How can a website help me if I get all of my business by word of mouth?

As a service or trade business that does a great job, you might be struggling to keep up with demand from word of mouth referrals. It can be tempting to take the foot off the gas on marketing when you’re flat out on the tools — but before you make any hasty decisions, it's important to understand the value that your website is delivering to your business.

Website Example of Trade Service Site

1 ) Word of mouth enquiries still check websites for credibility

It's a common misconception that online presence doesn't matter if most of your business comes from word-of-mouth referrals. However, it's important to remember that people who hear about your business through friends, family, or colleagues may still check you out online before contacting you.

Picture of conversation between friends where someone asks where they got their kitchen done, and the person sends them a website link through Instagram

Your website is like your digital best friend - it can help people get to know you and your business before they decide to give you a ring.

It's become a common practice for people to research businesses online before making a purchase or hiring a service provider. This means that even if someone heard about your business at a dinner party or through a referral, they may still look you up online to learn more about your services, read reviews, and get a better sense of what you offer.

A well-designed website that showcases your work and provides helpful information can help build credibility and trust with potential customers.

2 ) You’re not the only recommendation — are you the most attractive?

People are getting multiple recommendations.

Picture of someone asking in a facebook post "Does anyone recommend a good plasterer?" with friends commenting links and comments to Plasterers they used.

Whether it’s a dinner party or a call out for recommendations on social media, potential customers will evaluate you against the rest and choose the most credible. If you’ve only got a Facebook page but the alternative has a beautiful website with great example photographs of their projects and some great case studies, you could miss out on projects without realising it.

Picture of two websites, one really good and one really bad

Online competition is real, folks. There are other businesses out there offering similar services, but by highlighting what makes you special, you can stand out from the crowd and attract new customers like a magnet.

In today's digital age, consumers have access to a wealth of information and resources online, which means that they can easily compare and evaluate different service providers. This means that your online presence and reputation can play a critical role in the decision-making process.

Just because someone calls you and says someone else recommended you, it doesn’t mean they haven’t checked out your website as well.

You can feature case studies, testimonials, and other information that demonstrates the quality of your services and helps build trust with potential customers. This can help differentiate you from your competitors and increase your chances of winning new business.

3 ) Can word of mouth referrals find your contact details?

Many word of mouth recommendations come from passing conversations where the person later tries to recall the name of the business they were recommended. It’s easier for them to remember a few words from the business name than remembering a phone number or a domain name.

Can your business be found in Google if people search for you? A well designed website that is visible and easy to find in Google means you’re converting those word of mouth referrals to people who can actually get hold of you and find your contact details — otherwise they might give up and go elsewhere.

Picture of a google search for "Tauranga Builders"

In addition to providing a platform to showcase your work, a website also provides a way for customers to get in touch with you. You can include contact forms, phone numbers, and other information that makes it easy for potential customers to reach out and start a conversation. This can lead to more sales and conversions, as well as opportunities for repeat business.

4 ) Attract better clients

The credibility effect of a persuasively designed website can also mean a higher ratio of quality clients. Downgrading to just a Facebook page might limit you to tyre kickers while the more substantial or high dollar projects go elsewhere.

By investing in a quality website and showcasing your expertise, you can position yourself as an expert in your field and attract the types of clients who value quality work and professionalism.

Picture of a graph, showing that after they created a website they earned more money per job

If you’re in such hot demand that you’ve got more leads than you can handle, is this an opportunity to price your services at a premium to acknowledge the demand? There is also the opportunity to have a waitlist, which provides a pipeline of promising work opportunities.

Clearly explaining your unique selling points and previous projects might be the difference between winning that next big project or losing it to another business. By establishing a professional online presence, you can differentiate yourself from other businesses and attract clients who are looking for high-quality services.

While social media profiles can be useful for engaging with your audience and promoting your business, they are not a substitute for a website. A website provides a professional and authoritative online presence that social media profiles cannot match. By closing down your website, you risk losing out on potential business and limiting your reach and visibility.

5 ) What if things slow down? Turning marketing back on is harder than turning it off.

Remember, just because you have plenty of work now doesn't mean that will always be the case. By investing in your online presence, you can set yourself up for continued success and growth in the future.

As per the earlier points, your website could be doing more to bring you work than you realise. When work slows down as a business, you’ll be glad that your website is still working behind the scenes to maximise every potential recommendation you get.

6 ) On a website, you control the narrative

While social media platforms can be great for spreading the word about a business, relying solely on them can be risky.

A key thing with a website is that you are in control of the narrative and the customer journey, with a singular focus on your brand. With social media, you risk losing someone’s attention to the distractions of social media.

Photo of Kendyl Haultain speaking at a seminar about social media
Kendyl Haultain

In her previous experience of managing her own social media agency, Kendyl Haultain from the Creative Launchpad team has seen some major business disruption with social media profiles:

"I have seen people get locked out of their accounts (often for no known reason). Sometimes they get their access back, other times not. I’ve seen people that have built a huge following, wake up one day with no access and then have to start again. That’s a risk of relying on social media as their only marketing channel. Having a website means you can build an email list, which is a database you can keep vs only having followers."

By having their own website, word of mouth businesses can ensure that they have a stable online presence that they own and control. In a way, relying solely on social media is like building a house on land that you don't own - it's not a stable foundation for your business. Having a website gives word of mouth businesses the security and stability they need to grow and thrive in the long run.

7 ) Save time explaining and pitching — warm them up online first

If a potential client can’t find enough information about you online (but they still persist with making contact with you), they’ll need more persuading and explaining why they should choose you. This is time consuming if you have to do this with every lead that contacts you. What if referrals could reach the point on your website where their questions and concerns are answered and by the time they reach out they’re ready to go — and feeling pumped about what you can deliver?

High-converting referral-catching websites for the win

In conclusion, even if your business receives most of its business through word-of-mouth referrals, it's important to remember that potential customers may still check you out online before making a decision. By maintaining a strong online presence, you can build credibility, attract new customers, and differentiate your business from competitors. So, it's important to not underestimate the value of your online presence, even if you receive most of your business through referrals.

Your online presence can be a real game changer. A website that looks good and shares all the great stuff you do can make people trust you more and feel confident that you're the right person for the job. So don't let your website gather dust just because business is booming. Embrace your digital side and make it work for you!