How many times do you see someone asking for recommendations on social media? When someone needs a professional, 9 times out of 10 they ask their network who they know who does what they're looking for.
So having a referral marketing plan in place helps ensure raving fans are telling others about you.
However, while we know the importance of asking for referrals, when it comes down to it, the asking part can feel awkward or even aggressive.
But when you believe in the value of what you offer you can feel good about having others tell the world about you. When you have the right mindset and a proven process in place, getting referrals is easy.
Here's 4 ways to get more referrals that don't feel desperate with examples you can use right now: Set an Expectation for Referrals
Before you begin working with a new client, you can condition them to think of you as someone to send business to. That can look something like this:
"I am excited to work with you. When our project is completed, I know you will be thrilled with the work we did together. If you are happy with our work would you be willing to share us with others? Your referrals are how our business grows."
You can also mention the incentive you offer for those referrals that result in a sale. For instance we offer $100 towards any website, SEO or marketing work as our way of saying “thanks”. (See point number 4 below for more details on this.)Ask for a Virtual Introduction A really terrific way to get referrals is to ask a contact to do a virtual introduction with the prospect. Here's how an email like that goes:
Subject: Henry and Mike - A Virtual Introduction from Susan Friesen
I've been working with Mike for three months and he's done a terrific job at getting our bookkeeping up to date. I know you're looking for a qualified bookkeeper so I thought I'd put you two together.
Mike, meet Henry from Company A. I have known him for five years and he has really made a name for himself in the industry. He's been a really valuable to have in my circle. He mentioned he needs a good bookkeeper and I thought you could help.
Henry, meet Mike from Company B. Mike and I go way back. He is a real rock star when it comes to accounting. He makes sure our books are balanced at all times.
Here's both of your contact information. Now reach out and connect!
The best time to ask a client for a referral is right after you finished working with them. They are excited about the results you generated and are ready to sing your praises to the world.
Here's an example of such an ask:
Subject Line: FIRSTNAME, Quick Question.
I'm so glad you're happy with our PRODUCT OR SERVICE. I love helping people like you so knowing you're excited with the results made my day. Actually, it's because of this that I was hoping to ask you a favour...
It's my goal to help many more people like you. So I was wondering if you knew of any other people who could use my help? I'd love it if you could send a short note to them with a few kind words and asking them to connect with me?
With Gratitude.Offer a Gift for Referrals Giving a referral takes time and energy. When you make it worth their while, people are more likely to take the time to do it.
As a sign of your appreciation for their efforts, offer to give them a gift card, a referral fee, discount, or other gift if someone they refer you to hires you.
You can make a referral page on your website. Write an email to send to your clients and connections. Ask people in your Facebook groups. Let your vendors know you give rewards for referrals. Even put a teaser on the back of your business card letting others know.
Here's some example text to use:
Get X for Referring Friends and Family: I'd love to give you [insert your referral gift here] for every person who ends up hiring me. It's just a small token of appreciation as referrals are how we grow our business. Thanks for thinking of us!"I hope these quick and easy examples have inspired you. Referrals are by far the most cost-effective way to build your business.
Being intentional about asking for referrals can unlock the door to unlimited growth. Here's wishing you endless referrals!
Why Being Generous in Your Business Will Result in More Loyal Customers
Have you ever noticed feeling compelled to do something for those who have helped you– even if they haven't asked you to?
That's the Law of Reciprocity at work.
This law says whatever you give, whether it's money, time or effort... that it comes back to you with a tenfold return.
I know for a fact this law works as we've experienced it many times over the years. Almost like clockwork, we notice a distinct increase in leads that come in after making a donation or doing something extra for a client.
How Relationship Marketing Incorporates the Law of Reciprocity
Some businesses lead with hard-selling tactics to drive you to buy. This is called “push marketing”. But others, using “inbound or relationship marketing” strategies, have discovered how to put the power of generosity to work in their business.
How do you think your business would change if, instead of TAKING you focused on GIVING? Once you shift your focus to serving others and creating value - it changes everything.
Over time, your generosity creates a reputation that sets you apart and your rate of referrals will increase as well.
So how would you like to have not only more clients but more loyal ones too?
Here are ten ways to be more generous in your business to achieve that:
1) Be a Great Resource. If anyone needs a referral, share vendor referrals of those you know and trust. People will see you as the "go-to" person and come to you for recommendations.
