It’s no secret that the best marketing strategy for small businesses is word-of-mouth and referral marketing, right? What if I told you, that was only partially right and there was a better strategy in 2022? What’s better than word-of-mouth?

Even though a recommendation from a friend garners a 92% trust score, a person’s friends’ group is limited. Also, the likelihood of that person sharing information at a key point in a new customer’s purchasing journey is even smaller. How many times do you hear, “Oh! You should have told me you were looking for __, I have a great __ I can refer you to!” Unfortunately, that advice nearly always comes too late. The customer has made their purchasing decision and been won over by another company.

How Can You Market Better Than Word-of-Mouth?

Imagine instead, the normal path a new customer takes when considering a purchase. The customer realizes they have a problem that needs a solution. Before deciding on which company to choose, they usually google the best solution for their problem. Whether they are looking for a product or a service, they perform a quick google search. Google can help them to find the best-rated companies offering their desired solution. They find a few companies that offer what they need. One has an online review rating of 5 stars with a substantial amount of reviews. The others are also rated 4.5 stars or higher. Although they have fewer reviews, they may still be a great option depending on price, convenience, or quality.

Although this new customer may trust friend recommendations at 92% and only 70% for online reviews, they will justify moving forward with a purchase based on the crowd mentality that a large group of people who have a positive experience are unlikely to steer them wrong.

What is the Best Marketing Strategy?

This situation details why word of mouth marketing, long hailed as the best marketing strategy, might be sliding into second place. But, what’s better than word-of-mouth? Online reviews take some of the best aspects of word-of-mouth marketing and reach a substantially higher audience than one friend group.

According to an annual survey produced by Bright Local, a company that specializes in online reputation management, 87% of people read online reviews prior to making a purchase. That’s a large percentage of new customers in nearly every industry that is judging you versus your competitors.

With this in mind, consider how your online reputation looks to your potential customers. If you have a low review count or average star rating, you’re losing business. Even if you have a lot of positive reviews, but a very limited web presence or outdated website and don’t show up in the search results all of your great work may go unfound!

How Do You Improve Your Online Presence?

Every small and local business in every industry benefits from doing great work, and getting word of mouth from happy customers at the local coffee shop. What’s more, these businesses benefit more in the long run from a positive online review that doesn’t disappear, to go alongside word-of-mouth. However, without help, it can be difficult to improve your online presence. That’s where DTL Consultants comes in. DTL Consultants was launched to help small businesses maximize their marketing efforts so they could spend less time worrying about finding new customers and more time focusing on providing the best products and services to their communities. If you’re interested in maximizing your online marketing, Contact DTL Consultants online, or call us at 719.334.2610.