By far, the most effective form of marketing is word-of-mouth marketing. I trust my friend over a random advertisement I see on a TV spot or on a billboard at a mall. If my friend recommends that I eat at Jamba Juice, then I’m very likely to go to Jamba Juice the next time I crave a smoothie.
The hard part is getting customers to tell their friends, family, and co-workers about your location. Even harder is tracking referrals so that you effectively reward only successful referrals.
This post highlights two easy methods that increase the possibility of referrals, and one proven, advanced method that has shown to not only incentivize referrals, but also provide you with the ability to track and reward successful referrals (this method utilizes the RewardMe product).
1. Shares through social media
The common course of action is to place a Facebook or Twitter icon on the home page of the company website in hopes that a customer will become a fan on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Surveys have shown that less than 8% of customers that eat at a location have actually been to the company’s website; furthermore, 40% of customers actively follow a brand on Facebook or Twitter, showing that brands are missing out on potential social media awareness.
Take a look at the images below – this is just not enough to get people to share your brand through social sites.
How to drive more Facebook Likes and Twitter Follows
Franchises must actively promote Facebook and Twitter at the location. The easy, simple way to do this is to display print materials that promote Facebook and Twitter through posters and other table signage. Make sure to include the Facebook and Twitter url on the signage so that the customer can quickly explore it through his or her mobile device.
A proactive location will showcase a laptop or tablet where customers can sign up to Facebook or Twitter and follow the company. How to do this effectively:
1. Set a laptop or tablet with a lock at the counter of the restaurant
2. Allow your customers to sign in and follow, fan, and post items to your pages
3. Open a browser and have two tabs open: One to your Facebook URL and the other to your Twitter URL
2. Referrals through events and holidays
It’s very important to capture the following customer information:
- Phone number
These 4 pieces of information provide the cornerstone to a referral management process. For example, you can run a promotion for a customer’s birthday that drives 5 of his or her friends to your location:
“Happy Birthday Sam! We’d like to invite you and 5 of your friends to eat at our location and each get a complimentary dessert! Just present the following coupon code to the cashier: ######”
Not only do you get your customer back to your store to spend money, but you also drive your customer to tell 5 of his friends to eat at your location.
Another example is to send the following message to your customers during Super Bowl Weekend:
“Having a party for the Super Bowl? Order a party platter for the big game and get $5 off your order. Use the code: ######”
Super Bowl parties are usually huge and if your meal impresses, then your customer’s friends will surely order your food for the next game or party.
3. Advanced referral through RewardMe
RewardMe offers a robust friend-referral system that takes advantage of mobile numbers and game-mechanic incentives.
The following is a common referral incentive that customers set up: Refer 5 friends to our location and receive a free smoothie.
Process and how it works:
- Customer uses his phone or client website to send a custom invitation to his friends via their mobile number
- The message can read, “Hey, it’s Jun! I highly recommend the burger at Mooyah Burgers! Lets go eat there next week.”
- When the friend enters his number on the RewardMe tablet at the location, we register that the referral was successful
- Once the customer has successfully referred 5 friends, he earns a free smoothie
The process is easy, fast, and convenient for customers. Give customers an incentive to do something and they’ll do it just to get the reward.
Make it easy for your customers to share their experience, the food, and their love of your business with their network. The easier you make the share, the more shares you’re going to get.