Referral

Building Trust Instead of Selling

Building Trust Instead of Selling

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing fame was recently interviewed by a BusinessWeek editor. A few of the tidbits:

It appears to me that advertising itself is at an all time low for effectiveness, and businesses that really succeed are focusing on the idea of building trust and educating as opposed to selling.

When asked for the short list of what small businesses should absolutely be doing to market themselves, Mr. Jantsch responded with the following three:

  • One: Absolutely differentiate yourself from everyone. You have to find a way [to make] people say you're something different, whether that's to focus on a narrowly targeted market or [through] packaging. Otherwise you're just competing on price. And the line I use all of the time is that price is a really bad place to compete because there's always someone willing to go out of business faster than you.


  • Two: It's more important than ever, and easier and cheaper, to embrace technology, and specifically the Internet, as a tool to educate, market, and generate leads. It offers a tremendous way to automate the whole process and is a great tool for customer service and project management -- things that add value with clients. If a small business isn't taking advantage of these tools, they're giving up a great way to level the playing field with much larger companies.


  • Three: I always ask people how they got to where they are now. Amazingly, it's mostly through word of mouth referrals. The follow up question is: What do you do to systematically take advantage of that? One of the most powerful tactical aspects of marketing is referrals, and when it's done right, there could be zero cost.

Differentiate, use the Internet, and systematically generate word of mouth referrals. What a great list! I couldn't agree more. And you know the easiest way to do it? (shameless plug coming) PromoterZ is the easiest, quickest and most inexpensive way to do all three of those things. If you haven't already checked it out do it now at www.promoterz.com. (end of shameless plug)

Word of Mouth Wins Again

Word of Mouth Wins Again

This from Double Click's report on the internet's role in the modern purchase process:

'Word of Mouth' Is the Single Greatest Form of Purchase Influence.

No great surprise there. We all experience it every day. The real question for us as business owners is: is there some way we can increase the positive word of mouth about our business?

I think it goes with out saying, that we have to start at the beginning with our product or service. It has to be remarkable. In other words, our offering needs to stand out so much that our customers want to talk about it. Assuming we've got remarkable, we can either leave the "word of mouth" to chance or help it along.

Shameless plug: a tool like PromoterZ™ is like a putting a megaphone in the hand of your happiest customers. Why leave the word of mouth to chance? Help it along by giving your customers an easy way for them to tell their friends about your business. End of plug.

Whatever you are doing to grow your business, remember: word of mouth rules. Do you know what your customers are saying about your business?

When you pass out a Promoterz bounce back card you automatically build an accurate customer list, increase repeat sales, increase referrals and prevent lost business. Pretty powerful little card. Learn more

Email Marketing is still hot

Email Marketing is still hot

How do you communicate with your customers? We all know that there's getting to be more and more online activity. How much? According to the Pew Research Center:

The proportion of Americans online on a typical day grew from 36% of the entire adult population in January 2002 to 44% in December 2005. The number of adults who said they logged on at least once a day from home rose from 27% of American adults in January 2002 to 35% in late 2005.

On top of that, Americans don't feel overloaded by the information they're getting on the web. Pew Research stated:

Just 15% said they sometimes felt overwhelmed by the amount of information they had, while 71% said they had all the information they needed and thought it was manageable, and 11% said they were missing information that they wish they had.

It makes me further think about how we communicate with our customers. Some businesses have jumped into the blog world in hopes that their customers will come and engage with them online. That works for some but this strategy doesn't work well for many small businesses because their business just isn't the type to draw attention to itself such that a customer would want to come and read about them in the normal course of the day. Do you want to know what's going on in the world of sandwich making, hair cutting, or pool/spa maintenance? Me either, not so much that I would return again and again to hear it.

The good news is that I would like to hear about special offers my hair cutting place has or new sandwiches my favorite sub place has coming out. And I, like most people, would like to hear about it through email. There continues to be more techie ways to send information out there (like RSS), but email is THE killer application... the most used, it allows you to push your message to your customers when you wish and they pick it up when they wish. It is effective and personal because it comes from you, allowing you to share offers and news. What's more, it allows you to develop a relationship with your customers.

This is all good and true, but knowing this and doing nothing about it will not help you grow your business. Here's my shameless plug for Promoterz™, a system that automates the sending of special offers through email. It doesn't require more time from an already busy small business owner either, in fact it's kind of like having a really cheap employee that talks to your customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It also encourages your customers to send referrals about you to their friends, making it a word of mouth marketing tool. Additionally, it gives you feedback from your customers about the most important thing they can tell you about your business.

Promoterz™ is the internet marketing tool for small business. (End of shameless plug.)

Promoterz is the hands-free, word-of-mouth marketing service that takes care of the details so you can focus on business. Learn more

Justifying a Fishing Trip

Justifying a Fishing Trip

I like trout. I like being out where they live. I like to watch them and figure out how they work. I have discovered an interesting characteristic of trout. They are wary and careful as they investigate food, but once they see another fish feeding, their wariness takes a back seat to quick action.

It is as if two criteria must be met, first is it acceptable food, and second, can I get it first. Since another has obviously met the first condition then it is OK to move on to the second immediately, often resulting in a feeding frenzy. This characteristic serves the trout well as it quickly discovers available food and can eat it immediately.

Maybe I have spent too much time fishing lately, but it seems that trout rely on word of mouth, so to speak, to survive and prosper.

Our customers are also wary and looking for a good, safe solution. Once they have met that condition then they will buy. A referral or word of mouth recommendation provides them with the confidence to move directly to purchasing.

So the question is, are we making it easy for our customers to spread the good news? What are we doing to help potential customers see our happy customers? Spending some time and thought on empowering your customers to share could very well lead to a purchasing frenzy.

Finally, should we use worms or flies?

Unhappy customers tell on average 22 other people. If you ticket price is $50 that is $1100 in revenue. How would you like to know before they tell 22 others? Learn more

Can you buy Word of Mouth Referrals?

Can you buy Word of Mouth Referrals?

It is clear everyone is starting to get it. Word of mouth or referrals bring in business because it brings credibility. Tom Fishburne's cartoon aptly shows the power of word of mouth over other advertising.

NPR had a segment this morning about something called Buzz Agents. Marketing agencies, realizing the power of word of mouth, are signing up people to use products and then talk up how great they are. These "buzz agents" do it for free use of the product.

Business owners are sitting on a gold mine of happy customers. Their own personal buzz agents. Those happy customers could be even more effective if they were given opportunities to share and even something of value to give to their friends.

Get customer feedback, generate referrals, and increase repeat sales for as little as $150 a month. Learn more
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Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.

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