I used to work for two separate, relatively large companies that ran annual client surveys. One question they asked customers was “How can we encourage you to refer us”. In both surveys over 80% of clients responded with “Ask”.
It was as simple as that – just ask.
Asking your customers to provide referrals or recommendations, particularly online, is of huge value to your business. Facebook, Google Maps and your own website has areas designed just for this and it’s an excellent way to organically optimise your ranking on search engines (also known as search engine optimisation or SEO).
When asking for a referral, make it as easy as possible for your customers. Send them the links to your website, social media pages or Google Maps location page where they can leave their review and, where relevant, ask them to tag you in the post and include a link back to your website. The more legitimate and trusted links you have to your website or social media pages will also help you rank higher in your SEO, thus increasing traffic to your website and revenue to your business.
Make this a business ritual by building a referral template into your communications with your customers, in particular your final invoice email. Another option to boost referrals is to incentivise, for eg “leave a review and receive $5 off your next purchase”.
Remember word of mouth, reviews and referrals is the biggest influential factor a new customer will use when deciding between you and your competitors.