For small industrial businesses looking to gain new leads, old-school word-of-mouth referrals can still be effective, allowing you to expand brand awareness organically over time. But relying solely on word-of-mouth can seriously hinder your efforts to reach potential buyers. If this is currently your go-to method for lead generation, you may be missing out on some big opportunities — hurting your business and, ultimately, your bottom line.
But why exactly is relying on word-of-mouth marketing so ineffective? Below are a few of the main reasons this method shouldn’t be used on its own.
Expanding To New Markets Will Be Difficult
If you’re looking to avoid risk, expanding to new markets is essential — but relying on word-of-mouth referrals can make it difficult to do so.
Customers referring your business to other industry professionals only have so much reach; your existing clients are certainly helping to establish you as a trusted brand, but they’re likely only going to be referring you to people within their own field and region, so eventually, the results of these referrals will fade.
If you rely on your customers for lead generation, you risk pigeon-holing your business into one specific sector or industry. This severely limits your chances for opening up new markets and expanding your business into new localities. Plus, it puts your business at serious risk should your main industry begin to struggle.
You Have Less Control Over Lead Generation Efforts
It’s no secret that the success of a company depends on business owners who can take control, in terms of hiring, brand personality, or quality assurance. The same holds true for lead generation.
If you’re relying on word-of-mouth marketing, you’re essentially putting the future of your business in other people’s hands, depending upon your clients to get the word out rather than taking initiative yourself. This can result in highly inconsistent sales, as the amount of referral leads coming in can vary greatly from month to month. And being at the mercy of a few of your big clients isn’t just ineffective, it’s also stressful. Crafting a lead-generation strategy that makes sense for your brand is far more efficient.
Your Clients Aren’t Salespeople
Your clients may be the most loyal, trustworthy people around, but they aren’t salespeople. They don’t know your business as well as you do and don’t know how to best market your services or products to different potential leads.
And as much as your customers appreciate your work and believe in your brand, they’re not keeping your business top-of-mind at all times; they have their own business to focus on and aren’t going to serve as your salespeople.
You Have No Data To Work With
Tracking user activity and monitoring how potential leads interact with and respond to various marketing tactics — whether through your website, emails, social media, PPC, or even direct mailing campaigns — is critical for growing your business and making necessary improvements.
Having this data on hand allows you to see what potential leads are looking for, what they’re downloading, and how they’re engaging — or not engaging — with your brand. Relying on word-of-mouth referrals eliminates this possibility, making it difficult to gauge what aspects of your brand need adjustments or improvements. And with a lack of data, it’s also impossible to efficiently scale your business.
To successfully grow your business and reach the valuable leads you’re after, it’s critical to employ a multifaceted, multiplatform marketing strategy. Becoming less dependent on word-of-mouth referrals is the first step toward establishing an effective campaign.
To learn how you can start taking more control of your company’s lead-generation tactics or discuss options for your specific needs, reach out to our team today.