Is Word of Mouth All You Need?

from my old blog: Saturday, October 13, 2007

“I get all my business from word of mouth”. That’s what I hear so often from business owners who just aren’t telling the truth. Well, not the whole truth, anyway.

In fact, while word of mouth is the top method for ‘marketing’ services, if you do a bit of research you usually discover this:

Successful businesses don’t sit back waiting for word of mouth to bring clients in droves in the door.

Accellerating word of mouth — now that’s the strategy that works. I’ve heard some owners on radio shows, read about them in local newspapers, or received their ezines or blog links — which really are promotional tools that support word of mouth. There are entire books about word of mouth marketing suggesting everything from solving problems to offering fruitcakes. Really.

The important part is that in today’s world people are just very busy, so to outreach to enough people to find the percentage who need what you offer, it’s critical to take an active role rather than passively awaiting new clients from word of mouth ‘marketing’.

Even those of us who have been around for eons find that we still need to keep in touch with colleagues, potential business owners who need our help, and with our vendors, otherwise they might forget about us. . . not that we’re not astoundingly fascinating and memorable, just that there are lots of things vying for their attention. Think: billboards, newspaper ads, online gimmicks, tv commercials, itunes promos, radio shows and it’s reported that we are subjected to 10-20,000 promotional messages every day. So, if you’re a start up entrepreneur, you need to double your marketing efforts to compete with those already in the minds of your target clients.

That’s how a marketing coach will help you. A coach understands how you’ve a million ideas floating around and need focussed direction on how to get your goals accomplished so you can stay on track to thrive. It’s like a race–you train, you run, you stretch, you stay on track, you win. Well, at least you’ll win a successful business if you know what to do, and in which order, over time.

So how do you cut through the clutter? By taking action, staying focussed, providing an unusually helpful service that people just can’t live without. Work with a pro to pick the right strategies & marketing tools, and then jump in. Take action. Get out there. Meet new people. Learn as much as you can. Be a great communicator.

Of course, word of mouth is the best way to entice new clients. A trusted referral from a colleague will have your new potential client sign up for your services faster than any marketing and sales strategy. You just need to help it along by having tools in place that strengthen your word of mouth–like getting seen and heard frequently. TV, Radio, magazine or online articles, podcasts, networking–there are many more, so find something you like. And jump in.

In my unquenching thirst for knowledge, I’m always eager to hear how people are accellerating their word of mouth marketing–or if anyone just sits back waiting for the phone to ring? After all, Knowledge is Bliss.

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