From a traditional sense, most small businesses thrive on getting referrals as their main source of new prospects and customers.
Nothing beats a friend “referring” you to a business that they enjoyed and had a good experience with.
But the times, they are a change’in! In podcast #21, we’ll discuss several examples of how today’s new digital media conversations are replacing the old referral-type of network–and how small businesses can stay on top of this change–and profit from it!
Check out our strictly audio content here.
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The Last Referral, Podcast #21
By John D. Verlin
Good afternoon, John Verlin with On Demand Advertising Solutions, with another Digital Marketing Update, podcast #21.
I’m excited to talk with you today, about “The Last Referral”.
That’s what I’m titling this, because several experiences this week as to why this entire social media, digital marketing platform is so important for small business owners.
I think I can speak for those over fifty, for example (because I am over 50!). From the traditional media standpoint to the new digital media and content marketing standpoint…why this shift is so important. Based on several experiences I had this past week.
The reason I wanted to do this with a podcast, rather than just write it down in a blogpost, is because I wanted to tell a story.
That is what podcasting does great—just like old radio shows. I can tell you my story with emotion and passion. I’m excited about it because I can show some examples I just experienced that I want to share with you.
Why all of this is important for small business owners to grasp. To understand why you need to get a marketing platform for their small business if they don’t have one already. And work it on-going, and this is why.
Recently, I was given the name of an eye doctor. The one I had been going to retired. My girlfriend got the name of a doctor at a place I used to go to years ago.
She was going to have a cataract removed. So she met with the doctor, had the cataract removed. Everything worked great. Told me about a procedure I needed, so I went to the doctor. Same thing, worked great.
Now I’m going to him from another doctor I had been going to for four years. She had retired and I was due to find someone new anyway.
My point being, this is the traditional referral, how most of us grew up with. Somebody who referred somebody, who referred somebody. So this doctor just got two new patients through one woman who was satisfied with the work he did. That’s the traditional way of doing it.
Another experience I had this week was going to a Farmers Market. Went to a couple of booths, one woman made soaps, hand-made soaps. Didn’t have any kind of marketing. We were just talking to her, at all.
Not much to really speak of. A lot of these farmers market vendors go to a number of these throughout the year. They need to get people there to let them know they can buy there product. The problem is I’m guessing, they don’t have much advertising in the marketing. They may rely on the city or promoter to advertise the event.
Another vendor had a catering business. Rather an extensive catering business. I checked online and they didn’t have much of a presence. And I’m thinking how are they going to promote the fact that they’re here, other than social media.
Maybe direct mail. But if they don’t have a program to do that, other than their own on-going way to stay in touch with their customers from previous farmers markets,
They’re just relying on the traction and they just want a piece of it. But they can be proactive to gather their fans who have bought from them before. Whether it’s their mailing list, email list…or whatever, and let them know they’re going to be at this new farmers market.
A bank I had worked for in the past, had sold a location and moved to a different one. Unbeknownst to us, there were a group of about 8000 local residents who formed a group on Facebook. Started announcing the fact that the bank had been sold, they thought. The sign had come down.
Almost in real time. Suddenly, we’re having people coming in canceling their bank accounts, thinking the bank was sold and going under. Which wasn’t true at all. It was the opposite. It was actually updating another branch to be more online friendly because a lot of these people wanted to do their banking in drive through or online. And they were upgrading.
But it doesn’t matter, the damage had been done because it had gotten on a Facebook group page of about 8000 people. And word just spread like wildfire.
Now this is another type, the new type of referral. And that didn’t work in a good way. That caused image issues. People assumed something based on one person’s post. And it went on and on and replicated throughout the community because of Facebook.
Now this is where this new referral thing is now happening. If you own a small business and you’re not actively engaged on Facebook or Twitter, in general with your prospects and customers. This kind of behavior will be going on and you may not even know about it.
The positive side of this is that you can be proactive. By on-going posts, every week, every day. To build your followers, your likes and all this kind of stuff. Yea, it takes time. It’s a slow, boring process. If you want to call it that. But, you never know, when you get that one prospect that gives you a referral, like in my case traditionally—then suddenly you get new business. That’s how it works.
Another person put on their recently that they had gone to a Taco Bell, they left some stuff out of the order…they called the Taco Bell. They were told that when it was convenient to come back. They doubled their order for free and gave them a coupon. And they gave them a call out on Facebook saying “thank you so much Taco Bell for doing what you did.”
And now 8000 people including myself saw that. And I thought, wow, that’s pretty powerful stuff. They did the right thing, and they understood the value of social media neighborhood group, which has grown a couple of thousand new members over the past year or two.
So this is why I call it the last referral. It’s moving online to Facebook referrals A new coffee shop, well it’s not new, the coffee shop has been around a number of years, opened a new drive through facility. Posted a couple of pictures of their new drive through. It went to 12,000 people.
Not just through their Facebook page, but people referring through the chamber and organizations in the local community.
And suddenly, boom they have all of these people knowing about their opening a drive through. Again, that’s how referrals are happening now.
That’s why this is so critical that you have a social media presence, linked to a blog with content, engaging content, I call it. And that’s why we recommend podcasts like this one, because you can tell your story and expertise on-going, every week, year round. And post it and promote it.
People learn, they’re educated and they’re entertained. Probably in the next week or two, I’m going to throughout some impersonations I used to do, like Jerry Lewis, Truman Capote…that I used to do in radio. Just to entertain you and make you happy. To get you coming back!
So, the last referral, it’s changing. It’s going online. A lot of talk fast and furious, good, bad and ugly. And you can help shape that discussion with your referral program. By giving bounce-back items, like us on Facebook, thirty percent your next purchase. Whatever that is, continue and start a program if you haven’t. Tie-in a blog.
That’s what features your content. It’s the base, the part of the marketing platform that does that.
We’re going to talk more about this in the future, but I wanted to get this out to you real-time today, because I just experienced this.
And this is why it’s so important. A lot of small businesses they dabble with likes—and they say “yeah, videos are good…and they don’t want to mess with it.” You could be doing it right now. I’m doing it. Helping others do it.
It gets you on the cutting edge of marketing. That’s the key. And that’s the perception people will have about you.
This business, it could be a little repair shop. Fixing lawnmower engines and trimmers and whatever. My gosh, they’ve got a post and a podcast last week from an interview. Being interviewed about, tips on getting your lawnmower ready for this spring and summer. How to change your oil effectively, the type of oil to use. These types of things. You may think, well, that’s easy—everybody knows that. Well, they don’t know it.
And guess what, they’re going to tune-in. They need to know these tips. For crying out loud, I tuned in to a video on how to clean a cat’s teeth of all things. Because I had a cat that had a tooth pulled and I wanted to learn.
Come to find out, I basically just had to use a certain type of food. But I tuned in and checked an online vet.
If I’m wanting to know how to clean a cat’s teeth, imagine how many people maybe looking locally for someone that knows how to fix a lawnmower engine or change a blade.
That’s where this marketing platform can really benefit your business. You build it. It’s slow growth. But it gives you a base from which to operate.
We will see you next week. Love to hear from you if you have questions or comments. Have a great day!
All podcasts are produced by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas
Copyright 2017, John D. Verlin