Referral Marketing Program

Establishing a solid referral marketing program can be a proactive step that will greatly increase the potential for success of any business. Increasing the number of satisfied clients is an important goal for any venture. When these regular patrons spread positive reports about an organization, that organization's reputation in the community will grow. Hopefully, sales and commissions will grow as well. A referral marketing program involves increasing an organization's customer base through the recommendations of other consumers. But a successful entrepreneur will not just sit back and hope that regular customers are out there spreading the word. There is much more to a successful marketing plan than serving clients well and hoping for the best. Business advisors can help companies establish a plan for success that will keep customers coming back for more. Many of these plans will likely involve some kind of regular contact with clientele. This contact could include direct mail, newsletters, phone calls, or e-mail reminders of special sales or promotions. Offering a bonus incentive to patrons who bring in new business can be an effective method as well. Some advisors recommend a rule of three when it comes to thanking clients for referrals. Business owners should first thank the referring customer verbally, and then follow this up with a written expression of appreciation and finally some kind of gift or small token or gratitude.

Any entrepreneur who is interested in creating a referral marketing program can achieve this by taking certain key steps. These steps can include identifying the typical customer or ideal client, developing a system to market to these potential customers, building sound business practices that will increase customer satisfaction, direct mail campaigns, letter writing campaigns, utilizing social networks, creating lists of contacts, networking, or launching public relations campaigns. Identifying likely customers or pinpointing the characteristics of the ideal client is very important. Every type of business will appeal to a certain type of individual. For example, a pet supply store will want to gear their marketing practices toward consumers who love animals and are more than willing to spend money on a pet's welfare. Regular pet adoption events held at a pet supply store might be a smart marketing and public relations move for this type of business. Sending out newsletters that include helpful information on pet care can be another element of a successful referral marketing program. Something as simple as handing out business cards can be a straightforward, yet effective way to market a business or service. These cards might be used by a satisfied customer to tell friends about a good experience with a particular organization. Such referrals can be extremely effective. It is human nature to trust the recommendation of friends when making business choices.

Another effective type of referral marketing program can be found on the Internet. Online affiliate programs are particularly valuable for businesses that use e-commerce websites. These programs involve placing advertising on a variety of websites that in some way relate to the product that is being sold. Advertising can take a number of forms, from traditional ads to banners to simple text links. Webmasters who become part of an affiliate network are interesting in using their sites to bring in extra income. An affiliate network will connect these webmasters with the appropriate e-commerce vendor. The ads that are placed on the webmaster's site will generally contain links to the online business. If a web visitor should click on one of these links and make a purchase at the e-commerce site that is featured in the ad, the webmaster will receive a commission on the sale. This kind of high tech referral marketing program can provide the same kind of boost to sales that face to face promotions can often yield. But there is the comfort of anonymity since all contacts takes place online and in the privacy of the customer's home. Many networks that specialize in this kind of promotional activity will also provide training to participating webmasters and online business owners. Instruction on such topics as creating effective advertising graphics and utilizing keywords and search engine optimization might be offered.

When clients come to a business thanks to some kind of referral marketing program, statistics show that these customers tend to spend more money. In some cases, a more personal approach can be very effective, especially in a time of technological and automated contacts. Hand written notes on personalized note cards and stationary can go a long way in increasing customer good will. And the extra effort of such personal methods of outreach can usually cost significantly less than most advertising methods. Research and training can make all the difference for anyone who hopes to succeed in business. The Bible talks about the real value of wisdom. "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding." (Proverbs 3:13)

Traditional advertising can be part of an effective referral marketing program. When crafting any kind of advertising, the headline of the ad is very important. Advertising can provide very fleeting moments of contact with potential customers. Since this contact is so fleeting, the ad will need to get the most important information across very quickly. Most readers will read a headline, but ignore other copy. For this reason, the headline must be brief, catchy, and to the point. A truly well crafted headline can encourage potential customers to linger longer and perhaps even look further into the product that is being suggested in the ad.

