We were talking with the owner of a local specialty medical clinic recently, and he assured us that word of mouth was often the best source of new business for him.
That’s true for us, too. If you’re doing everything within your power to create the best experience for your customer (which you should definitely be doing), you can expect people to say good things about your business and this will help new customers find you.
But word of mouth and digital marketing are not an either/or thing. Here’s why:
Social media is the new word of mouth
Some of your customers will tell their friends what a good experience they had with you. Some will invite friends and family to come to your place of business with them. But many will mention it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and share that information with hundreds or even thousands of people.
If you’re not visible to the people who hear about you in social media — if they can’t find your social media page or your website right when they see that great testimonial from your happy customer — they may not remember your name the next time they need your goods or services.
97% of consumers ask Google first
Even if a potential customer hears about you directly from a friend, they will probably look you up online. Your friend tells you about a great restaurant and you pull out your phone and look them up, right?
What’s more, the great majority of consumers who are looking to spend money with a local business go online first. They check to make sure that your business has what they want, they check your hours, they get directions, or they compare you with your competitors. The way your company looks online is the first sight of your company for the majority of your customers.
Word of mouth is just part of the process
Your business can blow up overnight due to great word of mouth. Word of mouth can slowly build up over a number of years until you’re a well respected and established business. But no matter how good word of mouth is for you, it’s only part of the process. You have to get the word out, bring potential customers into contact with your business, gain conversions, delight your customers, and encourage them to spread the word.
Fortunately, strategic digital marketing can give word of mouth wings and get that word out faster and more reliably than just waiting to see what happens.
Our basic philosophy of marketing is simple: Use digital marketing to enhance word of mouth and you’ll see a difference.