This is the response I get from many business owners when I ask them what marketing they do. Do you grow your business by referral only too?
That’s fine and also very admirable if you do. It’s also very uncontrollable, unless you have a system for making sure it happens.
Unfortunately not many do have a system and all to often it’s down to good luck and maybe a bit of hope and pray!
For many businesses, it’s the only source of business for them. They do good work for their customers, the owner is a nice guy and likeable – so customers tend to let their friends know. It’s okay as a means of keeping a small business ticking over, but you can’t grow a business on this.
And here’s the truth that you don’t want to hear. The reality is that if a business is not growing – its actually going backwards – meaning less money in your pocket – not even the same. Inflation, increasing materials and wages costs are taking care of that. If you’re not growing and increasing your output – you’re not even standing still…
On top of that, as a society, we’re becoming increasingly disconnected from friends and family. We meet less, we speak on the phone less and we socialise less. This means that there are fewer opportunities for word-of-mouth referrals to happen.
So relying on word-of-mouth alone to grow your business is getting more dangerous. Actually, relying on any one strategy to get customers is dangerous. You should really have at least 3 or 4 or more strategies working together. That way if any one fails or is taken away – you’re protected. You have the remaining methods to keep you going until you find something else that works.
Last word on word of mouth referral marketing. It’s great because it’s free and it’s personal. You’re getting the endorsement of the person that referred you. that gives you credibility and creates a level of trust before you ever meet the new customer. The down side is that you don’t control any of this.
So now, think about putting a system in place to help you control word-of-mouth marketing. Try to make it repeatable, reliable and effective. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive- in fact it shouldn’t be.
We’re all about simple, affordable and effective marketing. Go on now, get marketing and grow your business!