Many business owners reach out to me and book a consultation. The top services that they inquire about are social media management, online ads, and digital marketing audits.
Once we get on a call, their frustration is clear. They feel that being online is a gamble. It doesn't work. Their valuable time is wasted.
The only truth is that time is being wasted. And that's because they themselves or a team member is managing their brand's online presence which by the way isn't their zone of genius.
Being online isn't a gamble. Being online works.
Share a piece of content on LinkedIn and in 5 minutes it can result in 15 impressions (amount of times seen). Share a piece of content on Instagram and in 30 minutes your thoughts and images can be seen by hundreds of accounts.
Imagine then adding structures and strategies while at the same time aligning your marketing to your top business goals.
It's one thing to reach people, but how impactful would it be if your expertise was amplified in the direct feed of your target audience?
Many who approach me obtain business through referrals and networking. Now they want to honour their time by working smarter, not harder. They want to do this by leveraging the online space.
They've invested lots of dollars into their websites that isn’t doing the heavy lifting that was promised.
They've invested money into online ads that didn't convert.
They've put in so much time (which by the way is money) engaging on social media only to slip back into doing business the same way… Networking and relying on referrals and feeling burned out as they physically show up to reach people.
It’s affirming when clients refer new business to you. Those recommendations are a testament to your expertise and experience.
I truly believe in the power of networking and I'm thankful for the referrals. I also believe in moving my business forward by utilizing the world wide web.
Relying on referrals alone is risky business.
Many people found this to be true at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when lockdowns ensued.
Networking and relying on referrals saw many become lazy about marketing. They barely put in the effort to promote their work consistently.
The result? In-person networking was paused, cancelled or the organizers went out of business.
The referral pipeline froze because just about everyone was blindsided, confused, and trying to figure out how to survive as their employment or business was negatively affected.
Word of mouth can have powerful outcomes, but it’s also unpredictable.
If you are in business then you always need to be marketing… because you always need profits.
There’s no excuse for relying on referrals only… in this day and age. There are far more reliable client acquisition methods like Social Media, Paid Ads, Search Engine Optimization, and Email Marketing.
Do you have to do all of these to be successful online? No, you don't. However the online tactics you decide to use have to be implemented strategically and consistently.
Referrals normally happen within a specific social circle or peer-selected group of people.
This creates a limited market niche for your product or service. If your only mode of marketing channel is referrals, you will have to work extra hard to satisfy the existing clients that will refer you to other people.
Referral marketing means the whole process of obtaining new leads is unreliable.
You cannot guarantee that all your clients will attempt to refer you to at least one person. There are many factors at play that depend primarily on the client.
And referrals do not last forever. At some point, you will have to look for new clients by adopting other means of marketing.
For growing businesses, referrals can only take you so far. The referrals you are used to getting are normally subjects of luck which leads to inconsistency in revenue. Hoping for or chasing referrals, shouldn’t be the top-of-the-list marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy that converts to leads and customers can and should be planned.
So how can you take action today? Ask yourself the following questions:
Then reach out to a certified digital marketing professional and be ready to spend more time working on your zone-of-genius as your brand reaches hundreds and thousands… something that you as one person cannot do consistently, physically in person.
And remember that you are still the boss.
Online marketing might be new to you and this way may have you feeling unsure… but you have to be kept in the loop, see and understand the results, and know that what is being shared about your brand is in alignment with you.
By not relying solely on referrals and networking, you put yourself in control of who you reach out to, how, and when.
You’re not waiting for others to remember how great you are.