Referrals should be the life blood of a healthy boutique business. But you have to use boutique marketing strategies if you’re going to stay in business and get those referrals.
I have several favorite businesses in town that I am constantly referring business to because I love their unique, hand-crafted jewelry and unique gift items. One in particular, a local store called J Parkes (sorry, no web ordering) makes the cutest jewelry out of cut metal. Just about every visitor that comes to town gets an offer from me to take them. I know that if my friends purchase an original piece of jewelry, that when they return home, they will receive many compliments and be the envy of all of their friends. Referrals should be a strategy you use to grow your small business and they should offset your boutique marketing programs. I am often asked about referral programs and in my opinion, the best place to start is by creating something worth referring.
Here are 4 boutique marketing ideas to make your business referral-worthy:
1. Make an experience to remember. Why is it that in the Midwest, high school senior photography season brings the 97 degree weather and 100% humidity? Last week, to survive the heat, we ended one of my favorite client’s sessions at a walk-in water fountain. In her prom dress, our super cool senior started by splashing the water and then completely submerged herself in the water. It was an incredibly fun session and created an experience we will both remember. I know that the images they purchase will remind them of our fun experience and encourage them to tell their friends about it.
2. Blow your clients away with products you can’t find everywhere else. We look for products that are more expensive, hand-finished, hard to find or come from another industry. We know that the harder we are to copy, the less likely others in our market will be to copy us. If your products or services are vanilla, how will your clients be excited enough to brag about you?
3. Offer unexpected services. What services are you offering that make your clients say whoa? Can you go measure walls for your clients? What if you delivered the photographic artwork and hung it for them? Look at your business and see what you can do that creates unexpected excitement from your clients. That is something worth talking about.
4. Don’t be a boring marketer. Have you ever referred a friend to another business because you received a post card in the mail? (If you did, it probably had a huge discount which is going to devalue your brand). What I am talking about is creating marketing that evokes an emotion or illicit’s a response. Your marketing and promotion needs to sing if others are going to join your choir.