How to Get Your Customers to do Your Marketing
“You should try XYX Contractor,” one average Joe says to one average Jane, and that’s the recommendation that brings you to their attention. For contractors, it’s the word of mouth that can’t be beat.
The marketing campaigns you create are essential to generating leads, building your image and retaining customers. They also raise awareness in your market for that one-on-on nudge: “Oh, yes, I’ve heard of them.” But that nudge itself is the cherry on top.
Referrals from your customers are not just new business – they’re good business. Studies show that when you earn customers through referrals, they tend to be both more loyal and more valuable than other customers.
Encourage referrals as a deliberate part of your process. After a successful service or installation job has been completed, be sure to tell your customer that you’re building your business based on referrals. And offer an incentive – say, a discount on their future service – if they’ll refer a friend.
Satisfied customers are often very happy to refer a friend to a company they believe will do a good job. But they do need that nudge from you to remember to do so.
Testimonials are “social proof” similar to referrals, but instead of one-on-one situations, they’re used in your ads, website, Social Media, letters, presentations – and anywhere else they’ll help you present how excellent you are.
You can ask for these as well, but it also helps to listen to them or watch for them. If you get a Social post or email with complimentary words about your service, ask the customer if you can use it as a testimonial.
Customers’ reviews are the third leg of this three-legged stool of marketing word of mouth. A variation of the testimonial and referral, reviews are increasingly important for any kind of business whose services and products will be subject to consumer research before a decision is made. Residential contractors installing big-ticket equipment and aiding in home renovations are certainly in this camp.
A customer review, in fact, may be as important as that one-on-one nudge from a friend. According to a 2016 BrightLocal survey, 84% of respondents trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation. And 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
Importantly, the survey also says that seven out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to. Again, the key is to ask. Many people aren’t aware that they can leave reviews, or that their good words would be helpful to you. Make the request in your follow-up calls and letters after your successful jobs. Include links to review sites in your email signature line.
The same with requesting testimonials; if you get a positive comment in an email, ask your customer if they’ll turn it into a review. Or if you hear affirmation over the phone or in-person, ask if they’ll proved that feedback on a review site.
Your loyal customers will be more likely to take this extra effort. So, why not send out a few personal emails to customers that you know appreciate your services, and request a review?
As reviews are posted, pay attention to what is said. Monitor them and address any bad reviews that are posted. No business can control the possibility that a poor review will be posted, but we can always respond in a way that shows prospects that your company cares about your customers, and that you’ll go out of the way to resolve an issue.