Increase your reach and build your client base by using the lean marketing technique of word-of-mouth advertising. Referral marketing can be especially important for financial professionals – such as attorneys, financial planners, and accountants – because your success depends heavily on establishing trust with potential clients. You also have to consider regulations that govern the use of traditional advertising by financial professionals. However, there are no regulations on individuals passing along how satisfied they are with your services. Using referral advertising is also one of the most cost-efficient methods of spreading the word about your business.
The Effectiveness of Word-of-Mouth Marketing
One of the primary reasons to work at generating word-of-mouth referrals to obtain new clients is the effectiveness of this method of advertising your business. Here are just a couple of statistics to consider:
- Eighty-four percent of people report trusting recommendations of products or services from family, business colleagues, or friends.
- Over 50% of individuals both post and solicit reviews of businesses online through social media.
- More than 90% of business-to-business customers state they are influenced by word-of-mouth referrals in making buying decisions.
How to Implement a Referral Marketing Campaign
It is important to map out any traditional marketing and advertising campaign – and it’s also important to have a definite plan for generating word-of-mouth referrals for your business.
Set up a professional website for your business. Simply having a website lends additional credibility and authority to your business, and it increases your reach to potential customers online. Post the address and telephone number of your business on every page of your site, reassuring visitors that yours is a genuine real-world business. Your website should make prominent mention of any professional certifications you hold. Consider having a page just for reviews from existing clients, since 88% of people say they trust online reviews just as much as personal referrals. Publishing a blog on your site, where you post helpful articles related to your business, can help to draw more visitors to consider using your services. If you offer particular services or serve a particular client niche, use search engine optimization so your website attracts such clients.
Social media is particularly important in generating word-of-mouth referrals. Set up a professional profile on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Good social media posts that help to build relationships include links to articles on subjects prospective clients may find interesting and helpful. Great social media posts are ones that offer links to such articles published on your own website. For example, if you’re a financial planner, consider publishing an article about tax-advantaged investments on your website blog.
Don’t overlook simply asking existing clients for referrals. They may well know of people who have a definite need for your services, and their recommendations can go a long way in helping you gain new clients.