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.
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 an answer I gave to a landscape design business about generating leads.
Can anyone recommend good lead generating tools/techniques for a custom home building and landscape design business?
My boss got her backyard completely remodeled a few years ago. Just a few months later, the next door neighbors also redid the backyard. About a year later, the neighbors across the street revamped their front yard. Typically, when one neighbor does something to upgrade their home, it inspires others in the neighborhood to do the same. Therefore, if you work with homes, either as a contractor, landscaper, real estate agent, house cleaner, etc, your BEST place to find leads is in the neighborhoods where you are already working. So, here are some ideas for generating leads from the neighborhood in which you are working.
Numero uno is signage! Stick a sign in the homeowners lawn to let ALL the neighbors know who you and what you’re doing. If they want similar work, they know who to call. You can do a simple coraplast sign, or you can do a large sign with an attached box for flyers or business cards.
Do a direct mail or walk and drop campaign. I recommend doing one at the beginning of the job and one at the end. I once received a mailed card from a solar panel company. They told me they were going to be in the neighborhood installing and that they’d love to stop by and give me an estimate. This was an incredibly effective message, especially since I had been under the impression my neighborhood didn’t allow solar panels. Another effective mailing would have been if they had gathered a testimonial from that client and sent it out once the job was done.
Introduce yourself. You may not have time to walk the entire neighborhood, but you can take an hour and just walk the street. Even if you don’t consider yourself a sales person, you’ll be surprised how far a casual introduction and a business card can go. You don’t have to make hard sell, just introduce yourself, chat with people about their needs, and leave them with a card or brochure so they know how to contact you.
Give your client a referral discount. Your customers are your best sales people. Do a great job on their house, and they’ll naturally recommend you when asked. But if you offer some sort of incentive, they’ll talk about you even when they aren’t asked! And their personal testimonial will go a long way in convincing neighbors to pick up the phone.
Do you have any other tried and true lead generation strategies for people working on homes? Let us know in the comments below. And if you need signs, postcards, business cards, brochures, flyers or ANY other print marketing to promote your real estate business, landscape business, or home contractor business, talk to us! We offer free consultations, competitive pricing and high quality custom design products that cannot be beat.
Thank you to everyone who tuned in to our Holiday Marketing Kickoff, our first ever Facebook Live event! We are so thankful that you took time out of your day to view the video and engage with comments. On a personal note, I want to particularly thank you all for being so encouraging! I was very nervous about how this would go but you guys made it a lot of fun!
If you missed the live video, don’t worry. You can watch the recording on our Facebook page and get some great holiday marketing and gift ideas.
We talked about ALOT of stuff in that hour, so I’ve compiled all links, products, order forms, etc into one place so it’s easy to view! If you have any follow up questions, feel free to reach out to us on Facebook, through email email@example.com or call 949-587-5301.
Also, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter. We give lots of great marketing tips, for print, direct mail, social media and email. We also give free printables or exclusive discounts every month, and for October we are giving away free printable gift tags. Sign up by October 6 to ensure you get the October newsletter.
Prices list and special items pricing
Halloween Coloring Contest Sheet (100 sheets) – $30 + design time
Custom Looseleaf Notepads (250 sheets) – $40
Acrylic Notepad Holder – $10
Wine Bottle Boxes (excludes design time) – Qty 10 : $3.75 each – Qty 25: $2.85 each – Qty 50: $2.55 each – Qty 100: $2.45 each
4AllPromos.com (custom candy corn)
4Imprint.com (custom reusable grocery bags)
Fancy Fortune Cookies (giant fortune cookies)
Man Crates (gift boxes with “manly” gifts)
Your Memory Lane (custom personalized artwork)
Daylight savings is a great opportunity to touch base with your direct mail recipients. For one thing, it’s not an event many business capitalize on so there is minimal competition in the mailbox. Plus, it’s giving useful information without asking anything in return. This builds brand trust and loyalty. Third, its a piece that people are likely to keep around for a while as reminder to switch their clocks. This helps to build brand recognition, since every time they look at the piece they’ll see your brand!
