In a day and age where everyone goes online to find their every need and the Google name has even become a verb, ‘Just Google It’, the power of word-of-mouth has dropped.
A lot of businesses begin through word of mouth and this is how many of them are built up from but word of mouth will only get you this far. Depending on your business type, it’s likely that only certain people will be interested in your product, and only certain people they know will be interested.
While networking and referrals can be a powerful marketing tool for meeting people and generating traffic to your website, it doesn’t guarantee a second visit or even a sale. If the quality of your traffic is out of balance with the quality of your website then you probably won’t see the quality sales lead which you desire. For most of us we need to ask ourselves “how many phone calls were lost because my website wasn’t as good as it could have been?”.
Word of mouth is a fantastic method of getting people to your website but what happens further down the line is down to the quality of your website, coupled with the service levels you provide and the products themselves.
Some businesses- usually small local ones- try to convince themselves that they don’t need a website. And this is usually said by people who seem to get all of their sales from networking, word of mouth and referrals. But what most of them probably haven’t thought of is, are you selling as much as you want to? And are you making the business what you set it out to be?
As a marketing strategy there are three key points that word-of-mouth lacks: reach, impact and frequency. Therefore you generally can’t reach enough people, with the ample frequency to have a lasting impact. John Tabita tells the story of his fantastic mechanic whom he only ever recommended to one person because it was never brought up. You can read the story in more detail here.
You may make enough money from your business to make a comfort life, which is great, but you could be getting more. Word of mouth can only make you travel so far which is why it is incredibly important to have your own website. Through your website you can grow your word of mouth in a much better way by building links and testimonials.
You never know your perfect customers may be out there but live the other side of the country with no one close by who would have heard of your business or product. By creating a website you are putting your products and services out there for everyone else to see and potentially purchase from.
You can probably afford missing the new online leads if you’re happy with the level your business is performing at, but you can’t really afford to miss out on your existing customers who then can not find you online.
A lot of businesses do networking and receive referrals, and the natural thing to do is to then check out the website of the company to learn more about them. How the website looks and how it is designed will generally make or break whether they are called. And if they don’t have a website at all then they’re in trouble.