Referrals are the king of all marketing. Nothing beats word of mouth – even in this day and cyber-age. It can definitely take some time to build up your profile enough to generate word of mouth organically but there is a way to fast track it in a very authentic method.
I call this Referral Circles. It’s a term I coined to explain a mutual agreement between a group of business owners to refer work onto each other. I have my own Referral Circle – one filled with a photographer/graphic designer, digital marketer and a website developer. For example, whenever I have a client that needs a photoshoot, I send them to Monika. Whenever Monika has a client that needs more clarity on their business and brand (which can make her design work rather tough) she sends them my way.
The key to a successful referral circle is to establish what services your clients or customers need. Who else are they buying from when they work with you? Or before you? What services complement yours? I started my referral circle with my dream client in mind – how could I provide the best service to my client, even if I couldn’t provide it myself? Who can cover my weaknesses? I know my clients want to have a profitable online business. There’s a lot of factors that come into play and while I can provide the strategic direction and the moral support, I can’t create their graphics or set up their website. But I know who can.
This is incredibly helpful for my clients. It takes out the research phase for them. They don’t have to go looking for a graphic designer, instead they get a trusted referral.
It’s also incredibly helpful for you. A referral from a trusted source is free marketing for you. It will drive more clients and customers your way and the base line of trust has already been established.
I’ve provided some examples below to show you just how diverse a referral circle can be. This is by no means a full list and I encourage you to think about alternative professions that can help you bring the best possible outcome for your client or customer.
Example One: Health Coach specialising in Autoimmune Health
- Chinese Medicine
Example Two: Personal Trainer specialising in Post-Natal health
- Women’s health nurse
- Baby / Maternity store owner
Example Three: Wedding photographer
- Fashion / Beauty blogger
- Wedding Stationery designer
- Jewellery Designer / Store owners
Example Four: Marketing Coach/Consultant
- Business/Success coach
- Graphic Designer
- Public Speaking coach
- Marketing Agency
- Virtual Assistant
- Website Developer
Example Five: Make Up Artist
- Fashion Stylist
- Fashion blogger
- Jewellery designer
- Business Coach
Example Six: Architect / Building Designer
- Town planner
- Energy Rater
Here’s some homework for you: write down a list of all the professions who can complement your service or product. Feel free to share some examples of your own in the comments below.