Another Way to Get Referrals

Today I’m going to talk about referrals. Home improvement companies love to make a big deal about how busy they are from people talking about the good work they do, and it is deserved.

Besides, marketing can be expensive and most small business owners don’t have big marketing budgets. So looking for targeted ways to get free marketing exposure is a great solution. You may have considered blogging or social media as a low-cost marketing tactic, but what if you can’t write, or you don’t have the time to sit down and create blog content?

Well, there’s an easy way to get publicity that does not even require you to write a single word. Try donating your time for an auction or door prize. A lot of times, associations, groups and charities conduct live or silent auctions at their events. Or they give away door prizes to attendees to encourage attendance. Why not donate your product or service and benefit from the free marketing exposure it can generate?

Typically you will receive promotion during the event and in the event program. You benefit from the implied endorsement of the group conducting the event, and goodwill associated with giving away your product or service. You may even be able to write off the cost as a business expense. (Please check with your tax advisor).

And, not only will you receive free exposure, you will also gain a new customer. Who could tell a few friends, who could tell a few friends, who could tell a few friends … you see where this is going. It’s a great way to get free exposure for your business and start to generate new customers.

Not sure what groups or charities you should donate your auction item or a door prize to?

You will want to choose an organization whose members, and event attendees, closely match your ideal customer. Take a look at your customers and prospects. Then try to find groups and associations who service these types of people.

Do you target corporate professionals in high-stress jobs such as finance, advertising, and marketing, or technology? Look for the local chapters of trade associations servicing these industries. They typically hold monthly meetings, plus larger annual events.

It really depends on who your prospects are. Your goal with any marketing activity is to gain exposure among your target audience. So select an organization or group whose members match your clients, and odds are they will be interested in your services and your business will benefit from this highly-targeted marketing exposure.

Darren Slaughter is the founder and president of, a digital agency focusing on website design, social media management, and content creation for home improvement contractors.