your brand in a way that traditional marketing cannot.
In fact, 92% of global consumers trust word-of-mouth more than other forms of advertising.
There are no ads, gimmicks and catch phrases to make new customers feel like they are being sold to. Instead, it is someone showing why they chose to spend money on your business and why others should too.
Customers offer unique insight
With more and more options online, the buying experience can be overwhelming. And in some cases, unreliable. As a result, we seek out what others have said about a brand and use this to guide us.
Customers can promote your brand using their own experience — sharing how they used your product/service, what they liked about it and their overall experience.
Their content can include how-to guides, detailed reviews and personal reviews.
And these promotions can be pretty powerful, with 85 percent of consumers finding user-generated content more influential than brand photos or videos.
Customers love being rewarded
Happy customers are more likely to share their experience with others, and this is especially true if they can be rewarded.
It’s a win-win. The opportunity to become an affiliate can also be exciting for customers. And then, rewarding customers for referrals is a great way to build brand loyalty.
There are a couple ways to reward referrals - this includes monetary compensation (like a percentage of a sale), discounts or upgrades to premium services.
Great examples of referral programs include Dropbox and Uber.
How to get customers to promote your business
Start by providing excellent customer service
Happy customers make great affiliates. Customer service is vital for keeping customers happy with 54% of people saying it impacts their purchasing decisions.
Additionally, 77% of respondents share their positive experiences with a business through social media, online reviews or simply telling a friend.
If customers refer others to your product solely as a result of excellent customer service, there’s a good chance they will be interested in your affiliate program.
Connect with the “right” customers
Beyond the affiliate being a happy customer, you’ll want to find someone who will be active in promoting your product or service. Here’s a few things to consider when seeking out customers to be affiliates…
Give customers time to really become acquainted with your business. Asking customers to become affiliates too early can be a critical mistake for not only the affiliate program but also for the overall business. Customers need to feel invested in the product or service before they are asked to advocate on the businesses’ behalf.
Next, connect with customers in an intentional manner. One strategy for finding potential affiliates is by setting up a simple survey.
Ask your customers something along the lines of “Would you recommend us to your friends, family or colleagues?”.
Having direct survey questions can be particularly useful because not every satisfied customer will want to be an affiliate. These questions are a more concise way of finding the right affiliates for your program.
Don’t limit yourself to only connecting with customers that have blogs, websites or large social media followings.
It is easy to gravitate to the notion that “bigger is better” and an influencer with 100,000 followers is your coveted key to unlocking a utopia of traffic.
While we won’t discredit large channels, as they are undoubtedly useful in exposure, other customers could have the ability to reach new audiences in a more personal and engaged way. The best digital word-of-mouth could be an everyday customer sharing a positive review with a link on Facebook.
Make it easy to sign up for your affiliate program
You’ll want customers to transition into affiliates as soon as possible, so programs should be designed in a way that is easy and accessible for all regardless of skill level or experience.
Think simple sign ups, thorough on-boarding and easy-to-use tools. One strategy for accessibility is to have a dedicated affiliate page that details all aspects of your program and can referred back to as often as needed.
The focus for affiliates should be on sharing your product, not operational tasks or functions. Take away any barriers that could deter customers from your program; this could be requiring too many steps, using unfamiliar terminology or not being mobile-friendly.
Bonus tip: Create plenty of easy-to-share marketing assets for you affiliates. This is one less step for them, and you have more control over the branding and quality of materials that are being shared. Learn more about marketing assets here.
Communicate with affiliates often
Remember how we said customer service is important? Well this also applies to affiliate programs.
Affiliate marketing can be a new (and tricky) concept for many people, and there may be a lot of questions or the need for guidance.
Being reachable and accommodating is vital for an affiliate program; and after all these customers are reaching out with questions for how they can better help your business grow, so help them do just that.
Tangible ways of helping customers become affiliates include personalized emails, newsletter updates or even taking the time to call and chat about any questions or ideas they may have. As a golden rule, always aim to make your communication with affiliates as personalized as possible.
Again, finding affiliates will be an on-going task in managing your affiliate program. However, if you seek out the right affiliates, the efforts will pay off as you’ll see an increase in traffic and sales.
Ready to get started?
We’ve made it easy to start recruiting exisiting customers.
Using Tapfiliate’s Affiliate Recruitment feature, you can automatically invite your new customers to promote your business. Using this tool, new customers (those that are not yet affiliates) will be automatically sent a referral link that they can instantly use to spread the word about your business.