Customer Referral Program

A customer referral program has been a staple of business commerce for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years. Few businesses can compete, let alone survive without procuring and taking advantage of referrals by current customers to seek out and integrate new prospects into mailing lists and eventual new sales targets. The little coffee shop around the corner gives out business cards to hand to friends for a free pastry at the bakery next door. The travel company offers a free cruise passage for every ten friends booked on the same cruise. A customer referral program can work in almost any type of business and can be quite lucrative for the one with plenty of friends and coworkers.

An affiliate partner networking plan is the new take on the traditional customer referral program in the arena of ecommerce. The dilemma of doing business on the Internet is the almost fathomless size of its territory. Newest estimates are that five billion pages of information and advertising rest within its borders. How can a business person possibly ever get his business to be known among all these pages? The answer is that probably he can't unless he is the first to mass market a car that runs on water. Instead the entrepreneur can rely on a customer referral program where he will never meet the people who are referring customers to his website.

For example, a small patio furniture manufacturer has developed a line of very contemporary deck chairs that are being gobbled up by nearby retailers in the towns surrounding the factory. Sales are brisk and the factory is humming along at a nice pace, but the owner wants more, a lot more. So a website is developed picturing the whole line of out of the box designed patio furniture. The owner of the factory then begins to look for the perfect network affiliate plans, the high tech answer to speeding up the old customer referral program process. These high tech and Internet savvy plans best work when a company joins an affiliate program that has a common theme related to its business. In this case, companies that deal in recreational, leisure and travel issues would be best suited for patio furniture manufacturer.

An Internet affiliate network program, the new customer referral program is easy to spot. Go to almost any website and look at the sponsored links, balloon ads, banner ads, pop-up ads and other sometimes irritating but eye catching ads. When one looks closely at the subject matter of the ads being advertised, they are related in some manner to the host website. They may or may not be direct competitors with the company and may not be pushing the same type of product, but they will probably be related somehow. The next door ice cream parlor may be referred by the sandwich shop and the tire company may be referred by the auto travel club. And that is a reminder that in the world of the Internet, competitors may refer one another because comparison shopping on the web is a given anyway and anyone knows that one hamburger chain loves to park next door to another.

In the case of the patio furniture manufacturer, the affiliate partner program that the company joined allowed text only links on other websites. Balloons and banners and crawlers were considered too gauche for the clientele sought. So off to the side of over six hundred websites dealing with leisure and relaxation and home decor was a link that read oneofakindpatiofurniture along with others companies' links to other sorts of leisure products. And yes, there were links to other patio furniture manufacturers on some of those six hundred websites. By the way, has anyone ever harmed your reputation or physically or emotionally hurt and you are holding unforgiveness in your heart? Jesus said, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15)

The compensation for an Internet customer referral program is built around three tried and true methods. The first is called pay per click. This first method of compensation would have the furniture company pay the six hundred websites a small fee each time a visitor clicked on the oneofakindpatiofurniture link sending the surfer directly to the company's website. Pay per click can range from a few cents to tens of dollars for just one click. Of course, websites with huge traffic to begin with can demand a higher pay per click compensation for their affiliate network plan participation. The second method of compensation is called pay per action and this method has the sponsored link pay when a customer visits its site and fills out information such as email address and name. The final method of payment is the straight commission which is usually reserved for big ticket items such as cars, loans and other more expensive items. If a click can shown to be the beginning of a loan process or the purchase of a particular automobile, the fees to the host website can quite handsome.

In today's business, a customer referral program is not done because it's just a nice thing to do. The plans are conceived for one thing, and that is to generate more capital for one's own company. Some companies can make as much as fifty thousand dollars a month hosting links to other companies. The downside to all this is that the reputations of these linked companies may not be as sterling as the host might desire. Unlike the decades where a person would not recommend any other business without personal knowledge of the quality of the work, it really is all about the money. Times, they are a changin'.

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