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5 Referral Marketing Strategies to Win More Sales

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5 Referral Marketing Strategies to Win More Sales


Winning more sales ultimately comes down to trust.

The prospective customer has to trust that your product or service is valuable and that you’re honorable enough to not sell them something they don’t need.

The way to win trust only comes in three forms:

  1. You’ve built trust by getting to know who you’re selling to and showing them that you’re invested in their success.
  2. Your brand has enough reputation in the market to warrant widespread trust.
  3. You get an extension of trust by getting your product or service recommended by someone they trust.

In this article, we’ll talk about the third option and show you five ways to deploy referral marketing strategies and ultimately close more deals:

What Is a Referral Marketing Strategy?

A referral marketing strategy is a marketing tactic that enhances your company’s ability to spread word of mouth about your products and services and receive more recommendations. It’s a competitive advantage that extends the reach of your marketing efforts beyond your own efforts.

Referrals are a great way to get the word out about your product or service, whether you’re a SaaS company or an e-commerce site. People tend to share what’s useful and makes them look good. They want to be seen as someone who has good taste, cares about their peers, and provides practical value. Referring to great products and services is one way to do that.

The hard part about marketing is getting people’s attention. It’s a noisy world full of too many great Netflix shows and products and services. We can’t buy everything and can’t watch all those shows. We have to find ways to filter out the noise. Getting recommendations is one way to do that, which is why referrals can be an integral part of your marketing strategy.

5 Referral Marketing Strategies That’ll Help You Win More Sales

There are a lot of referral marketing strategies out there that can extend your reach and ensure that you’re giving your company the best competitive advantage. Here are a few that’ll help you win more deals:

1. Host a Free Event for Customers

Doing something exciting for customers will always improve your retention rate. But how does it improve your referral rate?

When you provide that free perk, make it a “plus one” affair. That way, they’re encouraged to bring someone who isn’t a customer but could potentially be one. You get a chance to have a captive audience full of like-minded people ,and hopefully an opportunity to convert them to paying customers.

Digital events work just as well. You can host a seminar that’s paid but offer free invitations for current customers to give to friends, colleagues, or family.

2. Automate Your Ask

If you rely on your marketing or sales team to do it, you’ll see some decent results, but finding ways to automate asking for referrals is the secret sauce. It starts with doing a little research to figure out the prime time to ask for referrals.

From there, it’s as simple as sending out an automated email to each new customer asking them to forward this email to someone who might be interested.

The easier you make it for people to refer to you, the more likely it is that they’ll do it. Creating a simple referral link that they can copy and paste works wonders. Or take it another step further with a button that has a pre-written message typed up outlining the benefits of your service. Then they literally just have to decide who to send it to.

3. Maximize Your Incentives

Sometimes it’s enough to ask people for referrals, but why not boost your chances by offering an incentive? That could mean something as small as giving them a credit on their account for each referral that signs up.

It could also mean that they get a cut of the first deal or monthly subscription cost if you’re offering a service. As Content Mart rightfully stated,

The better your incentive, the more likely it is that customers will go out of their way to tell their friends, family, and colleagues about you.

4. Harness the Power of Reciprocity

The “law” of reciprocity essentially says that when you do something nice for someone, they’re more likely to develop an urge to return the favor and do something nice for you.

With referral marketing, you could evoke this urge by giving your customers or prospective customers a gift. It could be tickets to a concert or a sporting event. Perhaps something simple like a branded coffee mug or coupons to their favorite shopping store.

You close the deal, offer up a gift or kind gesture, and ask for a referral. If you find something that works well, then make it part of your sales plan and automate it. Build it right into the sales process and go even bigger for those that actually send a referral your way.

5. Take a Leap of Faith

Of the many popular sales closing techniques, none stands the test of time better than simply asking for the sale. That’s right. Sometimes the best strategy is asking your prospect if they’d like to make a purchase today. Or sometimes assuming the sale by asking, “how do you want to make your first payment?”

