Are word-of-mouth referrals a big part of your digital marketing strategy?
If they are, it may be time to focus your efforts on more effective, consistent strategies. While word-of-mouth does have its benefits and advantages, it also does have its drawbacks. These drawbacks can be detrimental to your brand, reputation, and ultimately your sales.
Relying on just word-of-mouth referrals is a losing strategy. While they have their place in a digital marketing strategy, referrals are usually not enough to keep a business running.
Relying too heavily on word-of-mouth referrals is a risky strategy. Here’s why.
Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Just Word-of-Mouth Referrals
No Control Over the Message
Word-of-mouth referrals are risky because when someone refers your business, they take full control of the message they send. You lose control of how your brand is portrayed, resulting in misunderstandings and miscommunication.
When a customer refers a friend or family member to your business, they control the message based on personal experience. Often, the message may be an incorrect portrayal of your products or services.
It’s never good for a business to lose control over how people convey its products and services. It takes away your chances of representing your brand in a way that puts you in a good light.
Word-of-mouth referrals take away any opportunity you have to represent your brand and services. Consequently, you have no control over what a person says and how they say it, resulting in miscommunication down the road.
Word-of-Mouth Causes Miscommunication
Word-of-mouth can cause miscommunication and misunderstanding between a business and a potential new customer.
When a customer tells others about a product or service, the person they refer your business to only hears their side. The new customer may receive incorrect information and may also have certain expectations that do not align with what your business offers.
Miscommunication can then lead to a bad experience with a customer, resulting in a damaged reputation and a poor customer experience.
If a customer states something negative about your company, it can have lasting effects on your business. Negative feedback can potentially damage your image and reputation, resulting in declining sales.
Negative word-of-mouth also spreads very quickly. Suppose a customer writes about a bad experience and posts it online or on social media platforms. In that case, the message can spread very quickly, potentially reaching thousands of people in a very short amount of time.
Use Referrals As Incentives in Your Marketing Strategy
While relying strictly on word-of-mouth referrals is not the best strategy, referrals have their place in a marketing strategy. They are a great way to retain customers.
Use customer referrals in your customer retention program by offering incentives to customers who refer people. This is a great way to retain customers and get new ones.
While referrals are a great way to get business and can help improve your reputation, you should never rely on them entirely. Instead, rely on a marketing strategy with proven results – one that is consistent, measurable, and reliable.
Create a strategy that is consistent and guarantees growth and profitability. Some examples of digital marketing strategies include:
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Search engine optimization
- Content marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
Word-of-mouth does have its benefits – it is free and can do wonders for your reputation, but beware of relying only on referrals. Have other strategies in place to find new leads and prospects so that you have complete control over your message.