August 29, 2023

Relying on Word of Mouth Will Stunt Your Lead Generation

If you’re a business owner, you’ve been around the block, seen success and failure, grown through trial and error, and know one thing.

Your best leads have come from word of mouth.

We don’t doubt it! But, just because your best leads have come from word of mouth doesn’t mean they’re the only customers who could benefit from your product or service—far from it. In fact, there are customers who would be a perfect fit for your business and focusing only on word of mouth will stunt your ability to win them over.

Let’s find out why and what to do about it.

Lead Generation Built on Trust

To be clear, we love word-of-mouth leads. There’s a good reason they have yielded strong results for your business. They come through your door possessing the one trait that makes them most likely to work with you: Trust. The challenge is that word of mouth only accounts for a small percentage of sales today, and future customers don’t “come through your door” the same way they used to.

Prospects don’t find you at your doorstep. They find you on their iPhones.

Just think about the last time you bought from a new brand. What did you do before making your purchase?

You may have reached out to a friend who made a similar purchase recently. You might have asked for input from your significant other. But most likely, you pulled out your phone, skimmed a few articles, and read a handful of customer reviews (probably more like 10).

In a short amount of time, whoever you bought from earned your business because they earned your trust—and you can do the same for your ideal customers. But first, you need a plan.

Here are two effective ways to get started.

The Modern Word of Mouth

Because your potential customers learn about new products, research them through user reviews, and make purchasing decisions online, you’ll want to create an intentional plan for digital lead generation. A great first step is to leverage what you’re already familiar with: others saying great things about your business!

In marketing speak, we refer to the collection and management of user reviews as “Reputation Management.” And while it is just one component of your Social Media Marketing strategy (which is one component of your larger digital marketing strategy), it’s an essential piece to prioritize. With 93% of buyers consulting online reviews during their buying process, neglecting user reviews would leave a massive portion of your online business in the lurch.

Think of user reviews as the modern word of mouth—your customer’s “voice” speaking on your behalf over and over again. Like your favorite song on repeat.

In-person, you hope your ideal customers are meeting up and talking to each other face to face. Online, one person can leave a review, and someone outside their regular sphere of influence can benefit from it. In-person, they’d be complete strangers. Online, one becomes the trusted advisor, and the other becomes the trusting potential buyer. That’s a huge lead generation opportunity for your business that you simply wouldn’t have if you relied only on word of mouth.

You can make the most of this powerful tool by responding to all your Google and Facebook reviews, requesting reviews from your happiest customers and showcasing reviews on your website.

This is the low-hanging fruit—leveraging “social proof” to show off your great work—but let’s talk about one more powerful way to generate leads digitally.

Earn Interest. Earn Trust.

Imagine you’ve done almost everything right online. You have a clean WordPress website with clear calls to action. You have 4.8 stars on Google with dozens of reviews and…no one sees any of them. That would be a problem, wouldn’t it?

The truth is, you can be doing all the right things to earn trust.

But before you can earn trust, you need to earn interest.

Enter Content Creation

In short, content creation (blogging, articles, Linkedin posts, etc.) helps you demonstrate your leadership in your industry by consistently sharing information that’s relevant to your ideal customers. With all the “noise” online, writing specifically to your target audience communicates that you care. You understand them, you know what they’re going through, and you can make their lives better.

While a blog post won’t make someone buy from you today, it will set you apart as one of the first businesses they consider when it is time for them to buy. The key is to write consistently, so you stay at the top of your audience’s mind and give your future customers the freedom to buy on their own timelines.

If you don’t demonstrate your expertise through relevant articles and posts, how else will your prospective customers know what you can do for them?

Getting Started with PHOS

​​Here’s the tough pill to swallow.

Buyer trust is at an all-time low, and prospective buyers won’t just show up at your door. They have more options and more access to your competitors than ever before. That’s why lead generation today means earning trust by proactively meeting your ideal customers where they are in their buying process.

You offer an excellent service, are eager to serve, and know you’ll do a great job for a new customer—you just need to get them through the digital door.

That’s why we’re here. Over the past ten years, PHOS has been guiding businesses from a variety of industries through their digital marketing journey—and we’d love to do the same for you. We bring our marketing expertise to you, so you can bring your expertise to your customers. Ready to get started?

Josh Bazyler

As a Client Growth Consultant, Josh is committed to building impactful partnerships. He serves our current and future clients by exploring business challenges and crafting the best-fit marketing solutions to help promote growth the right way.

Outside of PHOS, you’ll find Josh leading a super-embarrassing dance party with his wife and kids, roasting okay coffee, geeking out about Classical music, or slinging around plastic discs at some chains.