Most business owners, when asked where their work comes from, will say it’s ‘word of mouth’. While this may be true – the value of word of mouth is undeniably huge – if you rely solely on this as a lead stream, what will you do when another brand catches their eye and comes with a glowing recommendation? People are often fickle.
Another short-sighted belief is: everyone knows us and what we do, so we don’t need to waste time or money on marketing. Well, I’ve got one thing to say to you…
There must be very few people on the planet that haven’t heard of Coca-Cola. In fact, do you know anyone who has never had a drink of Coca-Cola? I don’t.
So, why does this huge brand still spend billions of pounds on advertising every year?
So that when you want to quench your thirst, you reach for their can, not another brand of cola, or another drink altogether, because you’ve been so exposed to the Coca-Cola brand that it’s almost an automatic response to purchase it.
In fact, lots of people refer to any cola drink as ‘Coke’, regardless of the brand available! They’ve become so ingrained that their brand name has become the generic product name.
We may not all have brands on that same level, or with the same budget, but can you honestly say that when the need or desire arises for the product or service you offer, that you’re the brand that’s front of mind? If you can’t, you need to increase your visibility.
I’m not just talking about having a website. Although it should be part of your marketing strategy, a website is not enough on its own – you can’t think ‘if I build it, they will come’, because having a website doesn’t make you visible, unless you’re leading people to it!
So, how do you increase your visibility?
If you have a budget, investing in some advertising will get the job done if you choose wisely and pay to put your brand in front of your ideal customers. Magazines, billboards, sponsorships, Google ads – there are so many options.
But paid marketing is not the only route to visibility.
Social media is a golden ticket if you nail your message – and, if you show up regularly. It’s not enough to set up profiles and drop a post every week. You won’t be remembered after turning up in someone’s newsfeed every now and then (on average, there are 4.75bn items shared by Facebook users each day).
In fact, if you’re not using social media to be social – encouraging interaction with your posts and actually engaging in conversations yourself – you’re unlikely to even make it into the newsfeed.
You need to be ‘in the room’ regularly with great things to say if you want people at the party to recognise you, remember you, and seek you out next time.
I have a particularly bad memory (blame a busy life, not age!) and I often find myself asking for recommendations on Facebook for a plumber or a gas engineer or whatever domestic wear and tear needs fixing. Over the last ten years I’ve used many different tradespeople, and most of them have given me great service, but the next time something crops up and I need a call-out, I usually can’t recall who I used before!
But, when bad storms ripped a roof tile off my house last year, a roofing company was recommended in a Facebook group and they got the job. They post regularly on Facebook, showing photos of the work they’ve carried out and the reviews they’ve received, so when I wanted a quote for my gutters to be replaced this month, I didn’t need to search the internet or ask for recommendations – I went straight to them, because they were the first company I thought of.
All that great word-of-mouth business you’re getting? Use it to increase your visibility! Ask them to leave a review online, tag their friends in posts about you, sign up to your newsletter, follow your page.
Want a reality check?
Search online for recommendations for the product or service you offer. Are you there?