Every professional that I speak with will claim that they get most of their new business clients through referrals from happy customers. This is nothing new. Word of mouth advertising still works even in this digital age of social media and the internet. People will trust the recommendations from their friends and acquaintances and a trusted referral will most likely produce a phone call or a visit.
There is one thing that has changed over the past few years when it comes to word of mouth referrals. The change is a shift in the power of the consumer. In the past, when a friend recommended a business or professional to me, I trusted his word but I had no way of conveniently conducting my own research as a consumer. While my friend is happy with the company he referred, it does not guarantee I will be as happy. I may be looking for something special or unique. How could I ensure that the referral given to me would be one that would satisfy my specific needs? The internet has now changed this.
As a consumer, I now can conduct my own research whenever and wherever I want by simply adding the professional's name or business name into Google on my computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone. From my search results, I can usually find the website, blog posts, other directory listings, reviews, testimonials and volumes of other information on that individual or business. In reality, I have all the information at my finger tips to make an informed decision.
Now many professionals are heavily investing in their websites, SEO, Pay-per-Click advertising (PPC), banner ads, pop-up Online Marketing Strategy for Professionals ads, re-targeted ads and other forms of online promotion. Here lies the challenge. As consumers, we have become experts at filtering out the advertising noise on radio, newspapers, TV and now the internet. We delete advertising as soon as possible when it appears on our screens. For Pay-per-Click ads, consumers automatically discount the top and right side of the Google search results knowing that this is advertising. Pop-up ads can annoy and most often irritate the consumer to a point where they will avoid the brand. What we want as consumers is information to make a wise decision. Some professionals are leading the way and providing good content that will help me make a good decision. There are some professionals that are still stuck in the mindset of a decade ago.