Went in to get my shoes repaired yesterday.
Ramon used to be an employee, but last spring he decided to open up his own shop here in town.
He resoles, he stitches – he can even do some saddle repairs.
“So how has your summer been?”
Tells me it’s been pretty good, getting by, paying the bills.
So I ask him: what about winter, what plan do you have for marketing and promotion, now that all the tourists and summer residents are gone?
Tells me: “Word of mouth, mostly”.
Obviously, he ought’nt have said that, not to me..
I mean, I understand that if you’re good at your work, and people refer others, and it all seems to roll along, you’ll be inclined to think it’s going to stay that way.
Problem though with word of mouth is that by itself, it’s as unpredictable as the weather.
Besides, there are far too many factors involved: Local economy, horror stories in the news, the panicky garbage people ingest through TV – all it takes is for enough people to reserve their money for whatever national holiday is coming up, and all the good word of mouth won’t bring in a single punter.
Ha, and on this coast, even the weather can murder a business: Come November, we’ll see entire weeks full of rain, and not piddling drizzle: when it rains here, it rains cats and dogs, hammers and nails.
And yep: Nobody ventures on the streets when it rains unless they absolutely have to.
Besides, they couldn’t go out if they’d want to: their shoes are damaged and leaky.
So, recap: Word of mouth matters. It’s important. Your quality of work and your customer service should be good enough to merit it.
But never rely on word of mouth.
Instead, create systems and strategies that foster word of mouth.
Ramon could print 20 simple posters and hang them around town in strategic places: library, supermarket, Casa de la Cultura, and so on.
“Throwing your shoes away is wasteful – why not give them a second round?”
Some good before/after pics, a phone number and his portrait on it as well – there, a simple, nearly free method of creating more local awareness.
In itself it’s a small effort, but it’s a great way to get people to notice you – and when they do, they’re likely to remember you when your name gets mentioned.
“Oh yeah that’s right, we’ve a shoe repairman in town now – someone told me about that.”
THAT is word of mouth. And it’s easy to get, if you give it some thought (and put in the effort).
What’s also easy to get is Martin’s email marketing mentorship.
Not as cheap as free posters, but a lot more fun than a kick in the chest.
And pretty effective too. My students tend to get real good, real fast, at writing their emails.
And, you’ll learn how to convert readers into fans and customers – word of mouth or no.
Access? Over yon –> http://martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/