What is an experience?
Any web design company worth its salt talks about analytics. If you’re talking to a web design and development company and they’re not fostering conversations about information flow, defining and maximizing conversions, increasing qualified lead count, and generating return on your investment, please talk to a better web design agency.
But “referable,” well, that’s a whole different deal, isn’t it? And how does your web design agency create a referable experience?
We really try to live this at Webolutions. Our Monthly Guest Menu, our Executive Roundtable Series, our SMART Marketing group and the conversations we foster there, the fact that our success metrics include the degree to which people exit our office feeling inspired, the inventory we maintain about our Guest Preferences and the personal tastes of everyone who visits our office, our formal Client Referral program, and all the other small but intentional things we do to connect with people on meaningful levels.
Whether you are a web design agency, a construction company, a health care clinic, or a widget seller, if you are focused on your product or your service, you are giving away referral points. People have lots of products or services from which to choose. Products and services, when presented as such, solve problems, but they fail to reach people on the level at which referrals are motivated.
Why do people refer?
Humans do everything for one reason: To generate endorphin release from the brain so we can feel good. This is why we smoke cigarettes. It’s why we work out. It’s why we eat delicious food, and why we diet. It is also why we refer.
Casa Bonita is, arguably, the most referable restaurant in Denver. This in spite of the fact that prospective visitors are commonly warned that eating the food is an act of overt self-loathing. “Just get the cheapest thing on the menu,” they are told, “and get rid of it however you can, as fast as you can, and put up the little flag so they’ll bring you sopapillas. Repeat until you can’t possibly gut another sopapilla. Tonight, it’s fried dough, sugar, and honey for dinner. Embrace it.”
Casa Bonita spends something approaching zero dollars on advertising. They grow and succeed on word of mouth alone. How? Because they get NUDE.
Keep your shirt on.
NUDE is an acronym for Novelty, Utility, Dependability, and Economy. The higher your NUDE score, the more referrals you generate. 100 points each, if your NUDE score can get to 315, you should expect to grow by one referral per customer.
Webolutions puts massage chairs in our lobby and partners with experts with specific vertical focus to create moments of surprise and amazement. When you’re here for a meeting and you don’t expect something, it’s likely about to happen. It’s why when we celebrated our 20th “birthday” back in 2014, the party included slam poetry, a caricature artist, a street drummer, and contortionists.
At Casa Bonita, your table might be visited by a monkey, whose mood might be playful, scared, or upset. Monkey may be preceded or followed by mariachis. The floor show includes an Acapulco cliff diver, or maybe a bad guy getting shot and falling off a cliff to his watery demise.
These experiences are Novel. You can’t get them anywhere else. Denver has a wonderful variety of authentic Mexican restaurants serving excellent food and providing perfect customer service. It’s also loaded with web design agencies who can program a website. Unexpected stuff helps get people thinking, talking, and referring.
Utility is easier. Do you resolve my stated need? Casa Bonita provides an evening’s entertainment and
dinner dessert. Webolutions enhances our Utility position with a full hierarchy of marketing systems. This web design agency looks at your website as a representation of your brand and an investment for your business; and we surround the website with everything from the foundations and proven systems to ensure you love it—and, more importantly, so do your targeted visitors—to ongoing programs that generate ongoing revenue through your website.
Here’s the trick on Dependability: It’s all or nothing. If the person you referred to Casa Bonita came back with reports of excellent food, you’d question what other changes had occurred. They still got a monkey? This break in dependability renders the place less referable. Similarly, when a business–your web design agency, for example–fails to meet expectations, you become less likely to refer them to others. This is why Webolutions also helps our clients with culture development and implementation—the brand is as strong as those who represent it, and the degree to which they understand and execute their role.
Economy doesn’t mean the cheapest. You want cheap pickles? You can make your own for less money than you can buy them at Wal-Mart. It will take a longer time, and your pickles are likely to lack the consistency available from a company who has focused for decades on perfecting systems to make and deliver delicious pickles. Economy means value. Once, before I had children and a little bit of sense, I put $600 down on a Vegas blackjack table. At one point, I was up $800. Lost it all—drew a nightmare hand after twice splitting eights against the dealer’s six—and worked my way back to even. I was disappointed until I realized I’d been entertained for five hours at a net cost of zero. Considering all the endorphin releases the experience generated, I look back on that experience as a bargain. Yes, young man, at some point before adulthood and responsibilities take hold, you should go to Vegas and gamble.
Get CRM and Marketing Automation in your Toolbox.
How do you convey a referable experience outside of a face to face meeting? Your website, your blog, and social media of course. An essential and often overlooked tool is a Contact Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Automation system. Our favorite is Infusionsoft®. Infusionsoft is designed specifically for small businesses and organizations.
Your monthly burst e-newsletter remains an essential tool. Infusionsoft drills deeper with more personalized, more relevant, and more timely communications by linking your individual contact data to your outbound marketing communications.
Tactically, customizable Infusionsoft campaign templates and automated journeys include referral generation. Infusionsoft also integrates with third-party formal referral generation systems. The soup-to-nuts delivery system is extremely robust.
A Referable Email Experience
A day or two before your scheduled appointment at Webolutions, you receive an email from our Experience Coordinator. It confirms the meeting time and our address, provides parking instructions and our guest menu, invites you to request something specific to drink, show up early and enjoy our massage chairs, and a few other things. It also includes a link to a Guest Preferences form.
Guests who complete the form can choose to tell us as much as they like about themselves. We ask your birth day and month, your favorite drinks and snacks, allergies, your proudest achievement (Spoiler Alert: For about 90% of us, it’s our kids.), some other stuff.
If you’re my guest, after you complete the form, I’ll get an email. I can make sure we know you have a gluten allergy, and I might be able to know we share interests or experiences.
As the person who takes as many of the initial meetings as anyone here, I can tell you this: That email from our Experience Coordinator makes an impression. It is the single most mentioned thing by new guests in their first meetings. About one in three forward it to a friend or a colleague and ask, “Why aren’t we doing this?”
It’s an Infusionsoft-generated email that leads you to an Infusionsoft-generated form on an Infusionsoft-generated landing page. The information is stored permanently in Infusionsoft, which thereafter automatically honors your birthday, and reminds our Experience Coordinator that, at your regular meeting, you take a Diet Mountain Dew in a room-temperature glass with two straws and no ice. And you like classic rock and roll, so in advance of your arrival, we can dial up the Rolling Stones station on Pandora.
That’s how Webolutions uses Infusionsoft to turn an email into a referable experience. A novel idea providing utility and a few moments of happiness, every time, at no extra charge.