In economics, the feedback loop refers to a situation where an element of a situation’s output is used for new input. In the best of feedback loop situations, success feeds success.

In marketing, the feedback loop utilizes the unique quality that the Internet gives us and that is the ability to have conversations with a number of people quickly and efficiently. The feedback loop basically means that you get people to invite their friends and family to join in a conversation of interest to them, resulting in a referral for you.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Show Something Compelling

Start your feedback loop with a piece of compelling content that is engaging, useful, and reinforces your brand. (Even though the honey badger or the drunken baby might be entertaining, those kinds of video clips do nothing to differentiate your business in a good way from your competition!).

If you take a step back and think about it, we all like to find a compelling piece of information on the Internet, which we often share through our social sites. You can initiate this process on your website with great results simply by sharing useful information with your visitors.

Step 2: Prompt Visitors to Share the Information

Your visitors should have the ability to share every piece of content you post. Right next to the content you are posting, include something like this: “Do you know someone who might be interested in this topic?” The text should sit right above social share icons that allow the visitor to link to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, or to email the content. Use these quick email and social share icons to make it easy for visitors to share content with friends and family. If you don’t invite them to share the content, most people won’t think to do so. If you do invite them and offer them an easy way to share the content, chances are your clients will think of at least one person who might be interested in your video or article and they’ll push the button.

As a reminder, always make sure that when the content is shared, the recipient will come back to your site to consume the content. You don’t want to send people to other websites – you want them coming to your website and getting better acquainted with you.

Step 3: Engage New Referrals in the Conversation

The real secret to lead generation through your website is the “question” form. When visitors come to your website to view any content, there should be a simple form next to or below it that says, “Have a question?” or “Want more information?” The visitor can submit an email address in order to receive more information about the topic.

When you are notified that your content has been shared and you have a new visitor to your website, send a message that asks if they enjoyed the content and if they have any further questions. You can also send an invitation to receive your monthly newsletter or send additional information about the topic they requested. Once you have a new visitor, don’t let that lead get cold. Send a response, receive a confirmation, and begin the process of turning that lead into a new client.

The feedback loop is a powerful way to use your website as a referral generation engine. When you use compelling content and give clients good reasons to recommend you, they will.