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MARKETING 101: The Importance of Facilitating Referrals

October 2008
By: Jerry Thacker
Planned Parenthood's recent announcement that it will build what are, in essence, 'big box' abortion clinics in many major cities should cause every center to reevaluate its own marketing program. The four P's of marketing (Product, Place, Price, and Promotion) have never been more important.

Statistically, about 4,000,000 babies are born each year. About half of those are to first-time mothers. Young women in the childbearing years know others who are also in that demographic. It starts with recognizing that each person coming through your door has a 'sphere of influence' of about 25 other people. Women who are pregnant know others who are either pregnant or who likely will become pregnant at a higher rate than others outside the childbearing demographic. How can you reach them effectively? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Verify that those who come through your door are given the opportunity to take along extra copies of materials about your services. I suggest a business card that lists your contact data on the front, your slogan or mission statement, and a list of your services on the back.

2. Double check that your signage is easy to read, easy to remember, and displayed where it can be seen from a car. The rule of thumb for a billboard is that it should have no more than seven words. Drive by your facility and see if you can read the sign from the road. Also, confirm that your phone number and web site are prominently displayed so that those who might be timid can get in touch in a way in which they feel comfortable.

3. Make sure after you've explained your services to a potential client that you give each one the opportunity to tell you about others they know who may need help. In other words, ask for referrals. Our goal is to find women to whom we can minister in the times of their greatest need. Women talk with others and many times share information. Asking each client who else you might help and getting a phone number will allow you to be proactive in reaching out to those in need.

Taking good care to build your processes so that they contain elements that result in dissemination of your information and your getting referrals will help you build your clientele and increase your potential to introduce more young women to Christ.

Jerry Thacker is President of Right Ideas, Inc., and publisher of At the Center. He can be reached at

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