by Tony Vidler
Regular readers will know that I am a massive fan of using social media and other digital marketing tools and tactics, especially in professional services where we are trying to market our expertise, rather than sell a tangible product. My reasons are simple:
we need to create recognition in our target markets mind as the “go to” person, and
we need to maintain top-of-mind-awareness with them on an ongoing basis.
Having said that, nothing is better than word-of-mouth marketing. Network marketing. Referred lead generation. Centre of influence marketing.
Call it whatever you like.
Whatever the particular word-of-mouth tactic, it is that personal endorsement and recommendation from a trusted peer or friend to a prospective client citing YOU as the person they should speak to, which trumps all other forms of marketing in professional services.
It trumps all other marketing methods because it is the strategy which has the highest conversion rate. Far more referrals, or personal introductions, result in new clients engaging the professional than any other form of lead or enquiry generation system that you can work by yourself as a total stranger to prospective clients.
When so much of what professionals do is considered complex and unfathomable, or perhaps just downright dull and unworthy of personal attention, then the prospects confidence in delegating the work to some who is trusted by someone they trust is immense. Working to create ongoing word-of-mouth support and introductions is critical to any professionals career success, as anyone who has worked in professional services for more than 3 decades would attest. Those who were doing this work successfully 30 or more years ago virtually only worked on word of mouth marketing, or had to survive hand-to-mouth from cold calling.
In todays world with the communication systems and marketing methods which are so easily introduced, and at such relatively low cost, we have more opportunity than those before us to create large communities of highly engaged potential clients who know what we do, and remember us when “that thing” needs doing. Every professional should be taking advantage of that and creating a highly visible personal brand and an engaged community of potential future clients.
The objective remains the same as it always has: get them talking about the issues, and being aware of what it is we do that can have a positive impact in their life. And then remembering to talk to us when the time is right.
My point in reality is simply this: digital marketing supports the creation of more word-of-mouth marketing than any individual could do by simply pressing the flesh in the real world. It is not a competing marketing strategy, it is a complementary strategy.
Get to grips with digital as a means of building and engaging with as large a community as possible of potential clients, as it is the platform for creating more referrals than you could have thought possible. In fact, get it right and you could easily end up generating more referrals than you can personally handle. That would be a good problem to have, wouldn’t it?
You may also find this post useful: Word Of Mouth Is Where It Is At!0