Turns out, that’s equally true for asking for referrals. Sometimes just asking is all it takes to get one. And if you do it consistently enough, the odds will stack in your favor. It could be an automated email like above, but sometimes a personal touch like a phone call or an in-person meeting works better.

What works especially well is being specific with your request. Swap “would you consider sending me a referral?” for “who else do you know that would benefit from our product?”

The strategies you can deploy to maximize your chances of getting a referral are endless. The best advice we have to offer is to pick one and stick with it for a while. Testing your efforts will help you truly understand what works, what doesn’t, and will ultimately help direct your investment the best.

3 Real Life Examples of Successful Referral Marketing Campaigns

1. Lyft

Lyft

Lyft’s referral marketing strategy is a perfect example of what it takes to spread word of mouth from current customers. Lyft incentivizes current customers to refer their friends and family members by offering up free ride credits.

The company also markets itself through features such as the ability to share riders’ ETA with other non-customers, as well as locating lost or left-behind items. Lyft further incentivizes newly referred customers by offering up free rides when they sign up, regardless of whether or not they use a friend’s referral code.

2. Dropbox

Dropbox

Dropbox puts their referral marketing strategy into the hands of its customers by offering up plenty of incentives in the way of additional cloud storage space. Dropbox Basic accounts are awarded 500 MB per referral and can earn up to 16 GB of additional storage, while Dropbox Plus and Professional accounts can receive 1 GB per referral and can earn up to 32 GB of free storage.

Customers can even track the status of their own referrals that they’ve sent, which allows them to have the ability to follow up with anyone that they’ve sent an invitation to without Dropbox ever being directly involved.

3. Tesla

Tesla

Tesla’s overarching goal is to “build the best clean energy products”, and its referral program goes hand-in-hand with that objective. Current customers can share their referral link via the Tesla app, which – like Dropbox – allows them to track the status of their sent invitations as their Loot Box rewards.

Rewards include 1,000 miles of free Supercharging with the purchase of a new Tesla car for both the referrer and the new customer, a $100 reward for the activation of a new solar energy system or Solar Roof, as well as a $400 award for each solar referral. A Powerwall can be earned for the referral of 10 solar customers, which is more than a lucrative enough incentive to keep current customers referring potential new customers.

4 Tools Companies Can Use for Referral Marketing

Getting starting with a referral marketing program can seem like a daunting task – but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of available tools that allow you to hit the ground running with your referral marketing strategy, all of which allow you to customize and configure your program as much or as little as you want. Here are a few solutions to check out:

Referral Factory

  • Website: https://referral-factory.com/
  • Price: 15-day free trial, then from $95/month

Designed for small to medium-sized businesses, Referral Factory makes it “easy for any business to build their own referral program.” You’re able to choose from 1000+ referral program templates, or create your own with your company’s branded colors and logo. Just set up your rewards, and you’ll be set to track your referral campaigns in real-time. This is a great tool to start your own affiliate marketing program.

Friendbuy

  • Website: https://www.friendbuy.com/
  • Price: 30-day free trial, then from $249/month

Friendbuy believes that “referrals are your best channel for dynamic business growth”, and puts its money where its mouth is with its refer-a-friend program. Automated rewards fulfillment and A/B testing are just some of the features that Friendbuy provides, with the ultimate goal being marketing your company through customer engagement and word of mouth.

Ambassador

  • Website: https://www.getambassador.com/
  • Price: Unavailable

Ambassador allows you to turn your best customers into brand ambassadors by segmenting them into categories such as “customers, affiliates, influencers, partners, employees, and other advocates.” These roles are incentivized and tracked in real-time, allowing you to make the most of your referral program while further understanding who your customers are and creating more opportunities for engagement.

