Generating More Referrals through Internet Marketing

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Internet marketing can speed up the painfully slow referral process.

Traditional word of mouth referrals are the best form of advertising. Leads come to you without your active solicitation. And they come pretty much pre-sold.

The #1 and best source of referrals is from your customers.

Problem is, it takes time. Lots of time. And they are inconsistent.

Believe it or not, you just aren’t the top thing on the mind of your customers.

But you can use Internet marketing to: 1, speed up the process; and 2, open up other sources of referrals.

Here are the 5 ways to generate more referrals using Internet marketing:

  1. Get a System

First, you need to have a system for generating referrals through Internet marketing. Starting with the keywords all the way to the sale, you need to be setting up the customer to refer others.

And it needs to be automated.

So that, after the sale, your system is automatically mining your pre-prepped customers for referrals at regular intervals.

You can use email, product inserts, satisfaction surveys, even postcard reminders offline if you have their addresses.

You’ll do better, though, if you don’t just ask for a referral. Put an incentive behind it to really see some action.

  1. Offer an Incentive

Incentives work well in all marketing—Internet marketing and referrals included.

But what do you offer? Cash is #1. Offer them VISA gift cards for each referred friend who becomes a customer.

You can give them promotional products, free guides, a coffee mug—anything. The higher the value of your giveaway, though, the more referrals it will generate.

When you think about it, how much would you pay for a sale?

You’re already paying when you bid on keywords for Internet marketing or when you pay to advertise on a site.

With incentives, you simply pay your customer directly. Your customers become commissioned salespeople. They get paid only when they make a sale!

  1. Contests/Giveaways

Having a contest is a great way to get your name out there—and get referrals.

Make it creative and related to your industry.

Let’s say you’re in the finance-consulting world. Ask for the best stories about how to live frugally. The top 5 tips will get free gas—or coffee, or $1,000 in savings bonds.

Remember, this will cost you some money up front, but the better the prize, the wider the exposure. Friends will email all of their friends, and your name will really get around.

Get a sponsor, like a bank, to donate a prize if you can’t swing it yourself. It’s good for the sponsor, too, because the contest promotes them as well.

Once you have a contest in place, employ the same Internet marketing strategies you use for your business to get the word out.

Don’t forget to email all of your customers about it. And put out a press release.

To keep the buzz going, continue to send out updates as your contest progresses and ends.

  1. Partnerships

Internet marketing partnerships are a beautiful thing.

They can give you more money in your marketing budget. They can also get you more of those prized referrals.

What you need to find is a company that doesn’t compete with you but has a product that would be a good companion to yours.

Just make sure that whomever you partner with has the same quality standards that you do. If not, your customers will be upset with you if things turn sour.

Together, you and your partner can cross promote—splitting the cost of your Internet marketing. You can also refer customers to each other’s sites after the purchase.

  1. Article Marketing

This is a tenet of Internet marketing. Write informative, enlightening articles and distribute them widely.

Someone may stumble upon one and become a customer. Or they Digg it, link to it, or email it to their friends—who may also become customers.

Internet marketing is viral. That’s a good thing. It means that one action on your part can generate hundreds of referrals—and keep on generating them, 24/7.