Introduction to the Top 10 Series
This article is part of our Top 10 Marketing Tips Series. This is the first series and it looks at the world of accountancy and how effective marketing can help you to get more and better business. Ten separate articles will take on one of 10 key marketing objectives. This is Tip 8: The power of testimony, advocacy, endorsement and referrals. If you would like to receive an e-book on the full accountancy series, then please do get in touch.
Tip 8 – The power of testimony, advocacy, endorsement and referrals.
Ask around before you buy
Ever used Trip Advisor before booking a hotel, or visited Check-a-Trade before hiring a tradesperson, or asked a friend (or Facebook) for a restaurant recommendation? Of course you have! We all have.
The business world has become that of recommendation, endorsement, testimony, case-studies and referrals. But how many businesses are actively using this fact and its marketing potential productively? I often hear, “we get a lot of referrals”, but against what potential number are you measuring ‘a lot’?
Maximising and targeting referrals
Of ALL the clients who have been happy with your service, what percentage have directly introduced someone else resulting in a paid working arrangement? I’m willing to bet more have told YOU directly that they were happy, and you felt good about it for a few minutes before moving on.
Even if you get a fair few referrals, some will be the type of business you want and some will be poorly positioned. Even with the best of intentions, those referring to you have rarely been told precisely who you would like to be referred to, or indeed trained in how to sell you to them. And this isn’t as unachievable as you might think. Given the right tools and resources, and encouraged to share their positive stories in the best, most prominent places these advocates can have a powerful effect.
Getting referrals is great, and I do recommend systemising those elements and creating some referral tools (website page, referral cards etc) to improve your hit rate and targeting.
Beyond referrals… gaining wider authority
However, greater opportunity and potential come from endorsement, advocacy, testimony or case studies. The more of these you can collate and share, the more powerful the argument for a prospect to engage with you. This includes online arenas such as Google my Business, directories, social media, your website, and videos too. There are lots of ways to capture these resources and many more ways to present it to gain influence and marketplace authority.
- Consider creating a client experience questionnaire – think careful about the questions, so you can draw attention to the benefits of your offer
- Targeted email campaigns for recent and past clients, gaining feedback and improving on-going relationships
- Use social media posts to encourage likes, shares and feedback
- Use a specific page of your website to collect feedback
- Have a dedicated client testimonial webpage
- Video can be an incredibly powerful way to collect and share advocacy for your business
Don’t make the mistake of accepting the minimum opportunities by default, put a strategy in place for capture and promotion. And remember, the more relevant and targeted your approach, the more impact it will have on future conversion. So consider your different audience groups, either by customer type or service, and try to collect feedback from each.