Original blog Refreshed in honor of National Dog Day 2020
Dog owners — they’re a breed of their own. If you are one, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, well then, you probably own a cat.
(LOL...I have a cat too). The point being that those of us who are privileged enough to have a four-legged friend most often would do anything for them, including spending thousands of dollars for medical treatment without giving it a second thought. But in his most critical time of need, whom would you trust most to care for your fuzzy son or daughter – the vet you found randomly on an Internet search, or the one that was personally referred to you?
What matters most to your customers is what should matter most to you.
For over 15 years, I was mother to a Lab-Irish Wolf Hound mix that suffered from epileptic seizures most of his life. As you might imagine, most of the local vets, pet ERs and pharmacists know me by name — “Panther’s mom.”
When his condition worsened I didn’t know where to turn. It seemed my regular vet had done all that she could do and I was at my wit's end. Naturally, I turned to my computer and conducted online research for "Maryland neurologists". Wanting only the best, I went to the top of the list and promptly made an appointment. I then drove an hour and within 30 seconds of meeting “Dr. X”, I didn’t like him. After 10 minutes I hated him and left there in tears. Not because he gave me bad news, but because his bedside manner was dreadful. He referred to my fur baby as, “the animal”, never made eye contact with me, and after a brief exam, was quick to suggest that it could be a brain tumor and would need to conduct an MRI to the tune of $1,000. With all of Dr. X’s credentials and search engine rankings, he lacked what was most important to me — compassion.
Friends make the best referrals.
Recounting this tale to a friend of mine a few days later, she told me of her “fantastic experience” with a neurologist in another part of town. With trepidation, I drove another hour and within 30 seconds of meeting “Dr. Y,” I was madly in love.
He knelt down and petted my boy (whom he referred to by name) while he listened to me recount the last 10 years of our lives together. After conducting a thorough intake and consulting his techs, his diagnosis was clear — “There’s no need for an MRI and there’s no brain tumor. Panther is an idiopathic epileptic and with a slight change in his medicine I’m confident we can get his seizures under control.” And he did — for over five years. I’ve since referred three friends to Dr. Y.
The power of referrals and word of mouth marketing is no big secret.
Leads groups were founded on the very concept. However a lot of businesses miss out on opportunities because they keep stories like mine to themselves. Sharing authentic testimonials with your prospects that are presented in a professional manner can be a very compelling marketing tool. Using the candid input from clients can be instrumental in helping you determine what makes you and/or your practice or business truly unique and special. Combine print, online or even video testimonials with an effective search engine marketing (SEO) strategy as well as a targeted social media game plan, and watch your business soar! Not only will prospects find you, they will also find you credible.
Google Reviews are like referrals on steroids.
In addition to direct referrals from friends, online reviews are the next best thing. Think of online reviews as crowd-sourced recommendations – a four- or five-star review tells search engines they can confidently show your company’s website or other SEO’d content in a high-visibility location. And let's face it — given the option where would you take your pet (or family member, or entrust your business to) — a provider with a spotty track record, low star count and negative reviews, or one that is glowing (but not so glowing that it seems fake)? That’s why it’s essential to have a CMO like Incite Creative provide social media monitoring and reputation management services on a proactive, consistent basis.
Remember that it’s your clients who determine your brand, not you.
But it is up to you to pay attention and leverage customer input to properly position yourself amongst your competitors. If you don’t, you might be the world’s best-kept secret, but you’ll also be out of business.
As the saying goes, “If you’re not the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”
Incite Creative is a marketing strategy and creative implementation firm that works in an outsourced capacity. In short, we become your company's chief marketing officer (CMO) and do so virtually and efficiently — saving you time and money. Since 1999 we’ve had the pleasure of building and boosting brands for a core set of industries. Our thoughtful process, experienced team, and vested interest in our client's success has positioned us as one of the Mid-Atlantic's most sought-after marketing partners for those looking to grow their brand awareness and their bottom line. Stop paying for digital and/or traditional services you may not really need. Our retainer, no mark-up model means our recommendations don't come with any catch or commission. The recommendations we make align with what you need and what fits within your budget. For more information, contact Dina Wasmer at 410-366-9479 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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