How to build an effective referral marketing strategy

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Referral marketing can be an effective way to boost lead generation, skyrocket event attendance, and help grow your business. Not only can referrals multiply your customer base, studies have shown that word-of-mouth recommendations are trusted above any other form of advertising. So how do you build a strong referral marketing strategy that helps you achieve your business goals? Keep reading as we dive into the ins and outs of referral marketing, how it can benefit your business, and how the InGo platform makes it all easy to do. 

Referral Marketing 101: The Basics

So what is referral marketing? At its core, referral marketing is an intentional process where you leverage the power of your customer’s influence to spread the word about your brand, products, and services. Oftentimes, referral marketing strategies incorporate rewards or incentives to customers for referring their networks. Compared to more traditional types of marketing, which are aimed at a general audience, referral marketing uses a company’s existing customer base to generate potential leads. Referral marketing can be a win-win strategy for both your business (as you gain more leads) and your existing customers (as they benefit from referring your products or services). 

At InGo, we’ve built our platform around the power of referral marketing to help businesses solve their biggest event marketing challenges. It’s simple: your current event attendees know dozens of other industry contacts who should be attending your event. With just a few clicks, they’re empowered to easily influence others to attend your event and for your business to acquire new attendees. Everyone is already using social media to boast and brag about their latest experiences, so why not leverage this to bring in new customers and strengthen relationships with existing ones?

Who can benefit from referral marketing? 

Building an effective referral marketing strategy can be beneficial for just about every business and industry out there. Whether your brand is in retail, manufacturing, or media, if you have an event marketing plan in place, odds are you’ll get a boost from leveraging referral marketing through the InGo platform. But, there are a few elements you’ll want to have in place before executing your strategy:

  • Engaged existing attendees: Referral marketing starts with engaged and active customers who have purchased your product or services or attended previous events. With InGo, we make it easy for current attendees to share that they are joining your event, but before they do that, you have to make sure you’ve got a great base of attendees who are active on social media. You can consider a tactic such as post-event engagement to keep your attendees connected with your brand, making it easier to get them to influence their networks.

  • An active social media presence: Before you ask anyone to promote your brand or influence their networks, you’ll need a strong social media presence for your business. Potential customers or attendees will want to explore your platforms to see what you’re all about, what kind of products or services you offer, and why their peers like your brand so much. Consistent posts with relevant and engaging content and managing and responding to comments and questions online are just a few ways you can build and maintain a quality social media presence.

  • Great (and relevant) brand offerings: It goes without saying that you have to offer customers high-quality and relevant products, services, and experiences to stay competitive and keep customers coming back. You’ll need the same for a referral marketing strategy to be effective. You can’t expect to have customers willing to vouch for and promote your business if they’re not genuinely happy with what you offer. If existing attendees influence their networks to attend your event and don’t get what they need or want from the experience, it’s pretty unlikely they’ll be willing to do it again.

Building an effective strategy

Now we’re at the fun part: building your referral marketing strategy! The first few things to figure out include developing clear cut goals for the strategy and who your target referrers are. For example, you may want to increase your next event attendance by 10% or boost your lead generation. And depending on your goals, you may want to target a speaker or sponsor from your last event to influence prospective attendees to join your next event. Whatever you’re looking to gain through your referral marketing strategy, you’ll need to be clear on your goals so you can measure your success and make any adjustments along the way.

From there, you’ll want to consider how you’re going to build your strategy. Will you leverage email marketing or create an incentive program for your most dedicated customers? There are many options to consider so it could be helpful to partner with an expert who can help you identify the best way to dig in. Referral software is one option to consider, and so is InGo. We’ve perfected (and simplified) referral marketing by reaching the professional connections of your current attendees. With just one social media post, you can empower your speakers, sponsors, and attendees to influence their like minded networks to join your events. InGo does the heavy lifting so you can focus on building the backbone of your referral strategy, building an exceptional event experience, and skyrocketing your event attendance.

Get building!

Referral marketing can take time to figure out and execute, but when it’s done well, it can be a time-saving and effective way to gain new customers and gain more event attendees. Understanding what referral marketing is, how it can benefit your brand, and exploring the right tactics to build a strategy can put you on the way to achieving (and maybe exceeding) your business’s goals.

If you’re ready to get started with a referral marketing strategy and are looking for a good partner to help, reach out to InGo. We’re the #1 tool for community referral marketing and we can help your business skyrocket event attendance, squash no shows, and keep your community engaged and interested. Schedule a demo today to learn more.


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