If you are serious about growing your business, you will appreciate that you need to go beyond relying on word-of-mouth referrals and repeat business for your success. However, there is a paradox here. If you can’t achieve 70 to 80 per cent of your business through soft word-of-mouth referral and repeat clients, you probably will fail. You need your business to be in sufficient order to have enough of a reputation to naturally earn repeat and referral business if you have any chance of making your marketing succeed. And this success (unless you are blowing your brains out with below-market-pricing) is achieved both by the quality of your product/service and the quality of the experience you provide your current clients.
Effectively, by delivering great service/value, you are building your brand, the cornerstone of effective marketing. This is your reputation. Solid marketing strategies stretch and extend this experience/reputation to (a) induce more business from your current and referral clients and (b) expand the scope of potential clients.
The return-on-investment declines as you move further from your base, so it costs more and more to convert leads depending on how far the potential new clients are from your current clients. The more powerful the positive good reputation and desire to do additional business with you from your existing and previous clients, the stronger your marketing pull, when you exercise it.
I’ll take a risk here and suggest there is a strong case for redirecting a significant portion of your marketing budget inwards; to improving your client experience, tuning in to current clients’ needs and requirements, and then gathering testimonials, referrals, and additional business from the people closest to you.
This strategy, however, is more than “relying” on repeat and referral business. It is proactive, engaged, and requires thought and attention. The payoff, I believe, will be greater than any external marketing campaign you can conceive.