Word of mouth is one of the oldest and safest ways of filling up your books with clients. Our Client Onboarding team visit a tonne of small business owners each month to chat about getting their businesses noticed. What they hear most is: “we don’t need marketing, we have word of mouth”. Word of mouth is awesome and these are well-established businesses, so obviously it’s not not working. If you’ve been doing something forever and it’s working, why stop?
While word of mouth probably isn’t going anywhere, it’s not effective on its own like it once was. People want more than their mate’s stamp of approval. Most people aren’t even asking their mates. The reality is that businesses that aren’t online are going to fall behind.
Each year Hootsuite and We Are Social get together and do a global digital report. This year they worked out that there are 4.39 billion internet users and 3.48 billion social media users — both of those stats grew nine per cent (9%) in one year. In Australia, 88 per cent (%) of our population are internet users and on average we spend just over five hours a day online. Not to mention 16 million of us are on Facebook.
That was a lot of numbers but basically what it means is… People are online, they’re on social media, and they’re ready to be swayed by digital marketing. The market is changing. Attention and getting your business noticed is your friend. Digital marketing travels way quicker than word of mouth and even if you don’t jump on it — your competitors will.
The classic ‘you’ve gotta spend money to make money’ is real. Digital marketing costs money but it’s so worth it. You can’t control word of mouth but you can control marketing. Marketing channels like sponsored social advertising and Adwords let you target specific demographics. This means you can reach those potential customers your word of mouth might not find. Plus in marketing it’s not always about who had the bigger budget. The company that appeals to their demographic better, shows more creativity, or hits the mark better in showing they have what that customer wants are the ones who get noticed.
The best thing a business with excellent word of mouth can do is get onto digital marketing. You probably reckon we’re saying that because we’re an agency… and you’re right, but so are we. Hiring an agency to create a website can give you a more legit presence in your industry and give you and your customers more convenience through booking software and contact forms.
Plus your website can be aided to get you so much more attention. Social media campaigns and PPC can get your business noticed by the right kind of people. A good SEO campaign can then help you show up in local search results and get more business from the right people.
If you’re keen to start using digital marketing, be sure to go through an agency, rather than inhouse. Inhouse marketing managers work out to be way more expensive than an agency. Plus they won’t be equipped with all those neat programs and industry updates that agencies have.
Like we said, word of mouth is still good and it does work. Word of mouth is kind of changing though. While there’s still the classic and traditional word of mouth that we all love — online reviews are the new era of word of mouth. Your customers are checking your reviews, whether it’s on Google or on Facebook — and digital strategies can work to encourage the best customers to leave reviews.
Digital marketing means you can reach more people, a more diverse audience, and do it more effectively. It means you can spread promotional material quicker and get more out of it. Digital marketing puts you above your competitors.