Word-of-Mouth Referrals to Market Your Small Business

December 13, 2017

Marketing is hard, and if you’re new to the business world, it can seem especially intimidating! When you’re knee-deep in trying to run a small business, the last thing you want to think about is how to market yourself to potential clients. This is where word-of-mouth referrals can be a lifesaver. Since people tend to network within their own industries, the ability to tap into an entire audience with minimal effort on your end is priceless. So, what do you have to do? 

Provide an Exceptional Service 

If you’re good at what you do, people are likely to talk about it. You want to make such an impact, that your clients can’t resist telling others, and it’s the smallest details that make the biggest difference. Maybe your client said something off-hand about being unavailable Tuesday due to a relative’s surgery. Stepping away from business long enough to genuinely talk about those things that affect your clients on a personal level can mean everything. Are they well enough to be focused on the project on Wednesday, or should you push it off? Maybe you picked up on their favorite flower during a conversation, and are incorporating that essence into a photo or design, however applicable. When you provide a service, you’re dealing in people as well as in business. 

Everyone Loves a Good Deal

Passing on information is much more fun when people can benefit from it. Offer existing clients the opportunity to earn a percentage off their future services when they refer someone, and offer a discount to newly-referred clients, too. If existing clients continually bring in new people, you can consider offering them additional discounts, special services, or even a unique thank you gift, as a way to acknowledge their referrals. There are many ways to reward word-of-mouth referrals and encourage people to keep talking about you! 

Put Yourself Out There 

If you’re looking for referrals, let your current clients know. Pass along business cards or emails that can be easily traded among colleagues and friends. A nudge to others that you’re looking to grow is likely to bring in business. It never hurts to ask.

It’s a Two-Way street

If you’re asking others to be a talking billboard, you should be willing to do the same. Maybe one of your clients offers a service that you know could be valuable to someone within your network. Refer people in your network to your clients who offer needed products and services. When you show that you’re willing to put in the footwork for someone else, the chances of the favor being returned improve.

Say Thanks

Offering gratitude is a win every time. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and if a client or colleague has done you the favor of a word-of-mouth referral, the least you can do is send a thank you note. Someone took a moment to vouch for you and your business, and your gratitude will make continued loyalty more likely. 

It’s one thing to refer someone to a great business; it’s another to refer someone to a great person.  Build strong relationships and deliver excellent service, and you’ll impress others enough to speak on your behalf. 

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