Using online marketing tactics to generate awareness about a referral program you’ve developed is the most cost effective method to reach the most people as quickly as possible. While certain traditional marketing approaches may be very successful and one-on-one meetings are always effective, using your existing online channels and email lists will jump start your company’s marketing activity.
Most online marketing solutions are relatively inexpensive or free so be sure to utilize all the various options available, including email, newsletter campaigns, Facebook, Twitter and blog posts. If you’re promoting the referral program to people outside your network, than consider posts on relevant web forums and other online communities. Keep a consistent message with your online marketing activities. Be sure to front load the incentives, this way if you’re paying cash or with other rewards customers will know what to expect by sending you a lead. As with any online marketing activity, keep the message short, sweet and direct and be sure to include the necessary contact information needed to send in a referral.
Social Media Sites
Hopefully your company already has profiles all major social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with core customers and industry leaders following your company’s activity. Make sure to reward the first people that send referrals your way. For example; “The first five leads that close get something extra in return for their effort”. Every time someone sends you a new lead that closes, thanking them on your social media profiles is a great way to really get the ball rolling and show that people are participating in the referral program.
Email, Newsletter, Blog
Sending out emails informing your existing customer base about your referral program is an excellent way to reach each person. Messages can be missed on social sites as most people do not live on Facebook or Twitter every moment of the day. A direct email that points to more information on a blog post can help increase the number of people aware of your referral program.
Web Forums and Online Communities
If the referral program you designed is available for anyone regardless of their association with your company, than finding online communities that will allow you to post information about the program can be very valuable. This tends to work best when you’re already an active member of a web forum where you can post a message discussing the referral opportunity. However; if you post messages randomly on forums without first becoming an active member, you’re likely have the post removed and this will do more harm than good to your brand.
Building a strong presence in relevant online communities is a solid marketing strategy in general but make sure to spend the necessary time required to develop your online marketing ideas for referral programs that will successfully generate new business leads. The social aspects of online marketing can create a large network of individuals promoting your product or service very quickly if you develop the right incentives for those that refer quality business leads.
Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture Marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
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