Referral Marketing: 5 Tips for Creating Brand Promoters

Everyone has a product that has completely changed their life! And what is the first thing you do after you have found a miracle product? You want to shout it from the rooftops – you make sure everyone knows about exactly how much better your life is! All of your friends and family learn about this product and the brand that has impacted your life so much. That brand is getting completely FREE marketing, and it’s because people like you loved their product, service, or brand so much that they had to tell everyone about it.

Referral marketing is completely free for your brand, and it is one of the best forms of marketing. People trust their friends and family members more than a company or a commercial. Recommendations from friends are the best way to convince someone to buy your product or service because it comes from someone they deem credible. You need real people to advertise your brand so they can show that you are credible and that you have genuinely made a difference in a real person’s life, not just some actor in a commercial.

Customers vs. Brand Promoters: What’s the Difference?

Customers are any person that purchases your product or service. They see that what you provide is valuable to them in some way, whether it changes their life or just helps to solve a short-term problem. Customers interact with the products and services you offer more than your brand itself, though they may follow you on social media outlets. Brand Promoters, on the other hand, are people from your customer base that are actually invested in your brand as a whole. They want to connect your brand with their personal identity because they believe in not only your products or services, but who you are. Promoters are people that connect with your brand through email and on social media, and share what they love about you with their friends, family, and the rest of the world. These customers are usually repeat buyers. You have impacted their lives through what you sell or how you sell it. Obviously not all customers are or will be brand promoters, but the good news is that you have the power to convert inactive customers into loud and proud brand promoters! Customers who help you grow your business by telling their family, friends, colleagues, and social media sphere about you is called Referral Marketing. Below are some quick tips to help you convert your customer base into the best free advertising available through developing a Referral Marketing strategy!

Use Clear and Concise Branding


Storybrand is a great example of clear and concise branding. They keep their message clear throughout all of their branding materials, along with keeping it short and simple enough for anyone to remember.

This is a good tip for anyone trying to sell a product or service, but it is especially important if you are trying to move people from customers to promoters. If your advertising is easy to understand and easy to remember, it makes sharing your message easier. No one wants to represent a company whose message is hard to explain to others, or that doesn’t have a consistent focus for them to share. Establishing clear and concise marketing not only attracts new customers, but it allows your promoters to effectively share your brand with people that have no idea who you are. The digital marketing guru Donald Miller is often quoted saying, “If you confuse, you lose,” – and I couldn’t agree more. Create a brand that will easily stick in someone’s mind. Keep it consistent across all platforms and throughout the entire customer experience. The more people that hear about and remember your brand, the more easily they will become buyers and eventual promoters

Fully Understand Your Customers

Starbucks is a brand that completely understands their customer base. They offer the College Achievement Plan to help the students that work for them make their way through college. They know how to appeal to their entire customer base, especially their target customers: college students.

When you understand your target customers, you will know what they really want from your brand. As I said in our last blog post, it will give you insight about why they buy and how you can effectively market to them. Showing these customers you understand them brings down their defenses, opening them up to the idea of building a relationship with your brand. Creating a sense of community will take both of you further in the long run. People that become brand promoters want to be a part of something bigger than just themselves – they want to feel important! Showing them that your brand understands them, cares about them, and is actively rooting for them to succeed will cause them to feel invested in your brand. Remember to consider what motivates your customer base emotionally – what deeper need can you speak to and satisfy that will make them feel valued? Creating these customer connections is an important step in moving customers toward becoming promoters. Without giving your customers a connection to your brand, without making them want to reach out and interact with your company, you will never be able to move someone past just purchasing.

Focus on Building Relationships

L.L. Bean has become famous because of their 100% Customer Satisfaction Guarantee. They have now capped it at 1 year from the date of purchase, but they used to accept anything, no matter how long ago you bought it. The company said the change was because of an abuse of the old policy, but 1 year is still a pretty generous offer considering most return policies give you between 14 days to a few months.

This is likely the MOST important tip on this list! You have to work from day 1 to build a relationship with your customers. Making your customers feel special and showing them that you care about them more than a sale will resonate. Relationships between brands and their customers are important for creating buyers, but they are even more important for converting buyers into brand promoters. Make sure everyone associated with your brand is having genuine interactions with customers. Do something extra, even something small (think “My pleasure!”), for your customers that proves you’re thinking about them. Make sure to stay in touch with your customers that are actively engaging with your brand. When someone reaches out to you, make sure they receive a genuine response – even if it is a simple as responding to a tweet or Facebook message! A lot of companies stop putting effort into the relationship once the initial sale is made, but this is a huge mistake. Nurturing the relationship with your customers beyond the sale is essential to making them a repeat buyer and getting them to truly connect with your brand. Show your customers that you care about them even after you’ve achieved your goal of getting them to buy.

Your Brand Reputation Matters

Dawn is a company that has a great reputation because of the work they do with wildlife. Their campaign for cleaning up wildlife after oil spills really took off with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Not only was it a good strategy to show how well their products worked, but it also gained them some credibility and enhanced their reputation.

Promoters care immensely about your brand’s reputation. They are aligning themselves with your company, so they want to make sure that you won’t make them look bad. Your brand reputation matters much more to a promoter than a regular customer because they are aligning their personal identity with your brand. You need to consider your reputation so that people can’t find a reason to avoid aligning with you. Participate in charity work, avoid scandals, and get involved with what is trending to keep your reputation in good standing. If there is something controversial in the news, it’s usually best not to say anything at all. Remember, a promoter wants the influence of your brand to help their reputation as much as they are helping you. Be a company they can feel proud and confident about representing.

Create an Engagement Plan

After a sale, your new goal should be to turn those customers into repeat buyers and brand promoters. Your focus should be on continuing the relationship you worked so hard to establish by staying relevant to their wants and needs. Offer potential promoters free content to reinforce your value after their purchase. Show them that the time they spend promoting your brand is worthwhile by offering them exclusive discounts and special “members only” promotions. Make it easy for them to refer, by creating a section of your website just for this purpose. Use referral codes to track their activity and reward them for bringing you new business with credit or discounts. Just like it is easier to retain or win back a customer than it is to create one, it is easier to retain a brand promoter than create one. Once you have converted a customer to a promoter, you need a plan to keep them engaged and motivated about spreading positive information about your brand. Get creative with your Referral Marketing, and make sure you consistently show your promoters how much they are worth so you don’t lose them!

Here are a few examples of referral plans and programs that you could model your engagement plan after:

  1. Hulu
  2. Google G Suite
  3. AirBnB
  4. Acorns
    Marketing is hard if you don't know what you're doing or where to begin. If you need guidance with branding or developing your marketing strategy, the LETSDEVELOP.TV team would be happy to help! Contact us today to get a free consultation so you can take your marketing from functional to exceptional. Reach out to us HERE!

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