How Online Marketing Complements Word-Of-Mouth Referrals
When it comes to online marketing, local business owners will sometimes say, “Oh, we get most of our customers from word-of-mouth referrals.” Now what does this mean from a marketing perspective, especially an online marketing perspective?
Today, most people will pick up their phones or use their computers to search for products or services that they are interested in buying—especially products and services from local business owners in their town. People search for information using these methods because it gives them access to information quickly and conveniently—whenever they want, and to the extent that they want.
Customers today understand that they have these very powerful search tools to find out more about business owners and companies that they’re interested in doing business with. So if their friend or neighbor recommends a local company that sells a product or service, even if they respect their friend or neighbor’s opinion, they will still take out their phones or go to their computers and “check for themselves”. They want to verify if it is worth doing business with the referred business/company.
If they type in the name of the company, or the product/service that they are looking for, and they do not see this particular business showing up in the search rankings, they will distrust the referral that they got from their friend. In the end, they may choose not to do business with the referred business since they cannot verify the referral as a legitimate business.
If they find the competitor’s business instead of the business that their friend referred to them, they’re more likely buy from the competitors instead of the referred business.
However, if they type in the name of the company, or the product or service that they are looking for, and they see that this particular company or business shows up in the search engines (which is most likely to be Google since it is the most popular search engine today), they’ll feel more comfortable as they were able to validate their friend’s recommendation. They’ll then move on to the next step, which is to do business with this local business.
Next they may:
- Call the business to get more information
- Drive or take transportation to the business address and see the premises
- Find the business’s social media channels, and see what is posted on these channels to learn more
- Watch some of the business’s YouTube videos to find out more information
- Visit the business’s website to do the following:
- Look at pictures of the owner and employees to determine if they seem friendly and helpful
- Look over the products or description of services to determine if they are interested in buying them
- Determine where the business is physically located to see if it is conveniently located
- Determine if there are any specials, coupons, or discounts offered for the products or services that are of interest to them
So, even though some business owners still advertise using off-line marketing techniques such as radio, TV, billboards, newspapers, magazines, and word-of-mouth referrals, it has become more important now for business owners and companies to maintain an online presence that their potential customers can find. Online presence, or lack of it, can greatly determine if a prospect can be converted into a customer.
So word-of-mouth is good, but make sure that you have a strong online presence with online marketing so that people can verify these word-of-mouth referrals for themselves. Your return on your marketing investment will be so much greater, and you will enjoy operating your business much more since doing so will be more fulfilling for you. Plus, you’ll have more happy customers and employees.
Brian works with local and international business owners and corporations on content and brand marketing, as well as marketing and finance strategy. He has been a guest speaker in events and forums related to online marketing strategies that effectively integrate different types of marketing into overall marketing and business goals for business owners.
Over a career spanning 34 years, he has worked in sales and marketing with Fortune 500 companies, has owned and operated two health clinics, and has been the COO of an international finance software company. Brian is also a Certified Business Coach and holds a Doctor of Chiropractic degree; Brian received his BS Degree in Economics from Purdue University.
Brian is also a published author, and has books published on Amazon. Despite his busy schedule, he still finds time for family, friends, writing, and charitable venues of interest.
Latest posts by Brian Dawson (see all)
- When It Comes to Optimizing Your Brand, Consider What Consumers Really Want - September 4, 2015
- Want to Be a Better Online Marketer? Think Like Google - July 21, 2015
- YouTube Video Marketing: Use Short Q&A Videos to Build an Audience - July 9, 2015