How an Orthodontist Doubled Their Referrals (And Four Tips for Creating a Great Referral Marketing Strategy)

How an Orthodontist Doubled Their Referrals (And Four Tips for Creating a Great Referral Marketing Strategy)

Referral leads are among the hottest that you’ll have come through your system. Here’s how any business can use the power of automation to give their referral marketing a boost.

Why should your business focus on getting referrals?

It’s simple. People trust what other people tell them about the businesses that they work with. A referral from a satisfied customer is often much more powerful than your own marketing materials.

As a result, the leads you get from referrals tend to be hotter than those you get from other lead generation activities.

That means you have more chance of converting them.

The key is that you use automation to build a powerful referral strategy. That’s just what this orthodontist did using Infusionsoft.

What you’re about to learn applies to ANY business in ANY industry.

The Orthodontist’s Referral Marketing Success Story

Dr. Dustin Burleson had tried a few automated solutions in an effort to market his business. With a unique selling point of being able to work to his patient’s schedule to offer convenience, he’d had some success.

But it wasn’t until he made the switch to Infusionsoft that he started to focus on automating in earnest.

Dr. Burleson built a powerful referral strategy by designing an automated campaign that focused on key milestones in his patients’ journeys.

For example, a patient may need to get braces. Dr. Burleson created automations for each key milestone in that process. When the patient hit a milestone, they’d receive a congratulatory gift for their efforts.

It’s a small thing. But it helps to put a smile on the patient’s face and keeps them engaged with Dr. Burleson.

The end result was a marked increase in referrals from happy patients. Prior to leveraging automation for his rewards campaign, Dr. Burleson had a 32% referral rate from his patients.

Once he started using Infusionsoft, he boosted that to 60%.

On top of that, automating his referral process helped to reduce his costs by 56%. Plus, it saved him enough time that he could take over 40 vacation days for the year.

How Can You Build a Powerful Referral Marketing Strategy?

Of course, referral marketing isn’t restricted to orthodontists. The key premise of happy customers recommending businesses to their friends crosses over to every industry.

That means a great referral strategy can give your business a similar boost to Dr. Burleson’s.

And you can use automated processes to power that strategy.

Here are four tips that will help you.

Tip #1 – Leverage Automated Messaging to Stay in Touch With Existing Clients

Quality communication plays such an important role in keeping customers happy.

That’s key to getting referrals from your existing clients. Staying in touch with existing clients shows that you still care about their needs. It also allows you to promote new offers and your referral program.

Dr. Burleson’s reward program is a variation on this tactic. In his case, his communicating with his existing patients by offering them small gifts when they hit important milestones. The nature of the gift isn’t important. It’s the fact that he’s maintaining communication, which shows that he cares.

You can leverage automation to do the same thing. For example, you could record important dates that relate to each of your customers in your CRM. These might include the date the client first bought from you and their birthday.

You can then create an automation that contacts the customer on those dates.

It’s all about keeping your business at the top of the customer’s mind. If you do that, they’re going to think of you when somebody they know needs a service that you can provide.

And that means you have more chance of getting a referral from that customer.

Automation Agency can help you to set up a milestone-based email automation. Just let us know what milestones you want to hit and what messages you want to send to existing customers.

Tip #2 – Promote Your Referral Program

Beyond maintaining communication with clients, you may have a more active referral program. For example, you may offer a small reward for every lead that an existing client refers to you.

That little incentive can go a long way to spreading positive word of mouth for your company.

But it’s not going to do you any good if you’re not promoting the program.

Thankfully, there are all sorts of ways that you can leverage automation to promote your referral program. These include the following:

  • Integrate the program into your existing email automations. For example, you may have an automation that sends a thank-you note to a customer once they purchase from you. That note should also include a banner that tells the customer about your referral program.
  • Send out automated messages via social media. The key here is that you don’t bombard your followers with reminders. However, an automated message sent out a couple of times a month keeps the program fresh in the minds of your customers.
  • You may also use data from your CRM to create a targeted social media ad campaign. For example, you can pull the data of all customers who’ve made a purchase in the last two months. You can then use that data to create a targeted ad campaign on Facebook.
  • If you have member accounts, you can promote your program constantly to your members. For example, you could pop a banner into the automated invoices that you send out every month.

Those are just a few examples. The key here is that you promote the program to ensure your current customers know about it. A little incentive can go a long way towards convincing people to talk about you.

Again, Automation Agency can help you to set up these automations or adjust your current ones.

Tip #3 – Track Your Referred Leads

Convincing people to refer leads to you is only part of the battle.

What you do with those leads is also extremely important. Remember that referred leads are often hotter leads than those you get from other sources. They’ve heard about you from a friend and have likely spoken about you in some detail. Ideally, they’re already coming to you with a positive impression of your company.

That means they’re not looking for early promotional material. They’re going to go on a completely different customer journey to your other leads.

Your automations need to account for that.

Plugging referred leads into a general sales email automation isn’t going to work. When you do this, you’re not accounting for the motivated nature of the lead.

It’s crucial that you use your CRM to track any referred lead that comes into your business. This tracking allows you to enter the lead into an automation that’s specific to your referral program.

This allows you to send more targeted messaging that ensures the lead doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

You may also be able to use tracking to link a referred lead to the customer who referred it. This is useful if your referral program rewards referrers when a lead converts. You could create another automation that triggers upon conversion. This can then send the appropriate reward to the referrer.

Tip #4 – Keep the Program Simple

The more complicated a referral program is, the less likely a customer is to engage in it.

Furthermore, complex programs can make customers wary of you. If they’re having to jump through lots of different hoops to refer you to someone, they may just give up. And in the worst cases, you can leave them with a negative opinion that means you’ll never get a referral from them.

A referral program can be as simple as this:

  • The referrer gets a reward for sending a lead your way.
  • The referred lead gets a reward upon their first purchase.
  • All existing customers get small rewards upon hitting major milestones.

Simple means successful when it comes to your referral program.

Use Automation to Power Your Referral Program

Dr. Burleson took an interesting approach to referrals. Instead of rewarding patients based on who they referred, he rewarded them for hitting key milestones. By keeping his patients happy, he increased his referrals.

You can leverage a similar strategy for your business. Or, you can make use of a more traditional referral program.

Either way, automating some key processes ensures that you save tons of time. Plus, it helps you to keep track of all of the leads and incentives relevant to the program.

Automation Agency can help you to build your automated referral program. Just send us a task today if you need help with setting up your partner programs or creating automated email sequences.

And if you’re not working with us currently, you can talk to our Right Fit Chatbot. This will help you to see if we’re a good fit for your needs.

About The Author

Carl Taylor

Carl Taylor is the Founder & CEO of Automation Agency. For the past 10 years Carl has been building businesses and marketing them online through the use of Sales Funnels, Email Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, and Wordpress Websites. Carl is also a #1 author and highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted thousands of businesses across various industries worldwide.