3 Ways to ACTIVELY ENCOURAGE Word-of-Mouth Referrals:
INVITing HAPPY CLIENTS TO HELP SPREAD the word
What others say about you is 12.85 times more important than what you say about yourself.
I learned this piece of mind-bending data from Colleen Dilenschneider, author of Know Your Own Bone and Chief Market Engagement Officer at IMPACTS, when I attended Capacity Interactive’s Digital Marketing Boot Camp for the Arts in October 2018.
Do me a favor and think about your own shopping habits for a second.
When you search for a product on Amazon, and inevitably get bombarded with too many search results, what do you do?
You read and compare reviews.
When you go on vacation and want to find a good restaurant, where do you look?
You Google or Yelp a restaurant nearby and then check out the ratings.
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It has become natural to actively seek what everyone else says about a product or a company, because we feel we’re getting a more unbiased opinion or a less calculated description.
This “what other people say” thing can be scary, because it’s not entirely within our control as marketers. We can respond to the things people say, but we can’t dictate what they say.
The good news is that if you serve your clients with integrity, and you offer a quality service, you’ll probably like how you’re talked about online.
Luckily, there are tried-and-true ways to bring about that happy response.
Make it easy-as-heck to hire you and frictionless to work together.
The best experience is an easy experience.
How easy is it to schedule a preliminary call or meeting with you? Consider automating or opening access to your calendar to make setting up a meeting easy-as-pie.
How easy is it to collect payment? Automate as much as possible in your payment process by investing in a service like Quickbooks, Freshbooks or Dubsado to collect payments and send receipts, and amp up the design of your invoices or receipts with your brand imagery or colors.
How can you set clear expectations from the start of your intake process through the completion of your project or service? Maybe you can add instructions or set expectations for your ideal client directly on your Contact page on your website.
These small enhancements of your website or digital systems go a long way in keeping clients and customers feeling happy, organized and secure.
Share user-generated content and praise.
It’s easy to forget that user-generated content can be part of your content marketing plan.
Testimonials can be added to your website to showcase your strengths. You can share and save social mentions to re-share in the future from excited clients. Reviews can be repurposed into emotionally driven content like in this video we created with Christopher Duggan Photography.
Create an off-boarding email automation series.
Whenever you finish a client project, send a survey!
Collect your client’s thoughts and make sure to ask permission to share their responses in the future on social and your website.
Write a heartfelt note of gratitude, and add it to the email series after the survey. Include a description of your best-fit client and thank them in advance for referring your services to others who fit that description.
Don’t expect referrals right away – but don’t be surprised either if you start hearing from several of their colleagues looking to book your next available time.
Remember, what others say about you on social, in conversation, and in online reviews are a crucial part of your online reputation. You are not the only one in charge of your image – your clients are more important in spreading that word.
There’s a whole lot of competition out there, and your reputation is one way you can stand out from your competitors. Take advantage of the ways others are talking about your business to increase word-of-mouth, and solidify your reputation of excellence.
I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.
Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.