2) Give More Than Expected. Doesn't it feel nice when you walk into a hotel room and there's a mint on your pillow? It's an unexpected surprise.
Here's some ideas to get you started: Provide more value that what you charge. Go the extra mile. Give a surprise gift. Deliver your product or service faster than promised.
3) Provide Excellence. Since your business needs to differentiate itself from your competitors, how about making it your mission to only offer top-quality products and services?
This includes customer service too: Respond to all email and phone messages promptly. Give clients uninterrupted attention. Listen to and address concerns are some ways to do this.
4) Serve Others. Zig Ziglar once said "You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want." And Mary Kay's empire was built on the premise of achieving success by helping someone else succeed.
Many entrepreneurs are in business because they are on a mission to serve others in some capacity. When you live your purpose, you'll live a life of joy while making a difference.
5) Open Yourself to Receiving. Most of us were never taught how to receive. For instance, how do you typically respond when someone complements you? Do you push back and try to minimize their sincerity?
Same thing applies to your business - If you say "no" when clients, money or opportunities come your way, those opportunities will stop coming.
This means making space in your mind and heart for more. It means accepting money, kindness, complements or assistance that is offered to you. This keeps your flow of abundance open energetically. You give and it comes back to you.
6) Listen to Your Inner Voice. Inner wisdom leads us to those who need our help. Stop, listen and take action on those nudges. Offer your attention, time, and advice in their hour of need.
7) Follow The Golden Rule. I grew up with this rule ingrained into my psyche as a Brownie and Girl Guide. Essentially, treat others the way you wish to be treated – and that includes in business too.
When a company treats you right or sells you a terrific product, you feel happy. You feel loyal. You're likely to buy more from that company. You're likely to recommend that company's products and services to friends, family and colleagues.
Make it your goal is to have the same thing be done for you.
8) Perform Acts of Kindness. Lift up others. Empower others through a simple word of encouragement and inspiration. Share your vision of what you see is possible for them.
In last week's article, we talked about setting up the tools you'll need to evaluate your website traffic in response to your online marketing efforts. And now it's time to come up with an online marketing plan.
There are two broad categories to look at for your online marketing: Paid and Organic
Paid Website Traffic
This term refers to all instances of purchasing ads for buying 'reach' and/or by paying to promote a post on social media. There are many different ways to buy visibility with an audience that it has become a massive industry unto itself. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and all others are worth what they are because of the paid component.
It's an essential part of any marketing strategy and not something you should attempt yourself unless you want to study this fast-paced industry and essentially become an expert in this field. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time, money and energy with no guaranteed results.
Organic traffic means visitors finding your website in a variety of ways that didn't require you paying for that traffic to find you.
There are several ways to reach an audience through organic means. Before you begin any of the tactics described below, it's important to first define who your target market is, what your brand positioning should be and also understand what your competitive advantage is.
Once those key planning strategies are in place, it's time to implement the following to help drive qualified traffic to your website. Here are three online tactics to pursue:
Content Marketing 1.Content marketing is strategically creating website content that will appeal to your ideal target market so they can then get to know, like and trust you more and ultimately convert into a paying customer. Essentially, you're looking to establish yourself as an authority, entertain your users, and educate them.
Aside from creating compelling content, you also want to make sure that content is sending proper rank signals to Google by ensuring it is of value to the visitor as well as being unique. Content marketing is everywhere and nobody wants to read the same article for the hundredth time with a different voice saying the same thing.
When content is great, it gets linked to by other websites. These links are a major part of how Google evaluates your website for rank so great content not only drives traffic back, it also sends a positive message to Google that your website is worth ranking higher for the terms you're targeting with your content.
Content marketing has been such a booming part of SEO it's now harder than ever to be a voice in your industry so make your content count. 1 good piece of content is worth more than 1,000 bad ones.
2. Local Business Listings Local business listings are easy to find and can be added by yourself via these local SEO tools listed here or your SEO marketer can also help with this. Some are paid but most are free.
Of any of the DIY methods for SEO this is the advisable one since it's an easy process and many SEO agencies will charge monthly fees for simply running the software.
This is the seemingly simplest method of driving traffic to your website and the one most done wrong. Many business owners don't realize the purpose of using social media for business marketing is to drive traffic back to their website. This disconnect often causes a lot of wasted time and effort.
Social media management without SEO strategy is simply a PR campaign. All social platform links are what's called 'nofollow' links so they never factor into your rank without a strategy in place that makes use of them in spite of the links being nofollow.
