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Using Marketing Automation to Strengthen the Referral Engine – Duct Tape Marketing Consultant


Using Marketing Automation to Strengthen the Referral EngineWhat is it that makes someone want to refer your client’s business? Trust is certainly a factor. So is a consistently high customer experience. Thoughtful, personalized content and offers also make a good impression. Plus, it’s sometimes just as simple as staying top of mind.

If you’re trying to help your client achieve all these goals and strengthen their referral business, turning to marketing automation can help. Marketing automation tools work across channels to help your clients provide the kind of thoughtful, consistent service that engenders trust and keeps their name front and center.

Read on as we take a look at the ways in which using marketing automation can strengthen the referral engine of any business.

Build Trust Through Consistent Messaging

One of the easiest ways to build trust with existing customers is to maintain consistency in tone and messaging across channels. Customers like to feel like they understand a brand, and when they’re seeing the same messaging across your client’s website, email campaigns, and social media platforms, they feel like they’re doing business with a brand they really know.

Marketing automation tools can help keep things consistent across the board. Maybe you have a client who runs a cleaning business. They work in both commercial and residential buildings, and their services and packages vary across those two target markets. They have a client who manages an office building, and marketing automation can help ensure that client is met with consistent, relevant messaging across channels.

When he goes to the website, he’s met with dynamic content that is specific to the company’s commercial cleaning membership program. He’s on a segmented email list that sends information about commercial offerings, which is different from the newsletter with home organization tips that goes to clients who use the cleaners for their homes. The advertising he encounters on social media is about the discount they’re offering on deep cleaning wall-to-wall carpets.

While the cleaning business has multiple areas of focus, the customer is only met with information that’s relevant to what he needs from the company. This reinforces the idea that the cleaning company is an expert in the field, rather than a generalist who does a little bit of everything. It’s that kind of consistent messaging that builds trust with existing customers.

Send Personalized Emails

Another part of building trust is making each customer feel like they’re receiving personalized attention from a brand. Marketing automation can help facilitate a tailored approach to each customer, making them feel cared for, and increasing the likelihood that they’ll think favorably of your client’s business.

Segmentation and automation of email lists can help you target existing customers with offers and messages that matter most to them. By breaking an email list down by demographics or attributes, you can send different emails to different subsets of your client’s customer base.

For example, let’s say your client is an online toy retailer. They have a hot new toy for toddlers that they’ll begin carrying next week. Rather than emailing their entire list about the offering, send an email to customers who have previously bought toys for newborns or toddlers. You can let them know about the release and give them the opportunity to pre-order the toy.

This approach makes the customer feel cared for—they’re dealing with a brand that understands their needs and wants. This in turn makes them more likely to engage with communications from the business; if they know they’re getting targeted messages, not generic email blasts, they’re more likely to open the message.

Tailor Website Messaging

Marketing automation can also empower you to change the content on your client’s website, displaying certain information to users based on attributes, behaviors, or demographics.

If you have a client that runs a handful of coffee shops in various locations, you might choose to show different website content based on where a user is located. Depending on where they are, you can direct them to a page with information about the hours, location, and daily specials at the shop nearest them.

This approach makes your client’s site easier to use, which gains them favorable notice from customers. But beyond that, a better user experience can also help boost their rankings in search results on Google.

Stay Top of Mind Across Social Media

Sometimes getting the referral is as simple as being the first name that comes to mind. One way to ensure that your client’s name is the one that rolls off someone’s tongue is to consistently get them in front of customers.

Social media is a great way to do this, since most people are on social media daily and are highly likely to encounter brands through this channel. However, there are many social media platforms, and keeping a consistent posting schedule across them all can get overwhelming if you’re doing that manually.

That’s where marketing automation comes in. A platform like Buffer or Hootsuite allows you to schedule out social media posts in advance, so that you’re not setting aside time each day to keep up with posting.

Curating content is also part of the social media game. It’s nearly impossible to create your own content daily, and that’s why sharing relevant content from thought leaders in the industry can help fill the gap and keep a social media presence consistent. There are a number of tools (like Curata) that can help you to find content that’s appropriate for your client’s audience.

Maintain a Thoughtful Referral Program

The final piece of the referral puzzle is establishing a clear cut way for existing customers to refer their friends. Whether this includes incentives or not, marketing automation can help you to maintain a referral program that gets results.

Using email automation, you can target customers with messaging after they’ve made a purchase. An email reminding them to rate and review the product or service they received, complete with links to the relevant review pages, makes it more likely that your client will build up a healthy number of online reviews.

You can also use dynamic content on a website to present those who have recently made a purchase with information about the referral program, including the perks of joining and a form allowing them to input their friend or colleague’s contact information.

Establishing a strong flow of referrals is key to keeping any small business up and running in the long term. Fortunately, marketing automation can help facilitate the kind of personalized, thoughtful communication across channels that builds trust and keeps brands top of mind, making customers likely to refer the business when the time comes.

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