It’s no secret that word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals are important in developing strong local business, especially for service-based business—think about cleaning services, roofers, lawn care, real estate services, and so on. In fact, 70% of consumers consult reviews or ratings before making a purchase.1 And, according to a June 2010 Harris Interactive poll of adult US consumers, “71% claim reviews from family members or friends exert a great deal or fair amount of influence on purchase decisions.” (Source: Business Week, October 2008)
Businesses that recognize the impact of user testimonials to spur growth are participating in conversations about their brand on sites like Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and others. The benefit is a potential move up in search engine results and the ability to influence the decision-making process of people that are actively searching online for specific products and services.
Is this the most effective approach for increasing market share in local neighborhoods where a business is already delivering services?
Offline conversations—between neighbors, colleagues, and friends—are happening all the time. In my own community over the last month, there were at least four neighbors that were seeking recommendations for maid services and/or lawn care companies. Those that were satisfied with their current provider were first to speak up and recommend a company. So, how can businesses tap into the word-of-mouth activity that’s already happening and increase the density of transactions within a localized area?
Capture video testimonials from satisfied customers–in those neighborhoods–and use QR codes printed on postcards to deliver the personal recommendation directly to their neighbors–targeted prospects surrounding existing business. Include a relevant offer to further motivate trial and/or purchase.
Example (direct mail postcard w/ QR code):
QR codes bridge the gap between offline and online media, making direct mail and/or print media interactive. That coupled with the fact that marketers can target prospects in key neighborhoods gives businesses a better chance to grow market share while maintaining efficiency.
Tip for Real Estate Marketing: Agents can try incorporating a video on just listed or just sold postcards that feature client testimonials, a description of marketing activities typically done for clients, brand differentiators, and so on.