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You’ve invested in flyers, print, radio and TV ads, and dabbled with digital marketing. You’ve invested a bucket load of time and money to create an amazing website and you’ve spent countless hours working out your points of difference and creative concepts to bring your marketing to life.

Marketing is a never-ending test, tweak and improvement that sometimes feels like it’s not getting you the results you think you should be getting. Worst of all, when you ask your customers where they heard about your business they tick that little box stating “referred from a friend” …And that one small action is enough to make you completely miffed about marketing. You’re now left wondering why you bother spending all this time and money when all your business seems to be coming from Word of Mouth.

Most business owners I speak to state that 90% of their business comes from word of mouth. This generally means they’re great at what they do, but does it also mean the business doesn’t need to grow anymore? Does this mean it no longer needs more clients? Does this mean that they don’t need to invest in marketing anymore or that the marketing they have invested in doesn’t work? I think not.

Think about your buying habits.

Have you ever seen or heard an ad about a new restaurant and it’s sparked your interest as somewhere you should go? You see their Facebook marketing, you hear their ad on the radio, you see a restaurant review in a print publication and you’ve driven past and seen their signage as well as a packed-out restaurant! You want to go, but life gets in the way and weeks later you still haven’t tried it out. Next thing you know, your best friend goes and says it’s the best place ever – “the salmon entrée is incredible, you have to go and try it!”. So, you book a reservation. But what marketing gets the kudos for your decision to finally go? The tipping point was your friend, but does that mean all of the other marketing didn’t help build credibility and awareness about the restaurant?

All of your marketing creates word of mouth marketing.

Marketing isn’t just the money you spend on advertising, it’s anything you do to attract customers. It’s your flyers, website, signage, your brand, the look and feel of your business, it’s the words you use, it’s the advertising you do – all that and more. It’s identifying, anticipating and satisfying customers’ needs and wants so you can profit from them.

How you achieve this can take on many different forms, and many interactions. It is rare that someone has one interaction with your business and buys from you. It takes time, consistency, credibility, education, trust and creativity. If you do your marketing well, and you deliver over or above what your customer expects, you will create long term word of mouth which ultimately helps you build a sustainable business.

Author Bree James

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