Referral of Fortune: How Jewelers Can Thrive on Referral Business

With jewelry marketing, it’s what you know and who you know

Most retailers conduct their marketing based on a tried-and-true “shotgun approach.” This usually involves bombarding various mass media with a variety of here-we-are-come-and-see-us messages in the hope that something sticks and gets people in the door.

For the typical jewelry store, however, customers can come from anywhere, and a more effective opportunity needs to be cultivated. If you’ve never considered referral marketing, now is the time. Referral marketing is when other people speak to their customers on your behalf. It not only widens the scope of your marketing beyond your own customer base, but also presents you with warmer prospects: If you receive a recommendation from someone you know and trust, you are more willing to follow it than if the party concerned had approached you directly. Our current CPA was a recommendation from our previous CPA; our Internet legal adviser came from another Internet marketing company we had done business with. Your plumber may have been recommended by your electrician. We can all find examples of this in our daily lives.

Vouchers seem like pricey marketing, but they may cost less than you think.

So how do you find businesses that can recommend you to their clients? The best question to ask yourself is: Who has your customers before you do? For a builder, it would be an architect; for a pharmacist, it’s the doctor. In the case of jewelry, the options may depend on what’s being sold.

If you’re seeking wedding band sales, look at those involved in the wedding process before you. By the time the bride- and groom-to-be sit down to look at wedding rings, they will have booked the wedding venue, sorted out the florist, and reserved the caterer. As this example illustrates, there are many opportunities for a seller of wedding rings to get in front of the bride and groom. We term this the “sales web.”

In the sales web, let’s imagine that the center of the web is the store’s sales results, or customer base. Each thread leading to the center is a marketing arm represented by another business—in this case the florist, the reception venue, the limousine service, the wedding planner, and so on. The cross-threads represent the chance for each business to cross-promote to each other.

So if you’re a jeweler who wants to tap into the wedding planner’s contacts, you could offer the planner a percentage of whatever sales come from those referrals. Consider offering the florist this deal: Clients who book their wedding flowers receive a $50 voucher to your jewelry store that can be redeemed on any purchase over $250. There are as many opportunities as your imagination will allow, and each party can cross-promote to each other as they see fit, with multiple offers depending on the circumstances (the florist may create a different jewelry offer for wedding flowers as opposed to gift baskets, etc.).

This referral marketing can be very effective, but is not only restricted to particular target markets. What if you gave an unconditional $20 store voucher to your nearest fashion store to hand out with every one of its sales? Would this be a winning strategy for the fashion store? You bet! I’m sure their customers would love making a $50 purchase and receiving a $20 voucher to use in your store. Would it prove expensive to you? Not really, as you can’t buy much for $20 from a ­jeweler these days. They will almost certainly spend enough for you to at least recoup your cost, and you will have a new customer in your database. We have had clients implement this and generate $6,000 sales from one $20 voucher!

The cost of each voucher, in wholesale terms, is considerably less than $20 and represents an extremely affordable, and measurable, form of marketing; after all, customers have to buy something to use it. You can also look great in your customers’ eyes by giving free offers for other businesses. Our local coffee shop gave us free coffee vouchers to give away on Saturday mornings for customers visiting our store—something our customers certainly appreciated. The only limit to the opportunities available with this type of marketing is your imagination!

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