According to a recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Ambassador, 82% of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase. The majority of brands, whether B2B or consumer companies, have an audience of prospective customers seeking information from your existing clientele.

Good marketers are aware of which traditional channels are getting a modern digital facelift, like word-of-mouth marketing evolving into referral marketing, but the best marketers are already using these practices with their own customer base.

When done correctly, launching a referral marketing program does more than build on existing marketing principles, it empowers your company. The simple, shareable URLs exchanged between informed members of your audience and prospective customers expands brand awareness and creates a clear path for new revenue using referral rewards. Plus, customers acquired through trustworthy recommendations convert earlier and faster than the average customer. Check out four referral marketing tips to make you a better marketer.

Tap Into Word-of-Mouth

Storytelling has taken the marketing world by storm. Don’t believe it? Take a look at Always’ Like A Girl campaign or Under Armour’s Rule Yourself commercials.

It’s over for marketing campaigns that only look good online or in stores, your brand must be able to jump from the page (or screen) and resonate with customers on a real level. Try as you might, the true value of your brand can’t be expressed from the inside out. You need people on the ground, attesting to the everyday awesomeness of your brand. If you’re lucky, they’re already talking.

A study conducted by Ogilvy, Google and TNS found that 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision. Referral marketing platforms couple these organic interactions with trackable and shareable links that can encourage and reward these insightful conversations. Instead of leaving your brand’s reputation up to chance, referral marketing seamlessly infuses the power of word-of-mouth into your marketing strategy.

Get Serious on Social

Everyone knows that social media is important, but why? For starters, a recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Ambassador revealed that 67% of Americans say they’re at least a little more likely to purchase a product after a friend or family member shared it via social media or email. There’s your motivation for you to make your social profiles more than an amended version of the company website.

Today’s brands are undoubtedly personified, but nothing tears down a solid brand identity faster than social profiles that are devoid of personality. Your social media presence should provide a channel for customers to give a shout out, provide feedback, and interact with one another. If you want customers to refer your brand, you’ll have to create places for your them to gather. Let’s face it, it takes much more than social listening for your brand voice to be heard.

Ditch Manual Processes

If your brand currently has a manual referral program, then you’ve only been able to minimally capture the power of word-of-mouth. Sure, referral programs rally customers around your brand, inform curious consumers, and provide an unbeatable layer of authenticity, but manually managing these processes can be frustrating. Even if you’ve crafted a reward program to accompany your marketing efforts, there’s no way to continuously manage, monitor, or strategize around customer activity without an automated referral marketing platform.

Marketers who want to pass out more than gold stars or coupons to their customers, should invest in an automated referral program and the insight that comes along with it. Smart marketers know how to capture actionable insight, instead of idly witnessing customer interactions.

Build Customer Campaigns Around Customer Data

Marketing campaigns of yesteryear may have been the result of goal-crushing epiphanies and revenue-building gut reactions, but today’s marketers are armed with more measurable tools. The emails, uploads, and social posts that brands use to reach customers have proven to become resources for the likes, follows, replies, and mentions that can track where your business is traveling online.

Referral-minded marketers will use online interactions to gauge how audience members reacted to specific campaigns and discover where they succeeded. The data gathered from automated referral programs is perfect for pinpointing power users who actively share and attract new customers on your brand’s behalf. Accessing this up-to-date customer activity insight is an irreplaceable advantage when it’s time to create customer segments and optimize future programs.

Put Our Referral Marketing Tips To The Test

According to a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the lifetime value of referred customers was 16% higher, on average, than that of non-referred customers. The principals of referral marketing aren’t that different than the beliefs that hold the modern marketing landscape in place. In fact, referral marketing is just a continuation of the bridge-building work that word-of-mouth marketing has achieved since the first successful customer recommendation. The true benefits arise as companies access their very own customer base to bring in a new stream of revenue. In order to become a better marketer, you have to find better strategies. When it comes to melding customer interest with company data, there’s no better answer than referral marketing.