Lead generation can be tricky. Acquiring new customers costs time and money. Word-of-mouth customer referrals generate low-cost, highly qualified leads. Learn how we can help you manage your reputation and turn satisfied customers into organic promotors for your brand.
Homeowners are finding more referrals online. Know what’s being said about your business with CraftJack’s Reputation Manager.
Customer Referral As Affordable Lead Generation
Lead generation is an essential part of doing business, but it’s also something many contractors struggle with. Attracting new customers can mean spending a lot of time working on advertisements, following up on inquiries, and generally working as a salesperson, rather than doing the hands-on work that attracted you to contracting in the first place.
Launching a customer referral program could help you grow your business more effectively by turning your loyal customers into brand advocates. After all, what better advertisement is there for your contracting business than a satisfied customer?
Loyal Customers Are A Powerful Asset
The cost of acquiring a new customer can be as much as five times the cost of retaining an existing one. A loyal customer, meaning someone who’s had repeated positive experiences with your service, is incredibly valuable. Not only do these customers have a high total lifetime value from the services they buy from you but they also help your business grow.
There’s an often-repeated truism that unhappy customers won’t complain to the service provider that let them down, but they will tell their friends and family, while happy customers, if unprompted, are simply quietly happy with the job they had done. The challenge contractors face is getting happy customers to share their experiences with the people who matter.
Running a customer referral program is an effective way of getting happy customers to recommend your services to their friends and family. If you have a customer who’s used you for their kitchen, bathroom, and conservatory and been consistently happy with the quality of work you provide, why not encourage them to tell their neighbors or loved ones so they can call you when they’ve got their own remodeling plans?
A well-implemented referral program could help you find free remodeling leads that are highly likely to convert. The contacts of your existing customers will have a good first impression of your brand and will most likely be people who are in a position to make use of your services. This makes referral-based lead generation efficient and cost-effective.
Stability Builds A Strong Reputation
The importance of customer retention is something that can’t be overstressed. If you can earn a position in your long-term customer’s speed dial as the “go-to” contractor for all their home improvement and remodeling leads, you won’t have to worry about quotes and competing for the customer’s attention.
Positive reviews from close contacts carry far more weight than online or “expert” reviews for 92% of people, according to research by Nielsen. This means they’re a hugely effective way for you to find free leads. If a person is looking for someone to remodel their bathroom, for example, and their options are getting quotes from several unknown contractors or calling someone who’s already shown they’re professional and reliable and do a good job for a trusted contact, the choice is an easy one to make.
It’s not uncommon for families to have a few trusted tradespeople they’ll call for all manner of jobs, from fixing leaking faucets to fitting new kitchen cabinets. When older children move into their first homes, they’ll use the same contractors, and they’ll tell their friends and family too. A good reputation can create a steady flow of bookings, reducing the need for marketing and the associated sales work that goes with it.
Of course, you’ll still need to consider your online reputation so you can win over new contacts and be reachable to those whose referral comes in the form of “Call Bill’s Renovations; he did a great job for me but I’ve lost his business card.” Your online presence is like a shop window, and if it’s tidy and well-presented, people will be more likely to want to engage with you.
So how can you combine online reputation management with word of mouth to generate a powerful marketing machine? It’s simple:
- Provide the best possible service for every customer.
- Follow up at the end of the job, make sure they’re happy, and tie up any loose ends.
- At the end of the job, thank the client for their business.
- If you use paper invoices/receipts, provide a few cards or flyers for the client to share.
- If you email bills, include a simple request for a review on social media.
- Follow up on those reviews, saying thank you for all comments (positive and negative).
- Where possible, run offers such as 10% off for referrals (with a bonus for the referring person, too).
- Ask clients if you can share photos of their finished work on your social media.
- Use promotional gifts such as pens, cups, or memory sticks as a lasting reminder of your contact details.
- Ask clients if you can add them to a mailing list, and send out seasonal offers for renovation/maintenance work.
Often, if someone has hired you once to do some work in their yard, you’ll be able to arrange to come back for regular maintenance. Once you have that scheduled booking to fix up fences and clean gutters every autumn, you’re “their garden contractor,” and they’re more likely to recommend you to others.
Reputation management is an ongoing task, but a large portion of it is simply being polite, personable, and professional. At CraftJack, we offer tools to help you keep track of your contacts, making the job easier.