A survey of 7,500 small-business owners in North America and asked participants a single question...
what's the best way to acquire local customers?
85% Said WORD OF MOUTH.
3 ways to get word of mouth referrals
1. Perfect your local listing.
When someone refers your business to another person, what's the first thing that's going to happen? Since over 90 percent of consumers depend on online reviews, expect people will first search for your business by name on Google to look specifically at your five-star rating. This is a real opportunity for a number of business owners for two reasons. First, over 50 percent of businesses haven't claimed their Google local listing, so when a user searches for the brand they can't find what they need. Second, having 10 written reviews is the minimum number you should have to make sure people trust your business profile.
2. Be memorable to every customer.
As a business owner, you (or your employees) interact with your customers each and every day. What memorable experience do you leave with them at the end of your interaction together? Every business owner says they prioritize treating their customers well, and you have to, but what else can you do to not only make them remember you but talk about you with others?
What if you took a picture with every satisfied customer you have and post it to your Facebook business page and tag them? That way, they would share it with their Facebook network every time. Or, what if you give each of your customers a wristband to wear that says "$0.65 vs. $0.35" to represent that $0.65 of every dollar spent on a local business stays in the local community vs. $0.35 with national businesses. Or, what if you send a handwritten card to each of your customers and offer 10 percent off their purchase if they send you a referral in the next week?
Some of these ideas will sound crazy, but the important thing is people remember you so your business is top of mind and they can associate your business with more than just "I treat my customers well."
3. Consistently empower your referral network.
The stronger your referral network is, the more referrals you'll receive. This involves growing your referral network, which you can do by attending networking events, joining referral networks like BNI, or joining online communities like Alignable, LinkedIn or Nextdoor. Once you've established your referral network, think about growing it by looking for folks in your local area or that share similar customers as you.
The most important part of generating more referrals is deciding as a business owner that you're going to spend time every week just focused on it. Start with 20 minutes per week in which you shut off the outside world and focus 100 percent on doing any or all of these three things.