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Monday, January 26, 2009

6 Non-Salesy Ways To Ask Your Customers To Promote You

Want to know the #1 reason your customers don't recommend you to their friends? It isn't because they don't like your product, or because they don't care or are too busy. The real reason is either because you don't ask them to, or you don't make it easy for them to do it. If you ask them in the right way, however, the word of mouth referrals and additional business you can get from the experience will easily be more powerful that just about any other advertising or marketing you could do. Here are a few ideas for getting your customers to promote you to their family, friends and social networks in a way that won't make it appear as if you're paying them to like you:

  1. Share the credit. When you create a new video using the software offered with the new Flip digital video cameras, there is an option at the end of the movie editing process to "share the credit" with Flip. Checking the box means that there will be a small screen that appears at the end of your movie saying that you created your masterpiece with Flip. It's a great and simple way to let their users "share the credit" with them (see image at the end of this post).
  2. Let them be a fan. For those of you who are active Facebook users, this phrase likely has the meaning of creating a "fan page" but beyond Facebook, people often want to their circle of friends (and sometimes to the world) to know the brands they love. So on Facebook and even offline, give your customers and employees some visual way to declare that they support your brand. Give them t-shirts or bumper stickers. Let them put a badge on their blog or join your group on LinkedIn. However you do it, find as many ways as possible for them to identify themselves with you.
  3. Encourage online reviews. It is no secret that online reviews can have big impact on whether someone decides to purchase something or not. Instead of getting customers to blindly fill out surveys or registration cards, try asking them to go online to a prominent site, or social network, or even their own blog and ask them to talk about their experience. Having these opinions searchable and public online will do far more for you than a great survey response.
  4. Refer a friend. At one point it was common to see a "tell a friend" button on just about every website. Though that practice may not be as common as it once was, you should consider bringing it back for your site. Offline you can achieve the same thing through giving people extra business cards or other materials to pass along to their friends. Sometimes all you really need to do is make sure you are giving your supporters enough material to share with others.
  5. Pass along an offer. Along similar lines is the idea of having a specific promotional offer that your customers can share with their contacts. Among the best types of offers are those which offer something for them AND something for your customer. One example is the friends and family discount that Clear Card offers. If you sign someone else up, you'll get a free month, and the person you sign up does as well.
  6. Offer useful content. Nothing can promote your brand quite like offering content that solves a need. If you answer a customer's question or help them share something useful, you'll be one your way to getting them to promote your point of view just by passing the content along.

Example of "Sharing the Credit":



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Great post! In regards to encouraging reviews I've found that adding an Annotation at the beginning of a YouTube video reminding people to leave a comment greatly increased the amount of comments that are generated on our videos.

Good advice!

So very true. As I was reading, I thought about the number of referrals I’ve passed along this week without being solicited to do so … zero. It’s not that I’m a mean person – we just don’t think about it until we’re asked to do so. Thanks for another great post.

Great post. I would say that having some positive tone writing practice is key as well. I can't tell you how many clients I have still overuse capital letters and misunderstand tone of literary meaning. I mean you don't have to be Shakespeare, but there are some basic norms that should be noted prior to diving head first.

Wonderfully simple ideas for the anxious among us. It's the warmest market ever :) @bizcoachdeb

Great post! When people are so busy that they can't even take time for a deep breath, passing on referrals unprompted is just not going to happen. You have to ask if you want to receive!

Simple but effective ideas, thanks for the post Rohit.

Thanks for the easy to implement & effective suggestions Rohit.

Great post Rohit. Learn a lot from tis post. For me living in West Africa, I realize every single day how late we are on the domain of PR & Marketing when it comes to these simple issues. It's amazing how these simple ideas could be effective.
Good job.

Share the credit is cool, I have an older Flip cam and it does not have that feature, although giving credit is always important. Even when you post pictures from YOUR event, if a photographer took them, give them the credit!

Dr. Wright
The Wright Place TV Show

Interesting post and great tips. Have bookmarked for future reference :)

God old fashioned word-of-mouth marketing is still as effective as ever...and migrating this approach to social media makes perfect sense.

Your readers might be interested in a new software service from a company called Zuberance, which specifically helps companies mobilize their happy customers as advocates for their brands.

Great post. I was glad to see that refer-a-friend is still alive and well. We have implemented a referral bonus that we include with our new customer info. Both the referrer and the referee benefit.

Thanks for the great tips! :) I can't wait to start implementing the tools you suggested.

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