When you pay for a social media marketing expert, you are getting the know-how to make your social media efforts count. Simply posting a lot is not going to do it. And hashtag spamming is a sure sign you've hired someone who doesn't know how social media marketing or even hashtags work.
Your social media is your way of connecting to your audience and Google observes that when traffic is sent through from a disconnected service. Your audience can grow much faster by reaching the right people but your content has to be unique and enjoyable to have an impact.
Feeling overwhelmed at the volume of effort needed to market your business? Find an online marketing agency who can work with you and your expertise so your input and knowledge of your industry is the guide when creating content that is presented as being from your company.
Both users and Google will respond better to something of substance than anyone simply pumping out content for the sake of having something online.
Also remember the point from earlier about the value of social media and make sure you're leveraging the paid component or you're missing out on a lot of your reach opportunity.
Glaring Red Flags Your Website is Under Performing and What to Do About it
Do you know how well your website is really performing? While a great website can help bring in business; a bad one may be costing you sales.
And just because you have a sharp-looking website doesn't mean it's an effective one.
The sad part is that even though you may have spent a ton of money on a site redesign it doesn't guarantee it will increase sales.
Here's three glaring red flags indicating your website is not performing as well as it should and what to do about it.
Having a website is meaningless if no-one knows about it, visits it or sticks around long enough to see what you have to offer.
Here's what to look out for:
1) Low Volume of Website Visitors Since your website is the primary marketing piece for your business, sending qualified visitors to it is fundamental for success. Here's some tips to boost your site traffic and get more visitors to see your offerings:
Advertise using Google Ad and other browser paid search, social media advertising and display advertising. Get actively involved in Social media. These efforts can build a following and drive loyal fans to your website. Implement content marketing strategies by frequently adding search engine optimized content to your blog. Writing informative articles and posting value-driven videos will not only attract visitors but also showcase your expertise in your industry. Enlist in an SEO expert who can boost qualified website traffic and also improve your search engine rankings. 2) High Bounce Rate A bounce rate measures the percentage of many visitors leave your website without browsing any further after that first page they land on. If people visit your home page and click away, that's a sign changes are needed to keep their interest.
Here's some reasons why people are leaving your site before exploring any further: Your home page should be compelling and appeal to your ideal target market. Ensure your brand messaging matches what your visitors are expecting to see so they are drawn in and want to learn more. It's also important to review where you are promoting your business and ensure your offerings are highly relevant for them. Be sure the call to action is clearly prominent for them to take a next step. People can be very impatient. If your website is slow to load, they will leave long before they have a chance to see your offerings. Your site's load time must be fast to capture (and hold) your visitor's attention. Users can get frustrated easily if they can't find what they're looking for quickly. Similarly if they encounter broken links, spelling and grammar errors and have a general bad user experience while trying to navigate your site. Sadly, just having a website is not enough. It's critical to have your website display properly on smart phones and mobile devices too. Today, 1.2 billion people are accessing the Internet from mobile devices. Of those users, up to 80% of them browse using a smartphone.
In other words, if your website is not mobile friendly, you are missing out on a lot of potential business.
3) No Conversions You can have all the traffic in the world, but if they don't buy, it does you no good. Fortunately, if you aren't happy with the conversion rate, there are ways to improve your site to improve the number of visitors who convert into paying customers. Most visitors won't buy after their first exposure to your website. So it's really important to capture those leads and follow up with them. Offering a free giveaway is an effective way to get contact information and build your marketing list.
But if people aren't signing up for your freebie, then it's time to make some changes. You may need a more enticing offering or improve your call to action for the sign up. Using a popup or exit popup can help boost sign up rates. Having a more attractive graphic image of your freebie can boost conversions as well. The best way to follow up with these leads is through an auto-responder series that is triggered immediately after they sign up for your free giveaway. Additionally, sending out consistent newsletters to your list is also very effective at staying top of mind for them, increasing your chances greatly of them eventually converting into a paying customer. If you're not sure where to find these three valuable metrics, the best way to analyze them is to check your website's Google Analytics and monitor your website's performance there.
Ready to Increase Your Website Performance and Get More Sales?
Does your website have high bounce rates? Are you getting minimal interactions on your social media? Do you have a low repeat visitor rate? An experienced digital marketing agency can review, identify and recommend actions to remedy your website's "profit holes" where you are losing sales.
