Disciples: that’s what all business owners need. A band of dedicated converts that spend their time convincing everyone they know to do business with you. Marketing costs can be almost zero; selling becomes order-taking, since prospects arrive ready to buy. It sounds like a dream, but for a very small group of businesses this is reality. You can have it too, if you really want to.
I often say that the best marketing is built into a product or service. By design (not accident) the value of your offering can be so impressive that your customers can’t stop raving. Word of mouth marketing drives business growth essentially from the high standard of your customer experience, from operations - from inside the business.
One of my favourite examples is a florist on a very small suburban shopping strip that seriously hums. Morning, noon and night they have customers coming and going, orders flowing out and a level of trade way out of sync with their location. Even though the product is not unique, the customer experience is. It is a business with personality and a magnet for anyone that knows it.
The decor is simple but funky, the staff super helpful, fun and energetic, the range is exceptional and the prices practically bargain. What you get is a great product and experience at a ripper price. Everyone I know that lives in the area mentions it. They do almost no formal marketing, since their clients do it for them.
Raving clients do not happen by accident, they happen by design. To create fans that will drag their friends, colleagues and family to your business, you need to wow them, every single time. It can be any combination of factors that do it, including exceptional quality, team members that really love their job and clients, environment that excites your market and of course a good price. In short, value you want to sing from the rooftops.
Making your business stand out actually is not hard. Think about all of the business that you deal with each day. How many of them were memorable? How many did you tell your family about?
Since so few businesses are good enough to really knock your socks off, you might think it is difficult. Not so. As a challenge, try writing a list of the things you could do to make your business wow your customers. I bet there are lots of ideas, most of them simple, like remembering names, small gifts and a very high level of consistency. The most difficult part is not deciding what to do - it’s in the implementation and discipline around maintaining it, every day, day after day, week after week. Once you master it as business owner, your team need to keep those same standards, over and over. It needs to become a habit that never falters.
Look at every part of your business and ask: how you could do it 5% better? Create a plan and work hard over the next 6-12 months to build the habit and discipline, one habit at a time. Then watch your marketing costs shrink.