Deliver outstanding service (don’t say you are ‘delivering outstanding service’)
Your goal is to achieve the WOW factor — truly responsive, effective quality and service, to the point that clients volunteer without being asked to say how much they enjoyed working with your organization. Every improvement you can make in the value/service process helps. Note “value” most definitely is far more than price. You might be the most expensive in the market, or at least somewhere in the middle, but your clients perceive they have received enough extra attention and respect and, where appropriate, creativity. If you reallocate external media marketing budgets to creating a more wonderful client experience, I expect your return on investment would skyrocket.
Note this does not mean you should say you deliver exceptional service. The only people qualified to do that are your current and former clients. Here, you should encourage them to say how they feel in their own words, possibly in video testimonials.
Systematize and encourage referrals
It never hurts to ask.You can create meet and greet thank you events where clients (and former clients) are invited to bring their friends (and maybe enjoy a great dinner at a high-end restaurant). On job closing, you can certainly pop the question. Practicing and training your staff on effective referral sourcing will undoubtedly generate useful leads. One technique, advocated by Mike Jeffries, is to work with your satisfied clients to generate a list of friends and colleagues and then help them send their own letters of recommendation. Some businesses pay referral fees. Any marketing effort that encourages and induces referrals will be disproportionately effective.
Put your website in order. Adapt and use social media and blogging and perhaps e-letters to keep in touch.
Many referrals will occur when a friend tells a friend about you. Virtually everyone will, before calling you, check out your online reputation. They’ll visit your website, or spend some time on relevant social media, or read review sites. You want your presence to be professional, easy-to-find, and appealing — and your online presence should build on and expand on your referral foundation.
These three marketing initiatives cost very little money and have virtually immediate return on investment. Do these before you do anything else, and constantly review and improve them. They are the foundations of your marketing success.