Mention Me

  • Website: https://www.mention-me.com/
  • Price: Unavailable

Mention Me aims to drive referrals throughout the entire customer journey, incentivizing current customer referrals whether they are new happy customers, or long-time, repeat customers. With reporting and analytics tracking your customers’ purchasing behavior, you’ll have plenty of actionable insights to pull from.

Think back to the last time you referred someone to a product or service. What was it? How did you tell them? Share your findings in the comments below:

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Sujan Patel

Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures & co-founder of Mailshake. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.

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New Google Ads Feature: Account-Level Negative Keywords

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New Google Ads Feature: Account-Level Negative Keywords

Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin has announced that account-level negative keywords are now available to Google Ads advertisers worldwide.

The feature, which was first announced last year and has been in testing for several months, allows advertisers to add keywords to exclude traffic from all search and shopping campaigns, as well as the search and shopping portion of Performance Max, for greater brand safety and suitability.

Advertisers can access this feature from the account settings page to ensure their campaigns align with their brand values and target audience.

This is especially important for brands that want to avoid appearing in contexts that may be inappropriate or damaging to their reputation.

In addition to the brand safety benefits, the addition of account-level negative keywords makes the campaign management process more efficient for advertisers.

Instead of adding negative keywords to individual campaigns, advertisers can manage them at the account level, saving time and reducing the chances of human error.

You no longer have to worry about duplicating negative keywords in multiple campaigns or missing any vital to your brand safety.

Additionally, account-level negative keywords can improve the accuracy of ad targeting by excluding irrelevant or low-performing keywords that may adversely impact campaign performance. This can result in higher-quality traffic and a better return on investment.

Google Ads offers a range of existing brand suitability controls, including inventory types, digital content labels, placement exclusions, and negative keywords at the campaign level.

Marvin added that Google Ads is expanding account-level negative keywords to address various use cases and will have more to share soon.

This rollout is essential in giving brands more control over their advertising and ensuring their campaigns target the appropriate audience.


Featured Image: Primakov/Shutterstock



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Google’s Gary Illyes Answers Your SEO Questions On LinkedIn

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Google's Gary Illyes Answers Your SEO Questions On LinkedIn

Google Analyst Gary Illyes offers guidance on large robots.txt files, the SEO impact of website redesigns, and the correct use of rel-canonical tags.

Illyes is taking questions sent to him via LinkedIn direct message and answering them publicly, offering valuable insights for those in the SEO community.

It’s already newsworthy for a Google employee to share SEO advice. This is especially so given it’s Illyes, who isn’t as active on social media as colleagues like Search Advocate John Mueller and Developer Advocate Martin Splitt.

Throughout the past week, Illyes has shared advice and offered guidance on the following subjects:

  • Large robots.txt files
  • The SEO impact of website redesigns
  • The correct use of rel-canonical tags

Considering the engagement his posts are getting, there’s likely more to come. Here’s a summary of what you missed if you’re not following him on LinkedIn.

Keep Robots.Txt Files Under 500KB

Regarding a previously published poll on the size of robots.txt files, Illyes shares a PSA for those with a file size larger than 500kb.

Screenshot from: linkedin.com/in/garyillyes/, January 2023.

Illyes advises paying attention to the size of your website’s robots.txt file, especially if it’s larger than 500kb.

Google’s crawlers only process the first 500kb of the file, so it’s crucial to ensure that the most important information appears first.

Doing this can help ensure that your website is properly crawled and indexed by Google.

Website Redesigns May Cause Rankings To Go “Nuts”

When you redesign a website, it’s important to remember that its rankings in search engines may be affected.

As Illyes explains, this is because search engines use the HTML of your pages to understand and categorize the content on your site.

If you make changes to the HTML structure, such as breaking up paragraphs, using CSS styling instead of H tags, or adding unnecessary breaking tags, it can cause the HTML parsers to produce different results.

This can significantly impact your site’s rankings in search engines. Or, as Illyes phrases it, it can cause rankings to go “nuts”:

Google’s Gary Illyes Answers Your SEO Questions On LinkedInScreenshot from: linkedin.com/in/garyillyes/, January 2023.