Your website's use is how well it accomplishes the reason you built it. Is it to generate leads? Get someone to make a purchase? Direct people to something else? Each page of your website needs a purpose and if that purpose isn't clear, then the usability is diminished.
When web marketers look at usability they're looking to see whether or not a user can complete a defined task with little to no confusion or frustration.
So how do you know if your customers are finding your website easy to use?
Measuring User Experience and Usability
There are many services that have come and gone when it comes to measuring user activity and a site's usability.
Heatmap services such as Hotjar or Crazyegg have been semi successful though woefully abused in the hands of those who don't know what to do with the information. These types of services give the website owner a birds-eye view at where their website visitors are focusing their attention.
Testing groups can be a great asset but at the same time these are closed, controlled groups so they often inadvertently present misinformation by way of not being an accurate representation of the site's actual target market.
The best way to check your website's usability is your Google Analytics. Google offers its analytic web-based software for free for many reasons. One is so you can make your website better.
Within Google Analytics site owners can check things like how long someone is on a page, where they entered the page from, what they did on the page, and when they left.
If someone lands on your page and leaves nearly right away you have what is called a Bounce. If the majority of your users are bouncing (called a high bounce rate) then you have a usability issue and are offering up a bad user experience where they have left too quickly to take any action.
Another way to check is to set a conversion measurement. This is when you input information into Google Analytics that triggers a signal when someone completes a task as defined in there. You can even assign monetary values to the conversion if you want to measure the revenue generated through the conversion.
Measuring usability is as complicated or as easy as your website is. Larger projects with many types of users and conversion types will have more complicated ways to measure usability but the overall message here is: does your website accomplish your business goals set for it?
Are Your Users Having A Bad Website Experience?
1. Have you clearly defined what your business does and is it appealing to the right audience? 2. Did you make it as easy as possible for users to find the information they're looking for? Typically there should be no more than 3 steps between landing on the site and finding what the user wants. 3. Can a customer contact you easily if they are stuck or have any questions? 4. Do you have any broken links on your site that will lead users to a dead end? 5. How fast does the site load (see test above)? 6. Is your website mobile responsive? 7. How transparent is your About page?
If you're looking at the overall stats and the numbers are not good then it's time to look at why your users are having a bad website experience. Here's 7 questions to ask yourself about your website to avoid frustrating your users:1. Have you clearly defined what your business does and Nothing can be more frustrating than a dead end so make sure you don't have any. Users need to have trust established by a website if they're going to commit their time, money, or both to it.
This is where user test groups can come in handy. Universal website staples that often get forgotten are there so someone who has never been to your website before can have a good experience on it.
Check the few points listed above and if there are areas you haven't covered or you need help with then get in touch and we'll be able to break it all down for you.
Is User Experience Really The Same As Usability?
The experience and expectations will vary greatly between websites depending on their purpose.
For large scale big businesses, user experience transcends platforms and current award winners are melding online with offline in attempts to boost both point of sale 'conversions' on site and web conversions.
For anyone working in small to medium sized businesses usability is your website's user experience so focus on that. Make sure when someone lands on your website searching for something, they find what they were needing as quickly and easily as possible.
And don't forget your user experience doesn't end there!
A Conversion Is Not the End of the Road for Good Website User Experience
Provide Great Support
Your user experience doesn't stop when the conversion does.
Think about the process of your conversion from the perspective of someone performing the conversion.
Once you're done, are you coming back to the website? If you do, are you going to be able to get the support you need right away?
Not having a support channel or any indication of one is a big negative for any user. They likely won't buy from you if they don't think they can contact you afterwards regarding any problems.
Refine Your Website Based on Feedback
Make sure you respond to negative feedback with more than dismissive apologies or a canned 'thanks for the feedback we'll work on it' email. Users who have a bad experience during a conversion but a great experience with support can be recovered customers who will likely buy again.
Accept negative feedback as an opportunity to improve even if you disagree with it.
Take what you learn from the feedback as a gift. If a user takes the time to complain about something, treat it seriously and remedy the situation (within reason).
Maybe they completed their task but have feedback on how easy (or not) it was?
In addition to analyzing your Google Analytics, you can follow up with surveys for customers (if they opt in for having one sent to their email of course) to help refine your user experience.
I hope you found this all helpful in ensuring your website provides a great user experience. If you have any questions about user experience and usability please post them in the comments below or on our social media or of course feel free to reach out and contact us at any time. Until next time,
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