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Customer Engagement

Boost Customer Referrals with These Digital Marketing Tactics

Written by 
Guest Writer
February 27, 2020

Before digitalization was so omnipresent, businesses would rely on word-ofmouth (WOM) to make sure they can grow their customer base, and retain their current clientele.

There was a certain level of closeness, friendliness, and hospitality involved in the process, since personal interactions were the very basis of any business’s success. In such instances, brilliant customer service was key as it was often the only touchpoint for many brands, defining whether or not a buyer would recommend their store.

In the modern world, due to the overwhelming lack of that personal interaction with the customer, digital marketing needs to attempt to replicate this and be the go-to solution for businesses. Especially those with international services and products.

To inspire the same kind of word-of-mouth referrals in the digital world, businesses should rethink their digital marketing from that unique, WOM-focused perspective. In order to inspire your clients to be loyal and actually recommend your brand to someone they know, some strategies are more effective than others.

Let’s take a look at a few digital marketing methods you should add to your strategy to get more referrals.

Perfect your customer support touchpoints

customer touchpoint sales rep on the phone to customer

Referrals start when you first interact with your customer, be it over social media platforms, via your website chat, your email, directly in the store, or over the phone.

With so many customer touchpoints, every business is bound to make minor mistakes, but some of them can cost you that referral down the line.

For starters, go back to the basics and take a close look at how your employees communicate with your customers. Perhaps your emails are too ‘cold’ and you could do with some added personalization.

Then again, maybe your store managers don’t have enough knowledge to actually assist your customers during shopping.

Whatever the problem is, resolve it in a timely manner so that you can rest assured that your customer touchpoints aren’t stifling your referral opportunities.

Ask your customers for public endorsement

promoting your loyalty program to the public

Asking for testimonials and reviews can be a brilliant way to generate referrals organically, and assist your hard-earned ranking in the search engine results page (SERP's).

Adding your customer feedback in your own blog posts, infographics, and other content can be a great solution to infuse more of your content with relevant keywords, amongst many other advantages.

Much like your standard, informative articles deserve visibility in the SERPs, so do your referral campaigns.Your customers might already be saying and giving you what you need to increase your referral rates.

User-generated content to empower WOM

screenshot of google analytics on phone

In highly competitive markets such as Hong Kong, companies invest a major portion of their marketing budget towards search engine optimization (SEO).

Although the core of their SEO strategy does revolve around being discovered by to more customers, most brands actually focus on classic optimization strategies and equally traditional optimization goals. For example, boosting sales, brand visibility, engagement rates, website traffic, and the like.

What some of the more creative brands do is partner up with a reputable Hong Kong SEO company. Theycraft content strategies that will also utilize user-generated content that will encourage referrals.

Inform your customers about referral programs

how to create customer loyalty in a business

Some brands are very loud and clear when it comes to notifying the world about the perks they offer, including their referral and loyalty programs.

Other brands, however, tend to be less prominent, and rarely use their digital marketing campaigns to notify their customers of their referral system.

If the latter is you, this is your opportunity to put those email lists to great use. Use your monthly newsletter to remind or notify your customers of your offerings for those who are happy to refer you to others.It’s important to note that you should clarify what the steps of your referral program include. However, keep it as simple as possible. Very few people (even of your most devoted customers) will jump through too many hoops for a freebie (or any incentive for that matter).

Finally, use your social networks to share the information about your referral programs, your blog posts describing how they work, or infographics to show off your success rate.

Provide desirable incentives

cash back money on laptop

Of course, while some people will be more than happy to refer your business only based on the merits of your service or product, chances are that most will simply go about their day without ever mentioning your brand to others.

Unless they receive an incentive to, that is. This is not just your typical “what’s in it for me?” mindset though. People will put their reputation on the line when they recommend your brand, so they want to know how this effort will benefit them.

Campaigns and programs need to include incentives that appeal to your customers. For example, you can offer a free month of subscription to your service, or even cash in the same way businesses such as PayPal used payments to incentivize their customers.

Physical products are also a great option for online stores. Use data on the customers behaviour to pick something each individual customer will love, use, and appreciate.

You can even use their purchase as the chance to surprise them with an extra product in their package. This is a great opportunity to include a note asking them for a review or a direct referral.

lady holding blue gift

Although referrals often come naturally to brands that excel at what they do, more often than not, any business can benefit from enhancing their customer referrals through digital marketing.

Some of your existing marketing strategies will likely be more than enough to serve this purpose. However adding these tips to your list will certainly elevate your chances to reach more people and incentivize more customers to help you grow your business.


Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.

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