Illyes advises using semantically similar HTML when redesigning the site and avoiding adding tags that aren’t necessary to minimize the SEO impact.

This will allow HTML parsers to better understand the content on your site, which can help maintain search rankings.

Don’t Use Relative Paths In Your Rel-Canonical

Don’t take shortcuts when implementing rel-canonical tags. Illyes strongly advises spelling out the entire URL path:

Google’s Gary Illyes Answers Your SEO Questions On LinkedInScreenshot from: linkedin.com/in/garyillyes/, January 2023.

Saving a few bytes using a relative path in the rel-canonical tag isn’t worth the potential issues it could cause.

Using relative paths may result in search engines treating it as a different URL, which can confuse search engines.

Spelling out the full URL path eliminates potential ambiguity and ensures that search engines identify the correct URL as the preferred version.

In Summary

By answering questions sent to him via direct message and offering his expertise, Illyes is giving back to the community and providing valuable insights on various SEO-related topics.

This is a testament to Illyes’ dedication to helping people understand how Google works. Send him a DM, and your question may be answered in a future LinkedIn post.


Source: LinkedIn

Featured Image: SNEHIT PHOTO/Shutterstock



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Everything You Need To Know

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Of all the many, many functions available in Google Ads, I have a few that are my favorites. And sitelink assets – previously known as sitelink extensions – are at the top of my list.

Why? Because they’re so versatile. You can do almost anything with them if you think through your strategy carefully.

For example, you can use the mighty sitelink in your advertising to:

  • Promote low search volume themes.
  • Push lagging products out the door.
  • Maximize hot sellers.
  • Highlight certain product categories.
  • Answer common questions.
  • Handle PR problems.

And that’s just a start! Sitelink assets can almost do it all.

Best Practices For Using Sitelink Assets Extensions

If you truly want to get the most out of your sitelinks, you need to think about your intention.

To help you with that, I’m going to lay out a few sitelink guidelines.

1. Get clear on your objectives. Before you start, you need to think about your goals. What are you trying to achieve with these assets? Are you advertising products or services? Will the asset work well with both branded and non-branded keywords? Your answers to these questions will help determine if your sitelinks are versatile and useful to the searcher.

2. Use sitelinks as part of your larger strategy. Don’t think of your sitelinks in isolation. You should also consider the accompanying ad, landing page, and other assets. Make sure they all work together in service to your overarching strategy.

3. Use a mix of sitelinks. Sitelinks can serve multiple purposes, so make sure you’re using a variety. For example, you don’t want to use every sitelink on an ad to promote on-sale products. Instead, use a mix. One could promote an on-sale product, one could generate leads, one could highlight a new product category, and one could direct prospective clients to useful information.

4. Create landing pages for your sitelinks. Ideally, you want to send users to landing pages that tightly correlate with your sitelink instead of just a regular page on your website.

5. Track sitelink performance and adjust. It’s not enough to set up sitelinks. You should also track them to see which links are getting traction and which ones are not. This doesn’t mean that all sitelinks should perform equally (more on this below), but it does mean they should perform well given their type and objectives.

Why it’s Better To Use A Mix Of Sitelink Assets

Let’s dive deeper into this idea of using a mix of sitelinks by looking at an example.

In a new client account, we created four different types of sitelinks:

  • Two sitelinks are product-focused (as requested by the client).
  • One sitelink connects users with an engineer to learn more about the product (“Speak to an Engineer”). It has more of a sales focus.
  • One sitelink allows users to learn more about the products without speaking to an engineer (“What is?”).

The “What is?” sitelink is outperforming the “Speak to an Engineer” sitelink when we measure by CTR. While we need more data before making any changes, I predict we’ll eventually swap out the sales-y “Speak to an Engineer” sitelink for something else.

