How to Stay in Front of Your Referral Network

Online social networking is a great way to reconnect with your top contacts, and to make many more.

Free Book Preview: Brand Renegades

Discover how two entrepreneurs used unconventional business strategies to turn their startup into a multimillion-dollar company.

These days, networking is getting a huge boost from online social-networking sites. can enable small-business owners to reach hundreds, if not thousands of potential customers on the .

One of the fastest ways to build referrals and relationships on the Web is by using to reconnect with the top people in your "center of influence" who respect and admire you. This could be friends from , college, past co-workers, family members, bestselling authors, media contacts, and others. More than half (53 percent) of all Internet users have visited websites referred by friends or family in the previous , according to and media researcher eMarketer.com. Online, a referral from a trusted source can make all the difference in converting a contact into a customer.

Develop that trusting relationship with people who are well positioned to give you referrals. When you do, your marketing will become supercharged with what's clearly the best form of advertising -- positive word-of-mouth.

The Keep-in-Touch Plan
It is vital that you create a powerful "stay connected" plan to keep your brand at top of mind with your contacts and those in your center of influence. It's a good idea to reach out to your connections at least once every three months by using one of the following approaches.

  • Send them an email once a month to share something new in your business and simply to touch base.
  • Phone or them to say hello. Ask them how they are first, and keep notes so you have something personal to reference during your the next call. You can close the discussion by telling them about an event or big announcement about your company, product or service.
  • A personal note sent through the mail works very well for developing this type of relationship. Notes take time, which shows that you value the connection. Consider using such as SendOutCards.com that can help you automate card sending.
  • Don't tell them how important they are, show them. If this relationship doesn't include reciprocity, it will degenerate into a "What's in it for me?" situation that won't stand the test of time. Send them thank you gifts or online gift cards (a small amount will do just fine) to let them know you're grateful for them and any referrals that they've sent your way.
Start Your Own Business Excerpted from Start Your Own Business, Fifth Edition by the staff of Entrepreneur.
More from Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur Select: A Fund For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs require more than just money, which is why we aim to empower you, as well as act as a catalyst for value creation.

Book Sale - Save 60%!


Through 6/20/21, save on our collection of recommended side hustle and Start Your Own books, including:

  • Start Your Own eBay Business
  • Start Your Own Business
  • Start Your Own Etsy Business
  • And more

Use code SIDEHUSTLE2021 to claim your savings!

Make sure you’re covered for physical injuries or property damage at work by
  • Providing us with basic information about your business
  • Verifying details about your business with one of our specialists
  • Speaking with an agent who is specifically suited to insure your business

Latest on Entrepreneur