We have two content ready time change postcards, ready to be personalized and sent out! Of course, as always, we can do custom work as well. To order a content ready card, simply download this Daylight Savings Postcard Order Form, fill it out and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to make the most out of the holidays? Download our 2017 direct mail marketing schedule. We tell you what to mail every week, taking into account deadlines for holidays. Our schedule includes our content ready postcards as well as full custom content. Pick and choose what you want, or simply give us a call and ask us to set up weekly mailings based on the schedule. We’ll handle everything for you!
Download 15 Weeks of Holiday Mailing_OSS
The summer is already coming to an end. Time to pack up the beach gear, get out the school supplies, and get back on a regular marketing schedule. These back to school postcards are a great way to connect with your geographic farm or social list. Your clients are getting back into a routine, time to get back on their radar!
Download Back To School Order Form. Fill it out and email it to email@example.com
Are you a real estate agent going after expired listings? Check our latest batch of content ready postcards, with postcards aimed specifically at owners of expired listings. Let them know that you have the tools and expertise needed to get that home sold.
Download Expired Listings Postcard Order Form
Not going after expireds? Not a problem. We also have a new traditional listings lead generation postcard. This “Choose Your Selling Adventure” postcard shows people that regardless of their situation, they need to give you a call!
Download the Fathers Day Order Form and either email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to 949-452-0381
A simple, classic Father’s Day postcard that is perfect for your social list or farm. We can also convert this to an EDDM size.
This lead generation postcard is Father’s Day themed. Use light humor, an adorable picture and the upcoming holiday to encourage recipients to call you for their real estate needs.
At One Step Services, we are all about real estate farming. We truly believe it is one of the best ways for a real estate agent to market their business. And while direct mail is the backbone of farming, other channels, such as door knocking and social media, are also important.
One of those other channels is neighborhood involvement. If you send out postcards every month saying how much you love the community, how involved you are, etc, then you need to show it! And summer is a great time to get out and get involved.
Engaging with your community allows you to:
- Stay in contact with past clients (those buyers you moved into the neighborhood).
- Meet new prospects face to face, learn about them, and target your marketing to them.
- Build trust in you and your brand. When people see you putting your words into action, they’ll trust you more and will be more likely to do business with you.
Here are some ideas to get you engaged with the community this summer:
Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt. There are so many ways to do this, a simple search on Pinterest will lead to lots of ideas. This idea would be especially effective if you have a lot of new people who have moved into the neighborhood in the past year. It will help them discover new places and people in their new neighborhood.
Icecream Social. Everyone loves free ice cream! Simply set up a table in your driveway (or on a street corner) with ice cream supplies and some homemade signs. This works great as a last minute idea. Just do it in the evening as everyone is driving home from work and school and you won’t need to send out invitations.
Driveway Movie Night. This is great if you live in the neighborhood, or have a good friend that does. Set up a projector and show a movie on your garage door serve up popcorn and drinks, and encourage everyone to bring chairs and blankets. This is an easy low cost way to bring the neighborhood together.
Neighborhood Improvement Project. It can be as simple as a trash pick up day or something a little more complicated like fixing the yard of a neighbor in need. Whatever it is, getting everyone to rally around a cause that improves their community is great for morale, and property values.
Sponsor an HOA event. Every Easter, my HOA hosts an egg hunt at the clubhouse. One of the local real estate agents sponsors it. Her name is on the promotional material, and the day of the event she passes out prizes to each of the kids. Most people in the neighborhood recognize her name and brand, and many are friends with her. This annual event is a great way for her connect with old clients and new prospects.
Hand out Pop Bys. – Pop bys are little gifts you leave on doorsteps. The longer summer days give agents extra time to do some door knocking, and the gifts a great way to get prospects to remember you. Lots of agents hand out small yard flags for 4th of July. Other fun summer ideas would be a bottle of bubbles, a packet of seeds, a shovel and pail, insulated cups with your logo, reusable grocery bags. Make sure the gifts are relevant and can be used by people in your farm.
We’d love to hear your ideas. Tell us, what do you do to engage your farm?