Does your B2B company fully recognize the power of referrals in driving new business? Many marketers still overlook the smart marketing tactics that encourage referrals, assuming current clients will do the legwork of recommending your business to others automatically and on their own. Making this assumption is a bad move for the modern B2B company that often relies on word of mouth to spread the reach of its products and services. We’ve already reviewed the basics for you by identifying the three main types of referrals, but in order to set things in motion, you’ll need to create a clear referral marketing strategy.
Here are seven referral marketing tips to keep in mind:
1. Engage Top Referral Sources
If you know your business well, it’s easy to identify potential referral sources within your list of current clients. Those you’ll want to keep an eye on might include clients that take advantage of multiple products or services, have outspoken and friendly team members, maintain a good relationship with your staff or account manager and work closely with companies that fit your ideal customer profile. Build upon your mutual trust by actively cultivating business and personal relationships, informing their team of your company’s developments and conducting yearly in-person meetings. If you do obtain a new lead or customer through a client referral, remember to personally thank them with a prompt phone call, handwritten note or small gift to show your appreciation.
2. Develop Case Studies
To increase reputation-based referrals, reach out to your top clients about creating a case study around their success story with your company. This can be a tricky tactic, as many times it’s difficult for a client to obtain approval from their leadership team to participate in a case study that will release specific data. However, this is one of the most direct ways to capture the interest of new leads who want to see real examples of your company’s work. Case studies and testimonials can take the form of a brief blog, a small feature on your website or a full-length case study. Circulating these “real-life” demonstrations of your capabilities in print or online will give prospects a better chance of encountering your work and understanding how your company can make a difference.
3. Showcase Your Clients Online
If there’s no conflict in revealing the names of certain clients, make the effort to broadcast the success of your customers and the great work you perform for them. Give presentations together at industry events, write articles that tout the results of your efforts and share their event attendance or recent press releases on your social channels. By making your clients more visible to your shared community, you can mutually boost awareness and improve your business relationship. This is a simple alternative to more complex reputation-based referral tactics.
4. Publish Your Client List
This tip is a no-brainer for a marketing agency like Sagefrog, but perhaps less intuitive for other B2B companies. Publishing your client list is an easy way to exhibit experience on your website. This helps visitors who are unfamiliar with your brand view your typical client and understand your specialties, increasing the likelihood of a specialization-based referral. Again, make sure to ask your clients for permission to mention them on your site or on marketing collateral. Alerting featured clients might also nudge them to make an experienced-based referral.
5. Engage Industry Experts
Connect with other leaders in your space such as writers of industry publications, indirect competitors and other thought leaders to offer up an outlet to share opinions about relevant and timely industry topics. By profiling these experts or showcasing their ideas on your own platforms, you give yourself and them a chance to share knowledge and initiate productive dialogue within your community. Your collaborative creations can be distributed through a blog, podcast, social media or any number of outlets to effectively increase awareness for both parties. This interaction will also set the foundation for experts to make both specialization-based and reputation-based referrals.
6. Distinguish Your Specialty
When more people know about your specific strengths, you’re more likely to get a specialization-based referral from website visitors or from those who hear about you through industry chatter. Don’t just operate in your field – define your distinct niche and tout your experience by highlighting special clients and projects. Possessing a specialty will position you as a leader in the industry, even if you’re not quite ahead of your competitors. Buyers often seek out businesses that advertise capabilities catering to highly specific needs, so don’t worry about pigeonholing your business – you’ll gain traction, attracting a unique audience and more qualified leads by satisfying the neglected needs of customers.
7. Make Invisible Teammates Visible
Don’t forget to leverage your internal team when building a referral marketing strategy. Put a face to high-profile individuals at your company via your website and consider talking to other team members about employee engagement. Don’t just sit on your talent. Highlight your leadership team and everyday experts through employee spotlight blogs and encourage staff to build professional personal brands online to engage with others in your field, including prospective customers. Friendly and discoverable teammates will increase your company’s brand awareness and help with reputation-based referrals.
Already practicing some of these tips? Incorporate the others into your referral marketing strategy to add another layer to next quarter’s marketing plan.
Do you need help with referral marketing or other B2B marketing services? Schedule a free consultation with the experts at Sagefrog to review your top marketing struggles and goals and get recommendations on the best tactics for your business.
In this consultation, we’ll review your current marketing efforts, challenges and goals to provide our expert recommendations. Your takeaway will be a free Marketing Plan Summary delivered within one week of your session.