Almost 85% of B2B decision makers start their buying process with a referral. Current and former clients who are happy with your manufacturing work are your best promoters–and sometimes, positive word-of-mouth can be worth more than every digital marketing tactic under the sun. Turning word of mouth into a strategy can be difficult, but it’s an important component for manufacturing companies to consider. ZAG FIRST is a digital marketing agency for manufacturing companies, and in this post, we’ll outline a few tips from our years of experience with manufacturing clients.
#1: The best time to ask for a referral is after closing a deal
If you had a good experience with the customer and they’re happy with your service or product, ask them for a referral as soon as possible after closing the deal. They’ll likely be honored to be asked, and your brand will already be top-of-mind.
#2: Be honest and straightforward
Referrals are very common in the manufacturing industry, so there’s no point in dancing around the issue. Thank them for being a great customer, remind them that your business depends on positive word of mouth, and ask them if they know of anyone who could be interested in your offering.
#3: Create incentives
Many manufacturing companies build incentives into their referral marketing strategy. Offer both formal and informal rewards, such as priority support or the ability to become a preferred client. Consider financial incentives like giving the referer 10% off their next order or expedited shipping–this will encourage them to buy from you again as well.
#4: Google matters in referral marketing
Google reviews can significantly impact a B2B manufacturer’s brand reputation and success. Ask satisfied clients to rate you highly on Google, which will both boost your reputation and help with SEO.
#5: Create multiple channels for referral marketing
You should make it as easy as possible for customers to refer you, which means offering referral information and incentives across a variety of channels. After the sale, send a personalized email with information about your referral program. Create a dedicated page on your website explaining not only how your referral program works, but also including a shareable blurb about what makes your company special that the referer can share directly with their network. Post about your referral program at least once a quarter on LinkedIn.
#6: Be ready to respond quickly
When a prospect reaches out to you based on a referral, have a plan to respond immediately. Many potential customers place enormous value on quick communication and 24/7/365 access to your business.
#7: Know when NOT to ask
You shouldn’t ask every customer for a referral. After you close the deal, reflect on the success of the sales process. If they’re unhappy with you, that’s a clear red flag–but also think about how communicative and collaborative they were to work with! If a customer was a nightmare, the person they refer you to might be just as much of a challenge.
And of course, if you’re too busy to take on more customers, don’t ask for any referrals. You don’t want to have to turn someone down, especially if they’re connected with one of your existing customers.
Referrals are an extremely important component of B2B marketing, and should be included in any digital marketing strategy for manufacturing companies. To learn more about how the expert team at ZAG FIRST can help you develop, formalize, and communicate your referral marketing strategy, we’d love to connect with you!