The Majority of Small-Business Owners Rely on Word-of-Mouth Referrals. Here Are 3 Ways to Get Them.

The Majority of Small-Business Owners Rely on Word-of-Mouth Referrals. Here Are 3 Ways to Get Them.

85 percent said word-of-mouth referrals. A whopping 85 percent of business owners said word-of-mouth referrals! Keep in mind your reviews don't have to be perfect, as 94 percent of consumers would use a business with a four-star rating. Some of these ideas will sound crazy, but the important thing is people remember you so your business is top of mind and they can associate your business with more than just "I treat my customers well." The stronger your referral network is, the more referrals you'll receive. Then, empower your referral network on a consistent basis, starting with once a month. What do you want your network to know about your business this month? You could have ways to be memorable each month, or it could be working to better perfect your existing "memorable strategy."

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The Majority of Small-Business Owners Rely on Word-of-Mouth Referrals. Here Are 3 Ways to Get Them.

Alignable recently completed a survey of 7,500 small-business owners in North America and asked participants a single question — what’s the best way to acquire local customers?

The results?

  • 85 percent said word-of-mouth referrals.
  • 2 percent said radio ads.
  • 1 percent said newspaper ads.
  • 9 percent said Google/Facebook ads.
  • 2 percent said direct mail.

A whopping 85 percent of business owners said word-of-mouth referrals! Of course everyone loves and wants referrals, but how do you get them? Is it in your control as a business owner to increase the number of referrals you receive on a monthly basis or is it luck of the draw? When business owners ask me this question, I often think about the quote: I’m a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more luck I have. While working harder will often produce better results, working harder with the right strategy in place ensures success.

Here are three ways small-business owners get more referrals:

1. Perfect your local listing.

When someone refers your business to another person, what’s the first thing that’s going to happen? Since over 90 percent of consumers depend on online reviews, expect people will first search for your business by name on Google to look specifically at your five-star rating. This is a real opportunity for a number of business owners for two reasons. First, over 50 percent of businesses haven’t claimed their Google local listing, so when a user searches for the brand they can’t find what they need. Second, having 10 written reviews is the minimum number you should have to make sure people trust your business profile.

Keep in mind your reviews don’t have to be perfect, as 94 percent of consumers would use a business with a four-star rating. The importance here is to have more than 10 written reviews. Finally, don’t forget that Bing accounts for 22 percent of all search engine queries, and you can set up a local listing there too!

2. Be memorable to every customer.

As a business owner, you (or your employees) interact with your customers each and every day. What memorable experience do you leave with them at the end of your interaction together? Every business owner says they prioritize treating their customers well, and you have to, but what else can you do to not only make them remember you but talk about you with others?

What…

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