I frequently participate in forums on Alignable, asking and answering marketing questions. I occasionally bring bits of the forum here to the blog. Today, I’ll be expanding on a conversation I had with a bookstore owner about how to generate referrals.
Bookstore Owner : Looking for advice as to how best to market my audio bookstore to the local neighborhood and online. Here’s my issue. Our business model, that makes us unique to bookstores, is that we offer audio books for Rent. I believe we give a great value to our customers for the price we charge. But I have tried everything including radio ads, print ads, Facebook Ads and writing articles. Yet, most people find the store by accident. After 9 years in the same location, people still walk in and say to me “Wow, I didn’t know this place existed”. Thanks in advance.
Brianna at One Step: Do you have any sort of referral or rewards program? Often the best marketers are those clients who already love your business. Maybe you could offer a free month’s membership or a free book rental if they share your Facebook page, bring a friend to an event, tell a friend about your business, etc.
Bookstore Owner: We have tried several types of referral plans. Giving $5.00 credit for each referral. Offering a 1 Free month to our customers if they get a customer to sign-up to a plan. We usually advertise these referral programs for three months in a row. Out of the 300 customers we sent the offer out to only less than 1% referred anybody. That’s not say that we don’t get referrals from our customers, because we do. They just happen to be given organically. I don’t think our customers which skew in a older demographic care so much about getting a free month or receiving a dollar amount for each referral. Plus our business is so unique, I don’t think most people are thinking about it when they are out with friends.
Brianna at One Step Services: Rather than trying 3 month plans, I recommend thinking of ways that you can consistently and constantly remind your clients to refer you. You may be right that they aren’t interested in rewards and that organic referrals are best for your clientele. However, there is nothing wrong with reminding them to make those organic referrals. Many studies show that the more you remind or ask people to do something…refer you, like your social media post, write a testimony, etc…the more likely they are to do it.
So to increase those organic referrals, consider including a referral card in every book you mail out. Just a little something that a client could pass on to a friend with your info. Keep those same handouts near your cash register so people can grab them on their way out. Every time you send an email, make sure there is an obvious link so they can forward it to a friend. If you’re on social media, about once a week make a post asking for referrals or asking them to share your post/page with their friends. Here at One Step, we send out handwritten welcome notes to new clients and we include referral cards. We also send handwritten notes to our most consistent and loyal clients, people we think would speak highly of us.
It may sound obnoxious, but keep in mind one single person will probably only pay attention to one of these touch points. And it’s critical that you constantly stay top of mind to get those organic referrals. This is not a three month program, but something that is part of your long term marketing strategy. And I do think that you are off base in saying that your service is so unique people don’t think about it when out with friends. Media is a very popular topic amongst friends and movies, music and books are easy conversation starters. Your clients will refer people if you tell them to.
The Challenge: The Chanje Movement needed help promoting their first ever golf classic and gala. Previously, their big fundraising event had been a charity run which required very different promotional materials. They came to us with a vague idea of what they wanted, but didn’t know the details. Specifically, they needed guidance on their invitations, programs and signage.
The Solution: At One Step, we’ve created and printed marketing materials for several charity galas, including American Heart Association, so we had several different ideas for Chanje. We pulled out our stack of samples and discussed content ideas, design ideas, paper types and budget. Once we narrowed down the details, we brought in a designer who created a look for the event by expanding on the logo they had already created.
The Surprise: Two weeks before the event, we were discussing signage and the founder, Dave, expressed a desire for a sign that encouraged people to participate in child sponsorships. Their One Step account rep, Brianna, suggested printing on a white board sign so that the team could use markers to track progress.
The Result: The whiteboard sign was a huge hit. One Step printed a simple thermometer design on white board material, and the Chanje team wrote their goal and tracked their progress with erasable marker. They’ll be able to reuse this sign to future events. In addition, One Step created elegant invitations, event programs, sponsorship banners and signs for each golf hole. The Chanje Movement was incredibly pleased with the result.
The Testimonial: “Working with Brianna at One Step Services makes it easy for our small organization to increase our impact. When we need help with graphics & design or fresh ideas for our content or marketing, she is available – and they’re affordable and fast! We planned our first ever golf & gala fundraiser and their support made it possible to focus on sharing our vision and connecting with people. Knowing they are there for us gives me a confidence we have the support we need.” – Dave Brodksy
Our annual holiday schedules of events are ready to order! We’ve done things a little differently this year. Instead of choosing a city, you simply choose your county and we’ll put together a list of major events taking place in different areas throughout the county. Have some specific events you want featured? No problem, just send those over and we’ll put them on the card you choose.
These pieces are particularly effective because they are sticky, meaning people are likely to keep them around for a while and reference them more than once. Every time they do, they’ll be reminded of your name, your face and your brand. These pieces have a strong ROI and are a great way to wrap up your 2017 direct mail marketing efforts.
Each design is available as an 8.5×8.5 postcard or 8.5×5.5 postcard. As always, the production fee of $12 is waived when you order 200 or more. Additional bulk discounts apply for orders of 500+ and 1,000+. Download the order form and email it to email@example.com or give us a call if you have questions 949-587-5301.