by Tony Vidler
Don’t get me wrong because I am a big fan of digital marketing and using social media to create an audience and engage with prospective customers…
But word-of-mouth marketing is still where it’s at in professional services.
Referrals, peer recommendations, centres-of-influence….people talking to people about professionals they trust and are happy with remains the primary source of new client acquisition.
In the world of selling an intangible product called “advice” nothing beats the personal recommendation from a trusted source.
Advertising, premium location and signage, professional directories and all the SEO in the world still only collectively produced about two-thirds of the new clients that a centre of influence did.
What is particularly interesting about this second chart is the dominance of peer recommendations in the younger age groups. It is possible that this arises because younger age groups are not being identified by COI’s given they are still in the first half of their careers. Regardless of the reason, the message is a strong one: Personal referrals matter enormously.
There is no doubt in my mind that building excellent engagement systems matters in positioning your professional brand and creating a positive presence in your prospects mind. So social media, email marketing, content-orientated website and blogging are essential ingredients in the marketing mix.
At the end of the day though most clients will choose a particular adviser because of peer recommendations, the influence of other trusted professionals or because of testimonials and endorsements.
Word of mouth is still where it is at for marketing professional services.