How to Naturally Boost Your Referrals

Some of the best and easiest customers that can be acquired will be gained from referrals. Referral marketing is a criminally underused tactic to gain new business. People love doing business with companies they trust. But trust is very hard to earn if someone is learning about your company for the first time. If someone learns about your company via a friend or associate, the trust-building process rapidly accelerates. People will trust your company because someone that they respect told them to. Their recommendation comes with comfort and confidence—which are potent ingredients for triggering someone to buy.

So, if referrals are so powerful and can compel someone to buy so easily, why are they underutilized to such a staggering degree? A few simple steps in your online and offline marketing can change this.

Always ask for referrals

After someone has purchased from you, ask for a referral. Tell your customers to spread the word about your business. You can do this in-person, or you can do it online (via email or social media). The power of asking is overlooked. You will be surprised by the number of people who will spread the word about your business just because you asked them to do so.

You shouldn’t sheepishly make a request, nor should you demand referrals from your customers. Just state that you would honestly appreciate as many referrals as possible, and tell them that you appreciate it. If someone gives you a referral, send a “thank you” email that shows your gratitude.

Set up bonuses

Bonuses, especially if they have time constraints, are a great way to make your referral requests more compelling. What you actually give the customer is obviously up to you—a gift, a reward, a discount—but it should make the customer want to spread the word about your company.

This will add flavor to your referral request and will help you stand out. Even if people received value from your company, they may simply forget about giving you referrals; if you’re out of sight, you’re out of their mind. But if you give them a good reason to give you referrals, they are more likely to remember your company. You should also use time constraints with your bonuses. Meaning, if you are offering a $100 gift certificate for a certain amount of referrals, you could set up a time limit of two weeks until the offer expires.

Give generously

One of the best ways to garner referrals without really even asking is to give generously to your customers. I’m talking about surprise bonuses, “thank you” emails, and other forms of value that may be relevant to your business. Give as generously as possible because will spread the word about your business if you do so. This is the law of reciprocation. When you provide that much value to people, they will feel obligated to return it in some way. All it takes from you is generosity and a request for them to share information about your business.

Systematize your referral marketing

A system will optimize the overall performance of your referral marketing. The system should be predicated on three aspects:

  1. Creating a compelling offer to your customers in exchange for referrals
  2. Knowing at what point of the interaction you should ask for referrals. And also the frequency of your requests (this means the amount of times in, say, a month that you will ask for referrals).
  3. A way to deliver these requests to your customer base (i.e emails, social media posts, etc.) Preferably, the method of delivering your requests to your customer base should be automated.

A system that encompasses all three points will work efficiently to boost your referrals. It also makes it easier to track and modify your results.

Even though you will be utilizing a system, you should still keep the interactions with your client base natural and personal. No one likes the coldly slick, tastelessly bland company—they want the warm, human touch.

If you are afraid to ask for referrals, don’t be. You’re missing out on one of the most robust selling tools that you will have available.

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Joseph Riviello

Joseph L. Riviello is the CEO and Founder of Zen Agency. Joe's agency builds websites and web applications that attract, engage, and convert. Joe has over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship and he is an expert digital marketing strategist who specializes in conversion-centric e-commerce experiences and cutting-edge solutions that maximize growth and profit. Check out Joe featured on:,,,

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