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How to use teaching as a viral referral tool

How to use teaching as a viral referral toolThe main thing we believe at Nichevertising is that the #1 goal for a bootstrapping entrepreneur must be to create a viral referral loop.   We define a viral referral loop as the ability to get your best customers to provide at least 3 referrals every month/quarter/year (whatever fits your business), and then get at least 50% of those referrals to do the same.  I blogged about it not long ago in a post titled Why creating a viral loop is the only goal that matters.

It’s safe to say that all entrepreneurs bootstrapping their business will agree that achieving the Nichevertising concept of a viral referral loop would transform their business.  They would also agree that if they could do this purely through word-of-mouth referrals it would be even better.  So today I want to suggest a technique that builds onto the recommendations I made in my post titled How to make your word-of-mouth advertising go viral.

In that post, I recommended that one of the first processes every entrepreneur should put in place is the ability to identify who their best customers are.  Then create a special email campaign customized just for them.  Once you have this step in place, I recommend you add a teaching program to the mix.

The way you do this is broken down into these 7 steps:

  1. Figure out the 5 or 6 confusing or complex problems you solve to make your business work for you and/or for you customer.  It could be something related to government regulation, behind the scenes operations, or specifically about the product or service you provide.
  2. Send an email to your best customers requesting their feedback on how interested they are in learning about each of the topics you came up with
  3. Take the top response and spend the next 10 weeks researching and writing one or two articles each week about the evolution of how the problem started, how most people deal with it, how you handle it in your business, and breaking it down into smaller less complex parts that can be explained in simple terms.  Take the time to document all the excruciating details, people and websites that are related.
  4. After 10 straight weeks of documenting, take the collection of notes and articles you complied and organize them into a course outline that will enable you to explain the subject to a novice from start to finish.
  5. Deliver the basic details of why this topic is important in mini-chunks using an email auto-responder sequence with about 5 emails that you send to your best customers every 4 or 5 days educating them on the basic facts on why they need to understand this problem deeper.  The facts should be interesting or surprising enough that it encourages them to forward the email to their friends.
  6. While this sequence of emails is on auto-pilot for the next month or so with an auto-responder, create a slick looking brochure or infographic breaking down the main facts of the problem you are teaching.  Start getting this creative in the hands of  your best customers either physically or by sending it digitally through email.  Make sure to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, etc.
  7. The last step is to host a webinar that you charge a reasonably high amount for attending.  Offer it free to your best customers, and the key is that you give each of your best customers 5 to 10 free passes they can offer their friends and family (I talk about using the “hook-up” strategy here). Every time one of  those free passes is redeemed, give them the same offer.  Your goal is not really to get anyone to pay.  The goal is really going for long term growth by creating a viral loop of referrals to your webinar.

When you host the webinar, you will have a captive audience to not only educate about the problem you are teaching about, but also to educate about your business.  Based on my observations, teaching is the best way to build trust with prospective customers who have never heard of your business.  So if you want to be one of the leading entrepreneurs in your industry, you must not only deliver your product or service with passion and care, you must also be willing to teach.

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