Nurturing Organic Referrals Using Net Promoter Score

March 2018

It’s a great moment when you see that your current customers have started to promote your brand and products and nurturing these organic referrals is a pivotal step for growing your business.

Unlike traditional nurturing strategies, using the existing customer feedback (and in this case the Net Promoter Score (NPS) framework) pinpoints your audience’s interactions, so you can create targeted campaigns and optimize your marketing processes.

“Advanced KPIs, such as Net Promoter Score, can help you decide where to focus your marketing efforts. The NPS calculates the likelihood of customers recommending your brand to friends and family members,” writes Forbes contributor Steve Olenski.

The message is clear: you should focus your efforts on metrics that ultimately drive customer satisfaction or profit. Unfortunately, most companies have dozens of metrics such as website visitor numbers, revenue per visit, and more. 

There are thousands of successful companies that focus on customer satisfaction and harness one key metric to help them track and improve satisfaction - Net Promoter Score (NPS) helps you gather customer feedback and turn it into actionable triggers for your team that helps improve customer satisfaction. 

What’s great about Net Promoter Score is that it’s also perfect as a framework for nurturing organic referrals from your advocates. Here are four steps that will help you drive more organic referrals with NPS.

1. Identify Promoters

Brand advocacy is vital for any business that wants to improve customer awareness and boost sales. However, it’s also often a costly exercise requiring elaborate marketing activities and employee time. 

As a result, many businesses turn to their target audience for support since happy customers are also great advocates! A customer’s authenticity offers a fresh perspective to potential consumers seeking honest product recommendations.

But how do you identify these loyal brand advocates? NPS offers a solution. 

With NPS surveys, your team can accurately record feedback from your customers. Then, you can use that data to sort out detractors from promoters. In this case, you’re looking for promoters—customers willing to refer your products to their network.

NPS platform SightMill takes it a step further: it lets you build rules that show different messages to customers based on their responses and it integrates with Google Analytics so you can separate out the promoters that visit your site and view their user journeys through your website or online product, matching this with the verbatim comments the users make. 

This journey mapping really helps you understand the way your promoters use your product’s features and so helps you reinforce the messaging and provide appropriate offers. (It’s equally useful in identifying which features your detractors find don’t work so well – but that’s a different blog article!)

Promoters play an integral role in earning referrals. With NPS leading the way, it’s easier to identify your advocates.

2. Show Appreciation

After identifying your promoters, why not start asking your loyal fans for referrals? This can work well, and NPS platforms such as SightMill include features to leverage social posting after a promoter has left their feedback.

As well as asking for referrals, an effective way to leverage your promoters is to simply show this group a little appreciation. Why? Because they deserve it ! These individuals purchase your products regularly, spread positive brand messages, and mobilize others to learn more about your business. 

Appreciation takes many different forms—from discount codes to swag bags to VIP tickets at exclusive events. Plus, showing gratitude offers a tremendous benefit for your company. You’ll find that the appreciation gift itself often turns into highly shareable content that then helps amplify your brand awareness when a promoter shares this with their network. Typically, you might find that discount codes are shared or emails forwarded or images of a gift shared on social media.

To determine what’s right to offer your promoters, you can gather qualitative data from NPS surveys to learn your promoters’ interests. Asking a simple question about reward preferences can provide valuable insight. Alternatively, your team can use these same incentives to encourage promoters to complete future surveys (though watch out if you are incentivizing survey completion: it’s ok if you do this consistently to help boost response rates, but if it’s not consistent or the incentive is too high then you will distort your customer feedback.)

3. Activate Your Advocates

Now, this is where the fun begins! It’s time to bring referrals your way by activating your loyal customers. 

Your team may choose to develop a formal brand advocacy program. In this community, you would invite promoters, set specific guidelines, and offer prizes for participation. For instance, you could give a 20% coupon to promoters who refer more than two people in a week. 

Another option is to motivate advocates to share brand experiences with their social following. Send a simple email campaign to this segmented group asking them to tell their stories on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

Then, you can highlight the best ones on your social media channels or turn the positive feedback into website testimonials. Below is a real-life example from a Chobani customer.

To ensure new visitors convert into leads, you also may consider creating a specific landing page with a special offer and giving that link to your promoters. Don’t be afraid to activate advocates in a way that fits your business’s needs.

4. Improve Overall Customer Experience

Nurturing referrals isn’t a one-time fix. It’s an ongoing process that needs fine-tuning. That means businesses must prepare a long-term strategy to improve the customer experience. And this customer perception will determine whether you gain promoters and increase referrals. When the service exceeds customers’ expectations, people are more willing to refer brands to their friends.

NPS serves as a competitive advantage to help you improve the customer experience. Feedback received from NPS surveys will assist your team in fulfilling requests from customers. With happy promoters and a carefully thought-through campaign, you can expect to generate a steady flow of referrals.

NPS Nurtures Referrals

To substantially grow your business, you want to add nurturing organic referrals to your to-do list, and linking it to NPS also makes building your referral pipeline easier. 

Start using Net Promoter Score across your company and sign up for SightMill today.