Word-of-mouth referrals are essential to growing your retail business. Indeed, 65 percent of new business comes from referrals, according to the New York Times. So a steady stream of referrals can increase your sales, improve customer loyalty and, just as importantly, reduce your advertising costs. Plus, the customers that come from referrals are more likely pay full price for your products and send even more customers your way.
Many retailers, however, incorrectly focus on expensive advertising and bypass this low-cost and effective marketing strategy. To avoid making that same mistake, here are three ways to get more referrals for your retail business:
1. Give your customers an awesome experience: The most important thing you can do to encourage referrals is give your customers a great experiencewhen they visit you. This means you should hire people who can make your customers feel valued, respond promptly to all questions and work with your sales team to ensure that you provide top-notch customer service.
2. Collect testimonials: Although you may have many happy customers, you may not have enough testimonials that you can share with others and use throughout your advertising. That's why you need a simple strategy for collecting testimonials:
- Ask for testimonials as soon as possible after the sale, before your customers forget the details of your great quality and service.
- Hand out satisfaction cards with each purchase.
- Ask customers to take a short online survey, where they can leave feedback.
- Design your website so customers can post reviews of all your products online. Positive reviews will drive interest in your products and increase your sales.
- Create business pages on popular local search sites such as Yelp, Yahoo Local and Google Places. Customers can use these sites to find your business and post reviews.
3. Use Facebook: Facebook is the top social media site for retailers, as more and more consumers are turning to the social network on a regular basis to find information about their favorite retail brands. So get active on Facebook by creating a fan page for your business and interacting with your community on a daily basis. You can ask for feedback, give advance notice of your latest shipments, offer your Facebook fans special discounts and send out invites to your events.
Just remember to thank your customers for their referrals and ask for permission if you plan to use their testimonials in your advertising.
How have you been able to get more referrals for your retail business?
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