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, there is still no more effective new business generation tactic than word-of-mouth marketing. Network marketing. Referred lead generation. Centre of influence marketing.
Call it whatever you like…..recommendations and referrals from peer-to-peer or friend-to-friend remain the highest value leads we get.
Whatever the particular word-of-mouth tactic used 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 in turn trust is immense. Working to create ongoing word-of-mouth support and introductions is probably your best growth plan therefore…
…which is where digital marketing comes into its own. In todays world with the communication systems and marketing methods we have readily available, 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.
Advisers still have not quite seized the opportunity generally speaking. 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?