The fact that the educational link (“What is?”) is performing better than the sales-y link (“Speak to an Engineer”) isn’t too surprising in this case. The product is a new, cutting-edge robot that not many people are aware of, yet. They want more info before talking to someone.

sitelink extensions - performance exampleScreenshot by author, January 2023

By using a mix of sitelinks, and assessing the performance of each, we gained a lot of valuable information that is helping to guide our strategy for this account. So going with a mix of sitelinks is always a good idea. You never know what you’ll discover!

Sitelink Assets Examples

Now, let’s look at some specific examples of sitelink assets in Google Ads.

Example 1: Chromatography

Sitelinks extension - Chromatography exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

Application Search: This ad is for a highly technical product that can be used in a wide variety of applications. (Chromatography is a laboratory technique for separating mixtures.) So putting “application search” in a sitelink here might make sense. It helps prospective clients find what they’re looking for.

Sign up and Save Big: A good sitelink for lead generation and potential revenue.

Technical Support: I’m not a big fan of putting technical support in sitelinks. Tech support seems more targeted to current users rather than prospective users. But who knows, maybe they really do want to help current users get tech support via their advertising.

Guides and Posters: Again, this sitelink is a bit unusual, but it might be appropriate for this product. Perhaps people are downloading branded posters and posting them in their workplaces. If so, it’s a great way to build brand awareness.

Example 2: Neuroscience Courses

Sitelink Extensions - Nueroscience courses exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

I love everything about these sitelinks! The advertising is using them to reach people in all phases of the buyer journey.

For people not ready to commit:

  • Study Neuroscience: This sitelink is broad and informational. It’s helpful to people who have just started to explore their options for studying neuroscience.
  • Get Course Brochure: This sitelink is also great for people in the research phase. And while we mostly live in an online world, some people still prefer to consume hard-copy books, brochures, etc. With this sitelink, the school is covering its bases.

For people getting close to committing:

  • Online Short Course: This is the course the school offers. It’s a great sitelink for those almost ready to sign up.

For people ready to sign up:

  • Register Online Now: This is the strongest call to action for those ready to commit. It takes people directly to the signup page.

Example 3: Neuroscience Degrees

Let’s look at another example from the world of neuroscience education: this time for a neuroscience degree program.

Sitelink extensions - neuroscience degree exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

In contrast to the previous two examples, the sitelinks in this ad aren’t as strong.

Academics Overview: This sitelink seems more appropriate for a broad term search, such as a search on the school’s name. If the searcher is looking for a specific degree program (which seems like the intention based on the term and the ad), the sitelinks should be something specific to that particular degree program.

Scholarships: Just as with the above sitelink, “Scholarships” doesn’t seem very helpful either. The topic of scholarships is important—but probably doesn’t need to be addressed until the person determines that this school is a good fit.

Example 4: Code Security

Next, let’s look at two Google search ads for code security products.

Sitelink extensions - code security exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

 

The sitelinks in these two ads look like typical assets you’d find for SaaS, cloud-based, or tech companies. They click through to a lot of helpful information, such as product plans and success stories.

I particularly like the Most Common Risks sitelink in the second ad. It leads to a helpful article that would be great for engaging top-of-funnel leads.

On the flip side, I’m not a big fan of the Blog sitelink in the first ad. “Blog” simply isn’t very descriptive or helpful.

Still, there are no right or wrong sitelinks here. And it would be interesting to test my theory that blog content is not a top-performing asset!

Sitelink Assets Are More Than An Afterthought

I hope I’ve convinced you of the usefulness and versatility of sitelinks when created with specific objectives that align with your broader strategy.

So don’t create your sitelink assets as an afterthought.

Because if you give them the careful consideration they deserve, they’ll serve you well.

Note: Google sitelink assets were previously known as sitelink extensions and renamed in September 2022.

More resources:


Featured Image: Thaspol Sangsee/Shutterstock



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