Service Business Marketing: Setting Up a Kickass Referral Program


My biggest struggle as an irrigation business owner was always working to market my business and gain more customers. I knew how to do installations. I knew how to run time sheets for my field techs and office staff. I even knew how to master our accounting program to get invoices sent out to our customers.


But what I lacked the knowledge in was marketing my business. Service business marketing is a job all in its own and for a small business owner, it seemed like a foreign world. Since my days in the irrigation industry, I have come to own my own field service software business. Through this business, I have truly learned the importance of marketing and what it can do for your business.


One of the simplest, yet most effective, forms of marketing is through a referral program. Referral programs mostly have your customers do the work and in return you get new potential customers in. So how can you have a kickass referral program? There are a few things you will need.


Identify your "A" customers

Your first thought is probably what the hell is an “A” customer? An “A” customer is your ideal customer. They are loyal to your company, they probably spend the most on services and the relationship you have is a strong one. They are basically like “A” students to teachers.

Now that we have classified them, it is time for you to determine who they are. Ask your office staff, field staff and anyone else who has a good knowledge of your customers. You do not want to reach out to every single customer with this referral program, so reaching out to those you know already like you is the best way to start.

Reach out to the “A” customers

Make contact. Either by personal phone calls, emails or even snail mail. Ask your customers to refer a friend to your business. It could be a neighbor, a relative or their barber. It doesn’t matter. You simply need a way to reach people you otherwise wouldn’t come in contact with.

Offer something

To get, you are going to have to give. In order to receive referrals, you will need to give an incentive as to why your customers should refer you. Offer a gift card for dinner on your company. Offer 20% off their next service. Or offer a gift of your choosing. Whatever it is, really show your appreciation for the referral. Offering 5% off of a service the customer has never used isn’t exactly an ideal incentive.

You can also offer a smaller gift for when a customer refers someone and a larger gift once that person becomes a referral. Everyone likes to be appreciated and this is a good way to show how friends of customers can expect to be treated in the future.

Like I said, marketing has never been my strong point. Referral programs, however, are an easy way for us non-marketing people to get our name out into the community.


Want a few more marketing tips for your field service business? Download a free copy of Local SEO for Green Industry Businesses and learn what you can do to create a great web presence! 


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