What Are You Doing To Generate Referrals?

Referral Marketing For ContractorsLike customer reviews and testimonials, home improvement contractors live and die on referrals. If you ask contractors on how they generate leads, a majority of them would say “referrals”. But what are they doing to generate them? The problem, however, is most home improvement contractors leave it up to their clients to “spread the word”. They never know if they are actually sharing your company information or simply ignoring your request.

These so-called “word of mouth” referrals are not a marketing system and should not be included in your marketing budget. Regardless of what type of contractor you are, creating a referral system is imperative to your success.

Building a Referral System for Your Company

When it comes to actually building a referral system, home improvement contractors simply rely on asking their clients, “Do you know anyone else?” or “please make sure to pass the word”. There is nothing wrong with these methods, but it will not increase the number of referrals a home improvement contractor should be generating. Here are a few referral system tools that every contractor should be implementing:

1)      After every project collect their review. Have them either give you a written testimonial, using a review sheet, or have them go directly online to your website and submit their review. This is good to not only get immediate feedback from clients, but also helps with the optimization of your contractor website.

2)      Get their email address. Staying in contact with past clients, regardless of the type of home improvement project completed, is a beneficial. We call that “top of mind” awareness. Sending out a newsletter, specifically email, you will be able to run a cost-effective marketing campaign and referral tool by sending out monthly newsletters to your client base.

3)      Stay in Contact.  Even if you do not want to send out an email marketing campaign, then stay in contact with your past contacts. A direct mail newsletter, much like the 8 page newsletter we provide, or a jumbo postcard helps. Schedule someone in your office to call your past clients, just to check in or even ask for referrals.

4)      Share Your Social Media Information. We are in a social media world. You need to share your main social media pages with your clients, so they can share and review your information directly on these pages. This part can go back to #1.

5)      Reward Them: When a referral becomes a client, immediately send a thank you. A card; fine wine; dinner out. Let them know how much you appreciate the referral. Public recognition to someone helps not only to reward referrals but increase that there will be more.

Doing great work is only one aspect when it comes to having a successful home improvement business. You need to actually increase your marketing through contact and referrals. Generating a referral system may actually be more important than any of your marketing tool, and that includes your website.

If you have any referral tools that you use that you would like to share, please do so via our Facebook page.

About 

Aaron O’Hanlon is a marketing consultant with Footbridge Media , a marketing firm, specializing in the contracting industry. It is his mission to create awareness of marketing online to the home improvement industry, and to educate, inform and assist contractors on taking over their own online presence.