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I first read about referral marketing campaigns in the book, The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing by Ilise Benun and Peleg Top of Marketing Mentor. Yesterday I listened in on an informative webinar hosted by Duct Tape Marketing called Building a Referral Engine that shared more ideas for successful referral marketing.

Below find the tips I found most useful from webinar panelists John Jantsch – Creator of Duct Tape Marketing; Bob Burg – Author, “Endless Referrals”, “The Go-Giver”, “Go-Givers Sell More”; Ivan Misner –  Founder & Chairman of BNI; and Ben McConnell – Principal, Ant’s Eye View.

Referral marketing tips:

  • Shift your focus from getting to giving
  • it’s not about you, it’s about them – take the focus off yourself
  • Add value to others – freely share your knowledge
  • Teach your referral partners what to listen for (“I can’t…” or “I need…”) – make it easy for them to give you referrals
  • Create visibility and credibility: tell people what you do and show them you are good at it
  • Establish relationships with new connections before asking for referrals
    • KNOW -> LIKE -> TRUST
  • A great networker enjoys helping others
  • Send a handwritten thank you note after receiving a referral
  • Make strategic referral alliances with fellow business owners who serve similar clients (wedding vendors are great at this)
  • Build relationships and the referrals will follow…

Do you have other great ideas for creating or maintaining a referral marketing program? Share your comments!

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Yesterday marked the first day of Make a Referral Week. The best way to celebrate? Why yes, by giving referrals.

A referral campaign should be part of all small business marketing plans. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it can be as simple as asking a client if they know someone else who might benefit from your services.

But it’s not just about getting referrals… we should also focus on returning the favor by giving referrals. Let’s see how easy it is. Grab a pencil and pad of paper. Jot down 5–10 businesses (or retail shops) that you rely on for their top-notch products, reliability, quality work, superb customer service or just overall fabulousness.

Now, here is your chance to sing their praises to the rest of the world: submit your referral to the Make a Referral Week website. It’s an easy way to help fellow small businesses (and perhaps improve your karma). And if you’re lucky, someone will write a nice referral for you too.

By the way, you can continue the referral love by participating in Make a Referral Monday on Twitter. Share your referrals each Monday using the hashtag #marm—or if you need referrals, just follow along.

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