Most of us – as marketers and consumers ourselves – inherently understand the value of referrals. As professionals, we’ve read the referral marketing statistics and have seen it work for companies large and small. In our personal lives, when we make a big purchase, we seek out reviews or ping our networks for recommendations.

While you may see referral marketing work for successful companies like Uber and Airbnb, it’s understandable that you might question if it can be achieved by your brand. You might also be wondering if your unique audience would be interested, or engaged, in your referral program.

Here’s the short answer: No matter the industry, successful referral programs generate a natural network effect. As you acquire more referred customers, an abnormally high proportion of them will convert into new ambassadors. Those ambassadors will then draw in new customers, and the cycle will start all over again.

A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is. It is what consumers tell each other it is. -Scott Cook, co-founder, Intuit

Need more proof on why referral marketing should be a critical component of your strategy? We thought you might!

Which is why we set out to answer a few key questions:

– How influential is word-of-mouth in their purchasing decisions?

– Which channels do they rely on most for recommendations?

– How (if at all) do people want to be compensated for providing referrals?

What was the verdict?

Let’s just say that even we were surprised by some of the results. To get the full picture, check out our infographic below.

Referral Infographic

At its core, referral marketing doesn’t have to be overly complex. In fact, getting started is as simple as putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Ask these questions:

– Would you recommend your company’s products to others?

– Where and how would you do it?

– What incentives would motivate you to increase your referral activity?

– What barriers would keep you from doing it?

To dive into more techniques to transform your happy customers into brand ambassadors, check out our definitive guide below.