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Are you leveraging referrals for your online marketing strategy?

Referral Marketing Strategy

It's no secret that today, buyers are calling the shots. This can leave sellers scrambling to best market their products and services to a discerning, educated crowd of prospects.

These days sellers have an incredible amount of choices when it comes to getting the word out. While many small businesses have delved into online marketing, too few are leveraging an elementary channel that's been around since buying began - word of mouth.

Don't believe word of mouth still matters? Consider this: according to InsideView, a negative review on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube can cost a company 30 customers.

In addition, encouraging people to say great things about you is a super boost your company can't afford to live without.

If you're wondering how to generate a referral marketing campaign within the realm of the digital marketplace, check out these three ways to get people talking about you.

1. Remember the social nature of humans

Underneath all the magnetism of the Internet lies the truth that people are community-minded animals. We need to be part of a group and to feel valued.

Whether sharing, liking, following or posting, buyers are now inextricably linked together through a huge network.

Small-business marketers need to remember these facts in a highly social marketplace:

  • Everything posted on the net is there forever
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  • Hasty responses to criticism can be a major mistake
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  • Each piece of content can have far-reaching effects
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    2. Understand social = emotional.

    Buying is at its foundation an emotional process. While content needs to be relevant and valuable, it also needs to be compelling to get readers talking and taking action.

    The more discussions you can initiate, the more relationships you can nurture. Keep an eye on how your competitors are engaging audiences as well. You'll likely find some great ideas for your brand.

    Integrate compelling elements by:

  • Asking readers to comment on your blog posts helps create compelling content which can get them to share your content or refer you to a friend
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  • Providing special offers to followers who re-tweet your information
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  • Creating forum discussions revolving around solutions to common problems
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  • Posting status updates that invite followers to share common experiences (e.g. Here's how our kitchen utensil company employees are whipping up summer recipes. What new meal ideas can you share?)
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    3. Give thanks for reviews and ask for referrals

    According to a 2010 Nielsen Global Shopping Report, 57% of online shoppers look at reviews before they buy. By constantly monitoring social sites, blogs and forum discussions, you can stay on top of the positive reviews your brand receives. Then, be sure to register your thanks.

    Taking good word-of-mouth further, ask customers for referrals.

    Of all the good reasons to incorporate referral marketing into your strategies, two stand above the rest - cost per lead is lower and conversion rates are higher. Don't ignore this goldmine of opportunity. Fire up your referral marketing and watch sales climb.

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