Especially true in service-based businesses, the way to a customer's heart is by building credibility and promoting a culture of growth within your business.
There are many discussions, books and blogs on this topic, but to keep things simple we have got 4 easy to implement ideas that we use ourselves, which will help your business growing organically. These are certainly not new ideas, but are a good foundation to any business.
1. Asking for Referrals
When I talk to many business owners about how they find new customers, it is often via "word of mouth." However when asked specifically how they promote this, the answer is usually something along the lines of "well, they just happen" or "we do such a good job, that customers tend to tell their friends." This is a great position to be in, but let's start doing a few simple things to take that side of your marketing to the next level.
Never be afraid to ask for your client’s referral. Asking for a referral from existing clients is an easy starting point. Although as business owners we know that referring is a great 'gift' from the referrer, sometimes customers need for it to be pointed out to them that you would like to receive business from their friends and contacts. It may also spark some ideas on potential contacts which they wouldn't have otherwise. Satisfied clients of your business will generally be happy to refer you to other people. To help promote this, it is useful to have an initial agreement, promotion or 'special gift' on being referred before the service completes for example. This is one way of taking advantage of your client’s voice.
2. Testimonials (Positive Feedback)
Testimonials are a great way to gain trust and reliability between your business, and its customers. It is important to use testimonials from an appropriate and reliable source, who would positively relate to your new customers (ie. they are in the same target market ground that you are wanting to actually target). Be sure to choose quotes which describe the need and the solution to the customer. These can be shown through text, audio, or through video format. Using the right testimonials will help to convince your customers into purchasing your products/services.
QUICK TIP: Asking for positive feedback in public locations such as your Facebook page or Google Business Listing (as a review) is a great source of SEO juice - this is especially true with your Google Reviews and how your listing displays in Google Maps!
3. Dealing Negative Feedback Positively
Negative feedback does obviously take a hit on you personally and your business sometimes. Depending on how the feedback occurred, there are powerful ways to react to negativity around a project or product that was delivered unsuccessfully. If the remark is directed personally at you, it is probably better and more professional to ignore it. However, if there is a problem in your business, addressing it, then solving the problem is the ideal way to go. Publicly fixing the problem is a great way to impress customers by showing professionalism and care for your customer’s observations and experiences. This is especially true if the feedback has come via Facebook, Google Reviews or other forms of social media.
Keep in mind that many customers, if not asked, won't give you constructive criticism. Recently iSonic systemised in this idea, and now have client feedback forms that are delivered to customers on the launch of their website. To aid in conversion rate on this form we will often include a month's free hosting or email marketing credited to their statement on completion.
4. Client Case Studies
As a service-based business, it can be difficult to prove your worth before doing any work for a potential customer. Therefore it is absolutely critical to showcase your work in the best way possible. Typically we see alot of businesses having a "projects" page on their website where there can be 50+ projects shown. At iSonic, we typically recommend against this as it is often overwhelming and confusing to most customers. Also, your best work may be missed if it is mixed in with your other bread-and-butter (less inspiring) projects. Therefore, we always recommend having a handful of your best work that has been completed in the last 12 months. It should also give a brief outline of the project, the result of the project and ideally a comment from the customer. Some pretty pictures definately helps and company logo if your clients would be recognisable by your target market.
QUICK TIP: Having only pretty pictures is a good start, especially if you are an interior designer, however spending an extra few hours getting your best work with descriptions and overviews is a surefire way to build your credibility with potential customers browsing your website.
Try these simple improvements on your business by systemising them with your team and see if you see any difference over 1 month. Depending on your current relationship and client-base, you may be sitting on a gold-mine of referrals just waiting to be contacted.
How can iSonic help?
The majority of these ideas can be implemented internally through the backend of the website and systemising with the team. If you think your client case studies section needs a good overhaul, or you would like us to create a dynamic client feedback form for completed project - contact the iSonic team and we'll let you know where to start.