I've heard too many people say, "I don't need to worry about marketing because business referrals are enough." That's great, but only if you can maintain it for a long time.
Don't get me wrong, referrals are fantastic -- but they tend to lull people to sleep or get too comfortable, which can result in many problems.
Relying heavily on referrals can manifest the issues or problems I will talk about in this article.
Let's get to it!
So how does over-reliance on business referrals result in a weak online presence?
Sometimes, business owners who rely heavily on referral feel like they don't need to focus on their online presence because they have referrals.
This is a huge mistake, and can lead to the following issues.
Most entrepreneurs would also say, "I work off 100% referral, so I don't need a website."
Well, I disagree! In this day and age, I don't see how a business could grow without a website.
Most business owners don't realize that customers are going online to check them out. They are losing profitable customers right before their eyes without even knowing it.
And even if they own one, they don't take care of its health in terms of SEO, mobile usability, and overall design because they think business referrals are the only way to grow.
Here are other web design mistakes that you might have overlooked due to heavy dependence on referrals:
Social media is a great way to reach a wider audience and build credibility. It's also a great place to double business referrals.
However, relying on referrals leads many business owners to believe they don't have to worry about social media. What they don't realize is a lack of social media presence is impacting their credibility.
Know that consumers trust social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter more than other types of advertising.
Consumers use social media to share their experience with a brand not only to vent but to inform others about how GOOD or BAD it was.
If you build and grow your business on business referrals alone, you can forget about these critical facts.
Feeling guilty yet? Well, it's not too late to build an online presence to grow your business, my friend.
Here are a few simple tips on how to slowly build an online presence for your brand:
I want to scare you a little bit!
Having all your leads come from one channel makes your business vulnerable to failure. It's like riding a unicycle.
What happens when the tire goes flat? What happens when the referrals stop pouring in? You can't move forward. You FAIL.
I'm 100% sure you don't want your business to fail just because you rely only on business referrals, right?
"So how do I fix it, Tim?" you might ask. Well, taking an omnichannel approach to marketing will create a much stronger and reliable business.
An omnichannel marketing approach uses multiple channels to generate leads, promote brand awareness, increase sales, and ultimately grow your business.
You will see a lot of omnichannel marketing approaches in 2020. Watch out for this awesome digital marketing trend next year!
There are so many other channels to drive new customer growth. Here are a few to consider:
Many business owners also overlook the effectiveness of other marketing channels.
Again, it's great to have a strong referral-based business, but how much better would it be if you were bringing in new customers from other channels?
Getting referrals means you are doing things right. So, why not expand the pool of people who will refer you so your business can grow and scale that much faster?
Today, a good entrepreneur would rely only on business referrals, but an excellent entrepreneur would branch out to other marketing channels to grow his or her business.
Here are other marketing channels that can help grow your business:
Email Marketing is a great way to grow your business. There are a lot of email marketing statistics that will prove it.
Here are simple ways email can help grow your business:
Brands all over the world use content to grow every aspect of their business. In fact, 73% of brands hire talents to manage their content strategy.
What's in it for you? Content is king, and you need to create content for your audience either by hiring someone or do it yourself.
Here are the benefits of content marketing to your business:
You might have noticed that the hype has died down in the past few years, but mobile marketing still matters!
Businesses are missing out BIG TIME because they are still not using mobile marketing to build and grow their business.
Check out my previous article about mobile marketing to know how important this strategy is to your business.
And that's a wrap!
Again, business referrals are great for business, but as a business owner, you need to explore other marketing channels too.
If you want to generate more leads, more sales, and more brand awareness, then you have to use email, web content, mobile apps, websites, social media, and any other tools you can get your hands on to do so!
Remember that success in any business can be achieved through a multitude of methods, and referrals are only one of them. That's the remarkable truth about business referrals.
I'd like you to check out the recommended resource below or CONTACT US to learn more about this topic.
Why I think referrals can sometimes be bad for business
Advantages Outweigh Disadvantages of Referral Programs
How to avoid the referral trap
So what do you think about this article? Are you ready to explore other ways to grow your business aside from business referrals?
Leave a comment below and let's discuss.
Also, it would be a great honor if you think this article is worth SHARING to the people you know.
Header image courtesy of Stockunlimited.
Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help small businesses & entrepreneurs eliminate the confusion of marketing. As a marketing partner, we help clients put in place and manage a simple marketing plan so they can grow. Marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. All you need is a plan.