Person to Person Marketing: SIx Tips to Reach Your Target Consumers
Of the numerous marketing options available to you – and with new ones are emerging every day – an old standby still works best for small businesses: word of mouth. A positive review of your product or service, passed from one client or customer to another, carries more weight than any self-promotion you can do, because it offers the credibility that comes only from experience. The trust this instills in a potential buyer is golden, something even the most expensive marketing campaign can’t promise to deliver.
How to get Referrals
Referrals streamline the decision-making process for clients and reduce the time it takes to build trust between you and them. The sale is made almost automatically. What most entrepreneurs don’t realize, however, is that you can actively control these referrals; in essence, you can proactively assemble a “cheerleading squad” for your company.
The foundation of this strategy lies in soliciting and empowering others to support you and your business. Your aim is to enlist others to endorse and recommend your company. Why would people be willing to do this? Here’s a list of many reasons –
The most obvious is that they used your company’s products or services, it was a positive experience, and they’re willing to say so.
They may know you on a personal level and believe you to be hard-working and conscientious.
You may have shared a common professional experience with them in the past, such as being co-workers, and they are willing to support your efforts.
Perhaps you embody the entrepreneurial dream, and they admire your courage for going out on your own.
Whatever the reason, you want to strengthen any preexisting bonds with such people and add them to your ranks of supporters. You can start by making a list of all the people you know who have been enthusiastic champions of your past endeavors and of your current undertaking.
Give your supporters the necessary tools
Once you have your cheerleaders ready, willing, and able, you need to provide them with their “megaphones”; that is, any tools they may need to help them recommend you professionally and easily. You’d be surprised at how many entrepreneurs overlook this seemingly obvious step in the referral process. Let’s assume you provide tax preparation services, and Mary, a self-employed travel agent you have done some work for, has agreed to be one of your cheerleaders. What you don’t want is to have Marry say to a potential referral, “I can recommend Greg Harris, but, darn, I don’t think I have his number.” Your job is to make sure Mary has not only your number, but perhaps a brochure or other promotional material as well which might include:
Annul report or updates
New product announcements
Copies of articles that mention you or your company
Books or articles that you’ve written
Flyers from conferences you’ve attended or at which you’ve spoken
Audio- or video clips featuring you or other related information
Word-of-mouth promotion is a strategy whose power increases with time. Managed well, it can supply an ongoing stream of referrals and other benefits to your business. But it must be tended carefully. Take time to make the extra effort to show your appreciation for any and all endorsements or referrals you gain from your cheerleaders.