There’s a myth in the small business world that all you need is word of mouth marketing and you’ll have more clients than you can deal with. The problem is that most business owners refer to a word of mouth marketing where customers just pop out of the bushes without any effort. Very few businesses have successfully built a sustainable, growing, source of new customers this way. And there’s a core reason why – its passive. At its essence is wishful thinking.
But let me be clear about one thing before you read on, Word of Mouth Marketing works and can be an important strategy in your marketing plan. But it’s a strategy that needs to be worked and implemented in today’s world in a new way – you could call this new strategy Word of Mouth Marketing 2.0.
Occasionally when I’ve been talking to businesses owners about their marketing and I ask how they get most of their customers they say with awe and reverence that most of their business comes through (queue the glowing words) ‘Word of Mouth’. The way they say it, and upon further digging, I learn that what they mean by Word of Mouth Marketing has nothing to do with marketing or communication or sales. It has to do with wishing upon a star. It’s similar to the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ where the guy is told that ‘if you build it they will come’. You might as well start writing your businesses eulogy if this is your strategy (or lack of a strategy).
The world has changed and continues to change at an incredible pace, and if you have relied on Passive Word Of Mouth Referrals until now you need to ask yourself the following questions:
Consider your own buying journey when considering finding an auto mechanic in your area. Here’s a common scenario:
This scenario is true regardless of whether your referrals come from a friend or family member, or if they come from your network of business associates. It’s also true in the world of B2B (Business to Business) as it is in B2C (Business to Consumer).
The scenario I outlined here can take as little as 1-2 minutes if you’re skimming and make quick decisions. In fact, recent statistics show that when a consumer performs a search like this, that they are 79% more likely to make a buying decision within the hour. That’s huge.
Now consider the other scenario if you’re business doesn’t have a strong website that resonates with the customer, no reviews (or worse, bad reviews), doesn’t show up on Google organic results (the most clicked on results), or Google Maps results. In essence, you don’t exist, or you don’t look appealing to the buyer.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, the business owners that say Word of Mouth Marketing is their best source of business, what they are probably saying is that they do nothing. They offer a great product or service, they serve their customers well, they’re friendly, they may even ask their customers to tell others about them (probably not though), and they anticipate every satisfied customer to tell the world of their experience.
In the online world where we can measure things really well there’s a statistic that shows how misplaced this hope is:
So that’s not good if you’re a business isn’t investing in your online presence. More than likely your lack of effort and investment in marketing is likely killing your business.
A proactive approach for Word of Mouth Marketing.
It’s a new world, a new market, and your competitors may not just be local, they could be global. Either way, isn’t it time you started to look at your options for growing your business and crushing your competition.
As mentioned above the customers’ journey has changed and you need a new strategy that has evolved.
This new strategy is Word of Mouth Marketing 2.0, and it includes the following:
These are the essential elements required for Word of Mouth Marketing 2.0. In the next article, we’ll cover how to take these elements and turn them into a proactive Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy.
Ian Cantle is the President and Marketing Strategist at Outsourced Marketing. His 20+ years in marketing and communications in a variety of industries has provided him with a unique perspective on what works and what doesn't in Marketing. Ian founded Outsourced Marketing to fill a gap in the marketplace between businesses and sound marketing strategies and marketing systems. His goal is to take the mystery out of marketing and show business owners how a systematic approach to their marketing can provide exceptional results while easing the burden on them. Want to discover the Outsourced Marketing difference, book a free discovery call or call us at 905-251-8178.