In preparation for our new workshop, “How to Create a Flood of Word of Mouth Referrals,” I’ve been searching out the best strategies for getting recommended by clients and wedding pros.
These types of leads are so powerful because:
- They provide social proof, evidence of your value based on the opinion of someone else.
- 90% of people trust recommendations from someone they know and 70% of those they read online. Nielsen Stats
- Information gets passed from person to person, which makes it possible to “go viral” online.
The challenge with cultivating word of mouth leads is that they’re unpredictable. In every case, people have to be willing and able to recommend you first, and there’s no guarantee that will happen.
Steal the strategies of successful businesses to turn your word of mouth referrals into a reliable source of leads for your business.
How to Get Them Talking About You
1. Tell stories worth repeating.
Everything has the potential to be a good story. You just need to know how to tell it.
The best stories are:
- Firsthand experiences
- Relevant for your audience
Start telling stories in your business. Tell the story of how you started your wedding business. Tell the stories of your clients’ weddings. Tell stories about your adventures as a wedding professional.
A good story begs to be told.
2. Wow your couples with outstanding customer service.
Have you ever related an extremely good…or extremely bad…customer service experience?
Of course, you have! This is powerful word of mouth marketing.
Come up with ways to provide an unexpectedly awesome client experience such as:
- Call up your couples out of the blue just to check in and say hi.
- Send them a handwritten thank you note.
- Make your packaging or service memorable by adding humor, personality or a special touch.
3. Make it easy.
Don’t assume that people will share just because you do something cool. Encourage it by making it as easy as possible to spread the word.
Include social media share buttons on your blog posts. This way your readers can tell their world about you with one click.
When you post photos, videos and blurbs about your weddings on social media (you do, don’t you?) @tag your couples and the other vendors who were involved. This lets them know you’re bragging about them and makes it likely they’ll share.
If you have a referral program, tell everyone about it. Make it simple and easy to use.
“Have a referral process for your client. How does a client refer you? What do they get in return? Write it down. For us, it is as simple as letting the client know to tell us ‘Make sure you tell them Bob sent you.’ Within three years, we were able to increase our referral related business to 32% of our total yearly revenue.” – Maik Hassel, Nirvana Photography Studios
4. Have a referral incentive program.
Offering a reward for recommendations is good for the client and good for the health of your business.
Remember the advice in #3 and keep your referral program simple. Maik Hassel experimented with postcards and coupon codes that needed to be redeemed, but found that it was so complicated people didn’t use it.
David Levine of Illinois Nut & Candy offers a double (sweet) reward with the following online promotion:
How About a Box of FREE Chocolates?
We know warm leads are worth their weight in, well, candy and chocolate, so here’s what I’m hoping you’ll be kind enough to do.
…Introduce me via e-mail to a person you know who buys corporate gifts or really likes to show appreciation to customers on a major scale, especially at Holiday time, and you will receive a FREE box of chocolates in the store as my thank you for your referral.
…If that lead turns into actual business, you’ll also get a FREE $50 gift basket!
It would be delicious to connect with you. Thanks in advance and have a sweet day!
You can reward the couples who refer you with a commission or gift certificates for future services.
But your referral reward doesn’t have to involve an exchange of money or goods. Announce your top referrer as Client of the Month in your email newsletter or give them a shout out on social media.
“Recognition serves a double purpose: a reward making your client feel good about him/ herself, and it strengthens the relationship between you and your client.” – Maik Hassel, Nirvana Photography Studios
Public recognition is another way to say “Thanks for the referral!” that drives even more word of mouth and doesn’t cost anything other than a few minutes of your time.
5. Track your referrals.
Whether it’s coupon codes, designated urls or a simple spreadsheet, you’ll need a system for tracking your referrals so that you can reward people for sending them.
This also allows you to track the success rate of your referral strategies so that you can optimize for the future, and it also identifies which referrers send leads that convert into booked weddings.
Post your referral program on your website. Create handouts you give to new clients. Remind current and past clients in your email follow up.
Like anything else in your business, you have to repeat it everywhere if you want it known and used. Create a catchy phrase or slogan for your “Refer a Friend” program to make it even more memorable.
As you’ve probably noticed, cultivating word of mouth referrals takes time and effort. Automate your referral program to generate leads on autopilot.
- Add your clients to an automated email list that sends referral requests.
- Have a fulfillment house automatically send a gift on the couple’s anniversary date.
- Schedule reminders on your calendar or task management system notifying you when it’s time to check in with a client.
Learn How to Create a Flood of Word of Mouth Referrals!
You’ve learned the secrets to boosting your word of mouth leads. Now we want to show you how it’s done.
Jeff and I are going deep into the strategies you can use to get rave reviews and referrals from clients in our new workshop.
- The tool you can use to boost your word of mouth referrals, increase sales and go viral in your local wedding market.
- You’ll be surprised at where 90% of couples go when hiring their wedding vendors–and we’ll show you how to position yourself there as the #1 must hire!
- 6 steps to get your reviews onto Page 1 of Google FAST.
- How to capture this year’s holiday engagement leads before your competitors have a chance.
- Turn your couples into a sales force of raving fans without spending a penny.
And lots more!